During our recent trip to Mexico, I took advantage of our time there and booked my Mom and me on a trip to Chichen-Itza. I’m so glad we went.
We had a 3-night stay, and for a while, I agonized over whether to spend a full day away from our resort during such a short trip. It would have been nice to completely relax and enjoy a truly lazy vacation. However, I like to follow Mark Twain’s advice when planning a trip:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
…and so with that quote in mind, I booked our excursion. I would have regretted it if we didn’t go, being so close to a World Heritage Site. It was important to me that we avoided the crowds, and the hottest time of day, so we scheduled an excursion that departed at 6 AM. Early, I know, but you’ll see, it was totally worth the early wake-up call.
It took us about two hours to ride to the site of Chichen-Itza. We arrived at 8 AM, well before most people even boarded a bus to head out there. Our group had privileged access to the Mayaland Hotel and Bungalows, which offered a private entrance to the ruins. What a lovely resort! So many beautiful plants and trees, and such a peaceful place. I would visit this resort for a night if returning to the area.
We had early access to the ruins, and were able to tour and take photos without a lot of crowds around. Our guide gave us lots of in-depth information about Maya history, culture, architecture, and worship practices. Definitely use a guide, you’ll appreciate this site a lot more with a proper guide.
Upon exiting the ruins and returning to the Mayaland Resort, there are rows of vendors on either side of you, offering to barter with you. I couldn’t resist a gorgeous blanket that was locally hand-woven. In Cancun, I believe a blanket like that retails for about $30-$40, and I was able to purchase it for $20.
We were able to participate in or witness a Maya Shaman’s blessing ceremony, and watch a 30-minute movie that described ancient Mayan legends. Honestly, it was dark and blessedly air-conditioned in there, so most of us fell asleep. Haha!
After that, we enjoyed a buffet lunch complete with fresh fruits and vegetables, grilled meats, and traditional Mexican and Maya specialties. I have to mention the FABULOUS guest we had while eating lunch: a gorgeous peacock in all his glory. He was amazing; he knew he looked awesome and he gave us a show!
We had some free time for shopping, and were back in our van to return to the resort. We were back at Excellence by 4 PM, so we promptly made our way to the beach to soak in some sun.
All in all, a wonderful day and the perfect way to see Chichen-Itza!