Stunning ancient monuments surrounded by jungle, sculptures, temples, and ceremonial areas made by the Maya. Those are some of the things you can find in one of the most impressive and intact ruins that the modern world has, Chichén Itzá on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. This place makes its visitors feel like they’re in some kind of a dream because as they’re walking around the area, they can imagine the Maya building up structures like the pyramid of Kukulcán, living there, praising their gods and making ceremonies for them. This is one of the destinations that every adventurer should have on their list, especially if they want to know one of the 7 New Wonders of the World and if they want to learn about the history that is among these structures.
The majesty of the pyramid of Kukulcán lies in its architecture, the delightful symmetry it has, and the secrets that are hidden in it. During the spring and autumn equinoxes, shadows cast by the setting sun create the illusion that there’s a massively long “snake” crawling down the building because they link with the stone serpent’s head at the foot of the staircase. Also, the pyramid works as a giant calendar in which the number of years is represented by nine levels that face a total of 52 panels, and the days are defined by the staircases from each face of the pyramid that, from the bottom to the top, have 365 steps.
Another secret that this pyramid has is that, deep within it, there’s a much older pyramid to which you can have access by going through a small door, this will take you to a passage that leads to the original sanctuary where a chac-mool and a jaguar-shaped throne, with dazzling jade stone eyes and white teeth, are forever entombed.
What else can you see?
The pyramid can be seen from every angle of the site, which gives you the chance to admire its harmonious proportions from a number of different perspectives, but have you ever wondered how the view is from the top of it? Have you ever wonder what will you see once you reach it? From the top of the pyramid you can appreciate the dense sea of trees that surround the area but not only that is visible, but also the tops of some ruins and open grass spaces that centuries ago were used to make ceremonies.
The Temple of the Warriors is a part of what is considered to be the ceremonial area of Chichén Itzá, this spectacular structure comprises stone pillars, spacious patios, and halls with a reclining chac-mool on top of it. Visitors can no longer climb the stairs in order to see this sculpture, but they can appreciate the beauty of this temple by seeing it from the top of the pyramid of Kukulcán.
Also, it is worth seeing the Ball Court, which is other of the most astonishing structures and by far the largest field in Mesoamerica as well as one of the sites with better acoustic sound. That means that if you clap from one of its walls, you will be able to hear the sound perfectly from the other one.
Last but not least, if you want to see the pyramid of Kulkucán coming alive, you should definitely go to see the light and sound show they make every evening at the complex, which is included in the ticket price. By going there you will also be able to see the pyramid being illuminated by the moon, and glowing with its natural light.
How do you get there?
The nearest airport to Chichén Itzá is at Cancún, and the location is reachable by hire car or bus. If you’re going to stay at the Mayaland Hotel, you should get off at the park gate and walk through the place. On a day trip, many tourists visit Chichén Itzá but you should try to stay overnight, in that way you will be able to appreciate the whole area in the quiet mornings and afternoons. The interior of Kukulcán’s pyramid is only open in the middle of the day so you will have to face the crowds at least once.
Where should you stay?
If you want to enjoy Kukulcán properly, you should get up early because by 10:30 a.m. it is already crowded with visitors. Try to be among the first through the gate at 8:30 a.m., so that you can manage an hour of near solitude. The best way to achieve this is to stay at the Mayaland Hotel, that is located just a few meters from the east gate. By staying here you will be so close to the place that you can even see the ruins of the ossuary, or bone sanctuary, silhouetted by the setting sun and filling the doorway to the hotel bar.