Chichen Itza is the most visited Maya site in Mexico. It is one of the largest Maya cities and is a great morning trip to see from Valladolid. It is a amazing and massive site. I spent almost 4 hours walking it.
The huge steep sided water hole in the picture is called a Cenote and was where they made human sacrifices. It is the largest in the area.
When it was excavated they found the remains of children and men plus gold, carved jade, pottery, obsidian and many other items. It was because there are many of these Cenotes they had a readily available supply of water and was one of the reasons they chose this site.
The pic with the columns is called the Temple of warriors and the columns depict warriors. The large court was called the Great Court and a ball game that they don’t know exactly how it was played was played. It is the largest and best preserved one in the America’s.
The rings on the wall were used for the ball to go through in the game. Legend has it that the winning team captain would present his head to the losing captain who would then decapitate him. Supposed to be the highest honour won could have. Hell of a deal. YIKES!!!!
A lot of this info came from Wikipedia so if you want to know more go there and have a look.
It gets super busy after 11-12AM with all the tour buses from Cancun and other places. So it is best to take the first collectivo out of Valladolid in the morning at 7AM. Then by the time it gets busy you are finishing your tour and can be gone before the rush.
It was a day well spent and nice to see such a great site. It reminds me of the time 40 something years ago that my girlfriend and I hitchhiked from Connecticut down thru Central America.
We got picked up on the Mexican Guatemalan border by two Canadian guys. In a 4 wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser and ended up going all the way to Panama with them. We became good friends and it worked out perfect for us.
Along the way we did an off road trip from the Pan Am highway back thru the jungle of Guatemala. To see the Mayan ruins at Tikal close to the border with Belize. It turned into a 10 day trip I will never forget. The roads were so bad we had to strap ourselves in with the seatbelts and hold on to our guts the whole way.
The roads were just mud and potholes and almost unnavigable in many places. There were huge root systems going across the road and rocks of all kinds. They had a winch on the front which we had to use on several occasions to get out of mud or across streams or help someone else do the same.
There were gas stations consisting of 55 gal drums and a hand pump every so many miles almost perfectly spaced along the way. These guys had come prepared with spare gas cans on the roof and many spare parts including axles. Fortunately we never had to use them.
We could only do so many miles a day because the pounding we were taking from the road being so bad was incredible. Plus we were in the middle of nowhere and when you did finally find a village you stopped for the night. Many times we looked at each other and wondered what we were doing out there.
The wildlife was amazing birds and animals and every other kind of thing you could imagine. I remember one time stopping to look at these leaf cutter ants that were large enough we could see them crossing the road in front of us way before we got to them. There were thousands with huge pieces of leaf that they were carrying looking like sails on a boat.
Also got to see a black Jaguar jump into the road. Stop and look at us wondering what we were doing there and then jumping off into the jungle.
Saw a large Tarantula spider that we stopped to see moving along this banking next to the road. When we got out we realized it was a Wasp carrying the spider that it had killed. It was a good size wasp but you could barely see it because it was totally covered by the spider.
We got to see all this stuff because we were going maybe 5-10 miles an hour tops. So had plenty of time to see things we wouldn’t have if we were speeding by. We spent 3 days at the ruins resting and checking out the site.
It was an amazing and incredible site with these ruins and pyramids in the jungle in middle of nowhere. The immense amount of wildlife was mind blowing. Totally awesome and something I will never forget. When we finally got back to the Pan Am we got out and kissed the road.
Chichen Itza was a breeze to get to and I am glad because I am much older now. I couldn’t have handled that kind of ride now!!!