Chichen Itza

This section will host different posts of things to do in Cancun and the surrounding area including the Riviera Maya and parts of Yucatan like Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Rio Lagartos, etc

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Cancun Manny
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Chichen Itza

Post by Cancun Manny » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:08 pm

Chichen Itza is one of the most popular tours, if not the most popular tour out of Cancun.

Chichen Itza Pictures

Chichen Itza is an archaeological site built by the Mayans. It was one of their main religious centers. It is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world. It is actually located in the state of Yucatan, where as Cancun is in the state of Quintana Roo, and both states are in the peninsula of Yucatan (I know it can get a bit confusing). You can get much more information about Chichen Itza itself by googling the term, instead I will provide information that is more relevant to the travelers.

Guides at Chichen Itza are 750 pesos. Make sure to read my post about Local guides at Chichen Itza. (Some guides at Chichen Itza will charge less than the official 750 fee. You might think you are saving money by doing so, but it usually ends up being like seeing half a movie, since they only explain one area of Chichen, not the whole site including the observatory)

They used to have a night show at Chichen Itza, but at the moment the show is suspended until further notice, and unless you were into photography it wasn't really worth the hassle, it was more for those vacationing in the area.

Chichen Itza is about 2 to 2.5 hours from Cancun (depending where in the hotel zone your resort is located). To get there you do use a toll road. Total cost of the toll road is 579 pesos. There are two other ways to get to Cancun without going through the toll roads. One is through the old Merida Cancun road, which I don't recommend at all. Since you are looking at about 3 to 4 hours drive each way, and if there is an accident in the road, you could be stuck there for hours. The other way is cutting through Tulum then through Coba, which is the way we go when we do pickups in Playa del Carmen of further south. From Cancun to Chichen Itza via the Coba road is 3.5 to 4 hours, sometimes a bit longer.

How to get to Chichen Itza? There are several ways to get to Chichen Itza

You can hire a Chichen Itza Private tour through me (of course that is what I recommend). This link breaks down the costs of our custom private tour to Chichen Itza.

You can rent a car and drive there on your own. It is relatively easy to get there. There are literally only about 5 or 6 exits on the toll road between Cancun and Chichen Itza, so hard to get lost. Most travelers now a days have some sort of smart phone with google maps or similar, and the area is well covered.

You can book a bus tour which range from $65 to $110 per person (some times more if you over pay) depending on the options they offer. Soon I will be offering these type of tours (I just have to find a vendor I feel comfortable with)

If you are on a budget and looking for a backpacker type adventure, you can make your way to the ADO station in downtown Cancun, (ADO is similar the the Greyhound bus line in USA). There you can catch the ADO to Chichen Itza. There are some special buses that go straight to Chichen Itza, you would have to inquire as to the hours as they are special hours for those buses. If not, you can catch a bus to Valladolid, and from Valladolid you can catch a bus to Piste, which is the town next to Chichen Itza.

The other budget option, not as cheap as ADO, would be to use a taxi, but not a Hotel Zone taxi, as those guys usually will want to charge you as much as my private service and will take you to all the tourist traps. Instead if you make your way into down town Cancun and find a decent looking (or at least not as beat up) taxi with working AC you might be able to work out a decent price. If they go by the chart, they can charge you I think like 3500 pesos or so, about $310, but if it is slow season they might take $150 - $200.

Since Chichen Itza is over 2 hours away from Cancun, you definitely want to make other stops in the area before heading back to Cancun. Most of the other private tours and bus tours will make a stop at a "market place" which is just a tourist trap, where they sell over priced souvenirs (you are better off buying them inside Chichen Itza), then they take you to visit Ik Kill (a nice cenote, if you never seen one), and include a lunch buffet, where the catch is the drinks are not included, and they are not cheap.

The other places of interest that I usually suggest are Balam Kanche caves, the cenotes in the town of Dzitnup, (Xkeken and Samula) which are nicer than Ik KIll, and EK Balam ruins. Now, the other suggestions I have also made for those that are not interested in the "classic suggestions", are Casa Venado Museum in Valladolid, The Tequila Factory in Valladolid (not as touristy as the ones in Cancun/Playa del Carmen), and the San Bernardino Convent in Valladolid.

For meals we take 95% of our clients to Oasis Familar and each and everyone of our groups have been extremely pleased, even the vegetarian ones. Oasis Familar is where the locals go for their traditional food. It is not a restaurant you would find on your own walking around the main plaza as it is tucked away some side streets. They have no English menus, nor anyone in their staff speaks any English, in fact usually the only tourists that visit the place are the ones we take. It is not a fancy place by any means, but they do offer authentic flavors, something you won't get to taste at any of the touristy buffets. The other 5% of the time we take folks to subways (strict vegetarians that don't want to take chances) and El Meson del Marques and la taberna de los frailes, which are somewhat fancy restaurant.

Another locals favorite is the smoked meat (ham) sold at Temozon, which is a small town on the way to Ek Balam. The town of Temozon has less than 7000 residents, yet they most have over 50 different stores that sell "carne ahumada". Price is 110 pesos per kilo (about $10 for 2.5 pounds) and you can buy as little as $1 at a time
I do put a lot of time and effort to provide much detailed information to help you have a great time while in Cancun. If you feel I provided you with valuable useful information and want to reward me, why not buy me a beer? Cancun Manny

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