Day 9: Chichen Itza
Up and out by 7am for a day trip. We grabbed coffee first and then hit the road for the two hour drive to Chichen Itza – a complex of Mayan ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula. A massive step pyramid, known as El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan, dominates the ancient city, which thrived from around 600 A.D. to the 1200s. Graphic stone carvings survive at structures like the ball court, Temple of the Warriors and the Wall of the Skulls.
The Pyramid of Kukulcan or El Castillo — the most famous landmark of Chichen Itza. This was a temple-pyramid dedicated to the Feathered Serpent God, Kukulcan. It is nicknamed “The Castle”. Sculptures of the Feathered Serpents run down the sides of the northern staircase, and are set off by shadows from the corner tiers on the Spring and Fall equinox. That would be a site to see.
Our guide, Walter, showed us that if you clap a certain distance from the steps, it makes the sound of a local bird!
Great Ballcourt – there are 7 courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame at Chichen Itza. This one is by far the largest and most impressive, not just at the site but in all of ancient Mesoamerica.
Platform of the Skulls
Sacred Cenote of Sacrifice
If you intend to visit this site, listen to all of the guidebooks and get here early- even though it was only 10 am it was ridiculously humid and hot and this is fall! At times we felt like we were melting
It was definitely time for a welcome dip
in a cenote (sink hole) linked to underground river systems.
located close to Chichen Itza, on the highway to Valladolid. It is one of the most beautiful cenotes of Mexico.
In order to reach the water you have to climb down 26 metres. The water is 50 metres deep while its diameter is 60 metres – so it felt very eerie swimming around a seemingly bottomless pit.
The waters of Ik Kil were considered sacred by the Mayans who performed human sacrifices to their rain god here. Bones and jewelry were found in the deep waters of this cenote by archaeologists. I didn’t know this at the time of swimming 😂
Steve, Josh, Scotty, Rosie and Paula bravely jumped in from a platform while the rest of us very gingerly entered the water around the edge and tight rope walked along a rope to head to the centre.
Was prepared in the traditional Mayan way. We had bean soup, tortilla with pork and chorizo. Delicious! We were allowed to take a peep into the kitchen and see the women working. (And inspect for hygiene purposes 🤣)
Spanish colonial city
Time for another swim in the very cold and fish filled waters of this cenote.
Sam overcame her fear of fish and swam even though she knew they were there and could even see them!
As for the rest of us- they even nibbled on our toes.
My private photographer took these wonderful shots.
Then it was the drive home, and take away burritos from Burrito Amor for dinner.