Checkin' Out Chichén ItzáJune 12 in Mexico
Chichén Itzá is a Mayan ruin located about three hours by bus from Cancun in the Yucatán region. We arrived at the main bus terminal in Cancun and waited for our bus to Chichén Itzá. The scheduled time passed and still there was no sign of a departure. After about half an hour of waiting around, the bus finally arrived, loaded up with passengers and we were off.
Chichén Itzá became one of the largest cities in the region during the late classic period, 600-900 CE. The site is dominated by a large pyramid in the centre of the main plaza and a large ball court and a number of platforms surrounding the plaza. There are also two main sinkholes or cenotes, where there has been evidence found of human sacrifice. The most famous sinkhole, Cenote Sagrado, was dredged in the early twentieth century and numerous Mayan artefacts and human remains were found. The complex is filled with hundreds of local vendors trying to sell their wares. The sales pitch was almost the same throughout the site – they say that their goods cost US$1, or 20 pesos if they can see that the tourist is non-gringo. When the vendor goes to seal the deal, they say $1 off the price, not $1. Some people find the vendors off-putting, and while they were annoying, we seemed to manage to ignore them and not let it affect our time. Jason did fall prey to their traps and bought a blanket with a picture of a Mayan warrior woven into it.
At one point, the sky rained on our parade and we had to seek shelter under our umbrellas. Soon, we were bombarded by a group of Spanish tourists from Barcelona and Valencia, wanting to share our shelter. Despite their thick Spanish accent, we had a brief conversation before the sky cleared and everyone continued with their tour of the site.
By the end of the day, the number of (narcissistic) selfies being taken was almost unbearable. The monument, which should be the main focus, seemed to be relegated to just a background and the face of some wannabe instagramer or blogger took centre stage. We sat and watched as one couple tried to set up a photo as they jumped and bounced across the site. At one point, the woman fell flat on her arse in the dirt. But that didn't deter her.
After about three and a half hours of wandering the ancient ruins, we had covered the entire area that has been excavated and we were ready to embark upon the long journey home. For some reason, the return trip took almost an extra hour to reach home. It made for a very long day but well worth the expedition.
Next stop: Back to Cancun
For video footage, see: