Welcome to 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
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
Information & Facts
MXN 98, including show. Translation headphones are MXN
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.
Daily 9am-5pm. Lighting and sound show begins 7pm
(8pm in spring and summer).