First Timer’s Full Guide to Visit Chichen Itza

Visiting the pyramids and knowing the best time to visit Chichen Itza is an absolute must for any Mexican vacation.

For those who are planning a visit, it’s important to cover some of these basics. For this reason, in this article, we’ll cover how much money you will need, the best time of year to visit Chichen Itza, and more.

It would be best to know exactly where there might be something that piques your interest and we’ll go through this too.

Please be aware that a $38 tourist tax called Visitax must be paid either before or upon entering Quintana Roo. It’s a quick and easy procedure that just takes a few minutes to complete online.

How to Get to Chichen Itza

Getting to Chichen Itza is not difficult with a variety of transportation methods. First of all, if you’re seeking an adventure in the Mexican jungle, we recommend that you book a flight into Cancun or Merida and take a Chichen Itza tour.

Alternatively, renting a car to get to the UNESCO site is also an option. From there, it’s only about two to three hours by car until we reach this ancient Mayan city.

The drive from either Cancun or Tulum can take up to two hours and a half depending on traffic conditions.

Last but not least, there is a number of ways to come to Chichen Itza using public transportation. In fact, you’ll be able to use the ADO bus company from Cancun to Chichen Itza.

You’ll have a shuttle leaving the city every day at 8.45 AM and returning to Cancun at 4.30 PM. Needless to say, that leaves you a lot of time to explore around. The price per person is 50MXN/$2.50 and you’ll reach the historical site in about 3 hours.

From Merida, on the other hand, you will find buses at 6.30 AM, 8.30 AM, and 9.30 AM and will take you around 1 hour. The price for the trip is 150MX/$7.50.

The local transportation system is available all year round and is a great affordable option to come during the best time to visit Chichen Itza.

Join a Day Tour to Chichen Itza

Travelers looking for a beautiful, cultural experience to Chichen Itza should research different tour companies and book in advance.

Tours often sell out so it is important to plan ahead of time rather than waiting until you get to Tulum, Merida, or Cancun.

Since there are tours leaving from all around the Yucatan Peninsula, we recommend checking them all and see which one is best for you.

There are many tour options available from “skip-the-line” to “full-day tours”. However, bear in mind that you will not need a full day to visit Chichen Itza and, rather, only a couple of hours.

If traveling by car I recommend driving yourself but if going as part of a guided group then be sure that there will be an English-speaking guide. This will help you during the excursion and will come in particularly helpful when there are rules about photography.

What Time Does Chichen Itza Open?

Chichen Itza has good opening times which gives you the opportunity to come either in the morning or in the afternoon.

The UNESCO historical site is open daily from 8 AM to 4.30 PM. This allows you to spend some time inside and explore the most interesting and beautiful parts.

What is the Best Day of the Week to go to Chichen Itza?

Even when you go during the best weather, there are plenty of crowds to be found at Chichen Itza, being one of the 7 Wonders of the World.

Here’s a tip: get there as soon as they open so that most people have already left, or simply avoid Sundays altogether.

How Much Does the Entrance to Chichen Itza cost?

If you want to enjoy the history, art, and culture of Chichen Itza for just a few days then be sure that you get your tickets in advance.

The entrance fee to explore Chichen Itza is $539 Pesos per adult and kids under 13 years can enter for free. One important thing to remember is that the entrance fee to Chichen Itza is divided into two categories. The state fee, which stands for culture, and the second fee which is for the federal (INAH). You may pay these fees separately at designated windows before entering this historical landmark.

Best Time to Visit Chichen Itza

November to March is the best time of the year to visit Chichen Itza since it gets extremely hot during the summer months. On the other hand, you’ll find rain past June and you certainly don’t want to get wet while visiting the site.

You’ll find more crowds during these times but if you arrive when they open at 8 AM, there won’t be many and you’ll get the chance to get your experience.

Lastly, the Yucatán peninsula has a tropical climate. You will rarely experience daytime temperatures below 25°C.

Just like the best time to visit Chichen Itza, we recommend exploring Yucatan during the dry high season winter months from November to April. When clear skies, calm seas, and predictable weather make for perfect snorkeling excursions.

How Long do you Need to Visit Chichen Itza?

Tourists from all over the world visit this ancient city for its rich history and unique architecture. The Chichen Itza UNESCO site is bigger than 740 acres (300 hectares) and, for this reason, it won’t take a minute to complete your visit.

Without a guide, you’ll be able to cover the whole site in around 2 to 3 hours.

That is a great thing since you can cover Chichen Itza in the morning before the heat picks up in the afternoon.

Is Chichen Itza Worth Visiting?

Chichen Itza is one of the seven wonders of the world and is a site that will leave you in awe and amazement. Soak up some history by walking through this ancient Mayan city’s ruins; it will definitely be worth your time.

The temples, the stepped pyramids, the arcades, and the other structures inside Chichén Itzá were blessed by the Maya. In fact, at that time between A.D. 750 and 1200, the site was a sophisticated center of the Mayan empire.

Overall, Chichen Itza is definitely worth visiting and we’re confident you’ll enjoy every second of your time.

What Should you Wear at Chichen Itza?

Mexico is hot, and spending time at Chichen Itza under the sun for a few hours can be exhausting.

To get the most out of your trip, you recommend you bring and wear the following:

  • Pack water – especially if visiting during summer
  • Sunscreen or an umbrella to prevent heatstroke and getting sunburnt
  • Toilet paper – There are bathrooms in but they often charge a lot to use it.
  • Towels – There are cenotes in and around Chichen Itza where you can swim.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as there are many uneven surfaces throughout Chichen Itza

Sure, while these are normal items that you should be brought during your travels anyway, it’s not always easy to remember little details.

What to See in Chichen Itza

The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are a popular tourist destination for travelers. Here is some information on what you can see there, as well as how to get the most out of your visit.

The ancient Maya site of Chichen Itza is one of Mexico’s most impressive sights. The Mayans built the complex in the 400s A.D. and it was a major city until conquered by Spanish conquistadors.

Today, visitors can explore the ruins that remain to see some fantastic carvings and buildings including the El Castillo pyramid temple and more.

The main attraction at Chichen Itza is the Pyramid of Kukulkan (El Castillo) and there are many other smaller pyramids and temples. But what else to see in Chichen Itza?

This is our brief overview of some of the most important things to do and see in Chichen Itza.

Temple of Kukulkan

The Maya pyramid of Chichen Itza still stands tall, as a testament to the incredible engineering skills and creativity in this once flourishing culture.

Built sometime between 800AD – 1200 AD, it served as both an observatory for their sun deity Kukulcán and a temple where they could worship him.

Today, we can observe its stairs with awe at how skilled these people were even without modern-day technology.

The Pyramid at Chichen Itza is the center of this Mayan city and was built over a preexisting temple. At 53 meters wide, The Great Kukulcan makes up one-third of everything present at Chichen Itza which includes many temples and palaces that are now open or partially restricted due to preservation purposes.

Temple of the Warriors

The Temple of the Warriors is one of the most interesting and significant structures inside Chichen Itza and is 40 feet high and 133 feet wide.

Back in history, it was one of the only structures that were big enough to accommodate large gatherings.

The temple of the warriors is recognizable for its four platforms, edged on two sides by 200 rounds, and shows reliefs of warriors, eagles devouring human hearts as well as representations of Mesoamerican culture.

What was the Temple of the Warriors used for? In the central plaza of many ancient Mesoamerican cities, crowds would gather to watch as their worshipers offered themselves up in sacrifice.

The temple represents the warriors’ relief as well as the jaguars and eagles eating human hearts. Needless to say, that’s quite a serious place inside Chichen Itza that is, nowadays, pleasant to walk around.

El Caracol

El Caracol is a tall, spiral-shaped tower that stands out from the temple ruins of Chichen Itza. The observatory features an internal staircase with no rails.

Inside the top chamber was found some unusual concave windows which allowed light to be directed at specific points on the horizon and so observe eclipses.

The El Caracol’s purpose was to help the Mayans know when to till their land and plant seeds.

The buildings they designed also aligned with angles that were created as the sun crossed through different points of its journey across a year.

All in all, El Caracol is one of the most unique places and you shouldn’t miss it during the best time to visit Chichen Itza.

Temple of the Skulls

The Temple of the Skulls is one of the most gruesome yet unique places to discover in Chichen Itza. This is where skulls of sacrificial victims were displayed alongside those who lost at a ball game.

While this isn’t uncommon and similar places are found in the historical site, the Temple of the Skulls is the largest and most impressive inside Chichen Itza.

It was first constructed in 864 AD, with a height difference between each side that is 12 meters (39 feet) high.

Overall, you shouldn’t miss the Temple of the Skulls during the best time to visit Chichen Itza.

Cenote Ik Kil

While it’s technically not inside Chichen Itza, Cenote Ik Kil is one of the most pleasant attractions around.

Cenote Ik Kil is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The cenote has an upper deck with an on-site restaurant that overlooks the splash pool where you can spend hours just lounging or swimming.

The beautiful turquoise-colored waters have a diameter of just around 200ft so be prepared to meet other visitors on site.

The crystalline waters are best for swimming when they’re cold or refreshingly cool from winter rains – after hot days exploring ancient ruins and temples nearby.

To sum up, Ik Kil should certainly be on your itinerary during the best time to visit Chichen Itza.

Conclusion

Chichen Itza is a must-visit destination for any traveler. The ancient Maya city will take you back in time and give you the opportunity to experience a culture that’s both fascinating and mysterious.

Also, as mentioned in this article, make sure to choose the best time to visit Chichen Itza to enjoy the pleasant weather or fewer crowds. The time of the year will either make or break your experience.

In conclusion, if this article has left you wanting to visit Chichen Itza, all you need is to start packing and book a flight to Cancun or Tulum.