Chichen Itza - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

The Mayan people are most well known for their advanced knowledge and brilliance regarding astrology, as well as for their incredible resilience. The stone remnants of their civilisation can be found spread throughout Mexico and Central America. Chichen Itza, with its famous pyramids and temples, is the Yucatan's most visited ancient Mayan site, set in the jungle and said to have been inhabited for more than 2,000 years. It was the centre of political, economic and military power, and controlled trade in the region.

The main attraction at Chichen Itza is the Pyramid of Kukulkan (the plumed serpent god), or El Castillo, a grand pyramid topped by a temple that dominates the site. Each side has a stairway and the top affords excellent views over the area. Inside the pyramid is a smaller pyramid, the inner sanctum, containing one of the greatest finds on the site, the brilliant red jaguar throne with jade spots, inlaid eyes and real jaguar teeth.

During the spring and autumn equinoxes (21 March and 21 September) an exceptional spectacle occurs, lasting for a few hours, that leaves crowds open-mouthed with wonder as the rippling shadows form the illusion of a snake slithering down the staircase. The shadows seem attached to the great serpent's heads at the foot of the main stairway.

Another building of interest is El Caracol (The Giant Conch Snail), an observatory with slits in the dome aligned with certain astronomical appearances at specific dates. On the far side of the site, reached by a causeway, is the Sacred Cenote, a huge natural well into which human sacrifices and other offerings were thrown to please the gods. Many other temples, platforms and an impressive ball court, are components of the ancient city, a site of enormous proportions, featuring many columns and intricate carvings, statues and reliefs.

Information & Facts

MXN 98, including show. Translation headphones are MXN 25 each.
Spanish is the official language in Mexico. Some English is spoken in tourist regions.

Mexican currency is the New Peso (MXN) divided into 100 centavos. Credit cards are widely accepted, particularly Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Travellers cheques are generally accepted, but cannot be cashed on Sundays. ATMs are available in most cities and towns and are the most convenient way to get money, but for safety reasons they should only be used during business hours. Although most businesses will accept foreign currency it is best to use pesos. Foreign currency can be exchanged at one of many casas de cambio(exchange houses), which have longer hours and offer a quicker service than the banks.

Opening Times
Daily 9am-5pm. Lighting and sound show begins 7pm (8pm in spring and summer).
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