Chichen Itza is among the most popular tourist destinations in entire Mexico. Located near Cancun, it is easily the biggest Maya era city. Awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was included among Seven Modern Wonders of the World. There are numerous places in and around the city which are ideal for a trip of couple of days.
Historically, Chichen Itza was a pilgrimage place and remained so for over thousand years. A mix of Mayan and Toltec cultures was witnessed in about 987 AD which enhanced status of this city. It remained at peak of its popularity until around 1221 when the power base was shifted elsewhere.
Chichen Itza is a must visit place for individuals interested in archaeology. Sites such as the Pyramid of Kukulcan, Interior Temple, Temple of the Warriors, Great Ballcourt, sweat-baths, Temple of the Jaguars etc are worth paying a visit. Night shows are organized almost daily to entertain visitors and give them a glimpse of the city's glorious past.
The Pyramid of Kukulcan used to be temple which was dedicated to Kukulcan, a feathered serpent God. It houses some stunning sculptures that cover length and breadth of this magnificent temple. It has a huge built with over nine levels and 52 panels. It is best watched at the time when sun casts a shadow along its northern part. It is a spooky scene as movement of shadows on ground is akin to that of serpents.
Interior Temple, Temple of the Warriors and The Great Market are other structures of prominent tourist interest. Quite interestingly, Mayan temples were constructed over existing structures, giving them a unique built. Tourists can visit these structures and marvel at their splendid beauty.
Great Ballcourt can be visited as well to catch a glimpse of the splendid Mayan era architecture. It is biggest among a group of seven courts for Mesoamerican ballgame players. Temple of the Jaguars is situated just next to Ballcourt complex. The murals, serpent columns and stone jaguar etc are worth paying a visit to.
Walk for few minutes away from Chichen Itza’s center and you would land up at what is called Old Chichen. This is a group of pre-historic buildings open only to Hacienda Chichen guests. Nevertheless, it is a good place to explore and for bird watching, horse riding etc. A number of Mayan era temples such as Temple of the Monkeys, Temple of the Owls, and Temple of the Phalli etc are under renovation here.
Caves of Balankanche can be visited for having a glimpse of interesting ancient items. Such items include idols, pottery etc and are preserved in their original form in these caves.
Tourists can enjoy a range of activities here including night show, bird watching and spas. Make it a point to visit cenotes, which are fresh water sinkholes. They can try planning their visit during Descent of Kukulcan, a regional festivity which lasts for three days in March.