As I have mentioned before we aborted our first attempt at seeing Chichen Itza due to the huge amount of tourists. Apparently numbers have increased dramatically ever since it was listed as one of the seven modern wonders of the world.
We had been told that most of the tourists arrived at about 10:30 or 11 having caught buses from Tulum, playa de Carmen, Cancun etc. so our plan was to get there for opening at 8 and see how things went.
We were ready, packed and on the road early and managed to get parked and first in the queue for tickets at 8:05. We were a little worried that we were in the wrong spot but were told that the sight opened at 8 Mexico time. This turned out to be closer to 8:20 but either way we were first through the gates.
We were a little worried that we had over done it with seeing Mayan ruins and that we weren’t going to be very impressed. How wrong we were. Our first sighting of the main Castillo was just breathtaking. It is a massively impressive structure and more so, the whole area just looks so beautiful. It certainly did help that our view wasn’t impeded by anyone else.
From the main temple we walked towards the thousand pillars. While we didn’t know if there were a thousand there it was still pretty cool. Previously there would have been a roof over the top and a bench running the whole length which would have been very impressive back in the day.
We spent the rest of the morning walking through the various sites which were separated by little bits of forest. Except this time rather than wild animals they were lined with merchants selling various touristy bits and bobs. They were all quite amusing and not too pushy which was pretty good.
The final site we went to was the largest known Mayan ball court which to be fair was bloody massive!! It certainly would have been pretty cool to have gone to see a game there. The most impressive feature we noticed was that without raising our voices too much Sarah and I could have a conversation from one end to the other. In fact all around the site there were fantastic acoustics.
We only really noticed this when the hundreds of tour groups started coming through and all stopped to clap in various spots.
The site was quite spectacular and very impressive. Not only were the temples well restored and preserved but the artwork and carvings in some of the buildings was as exquisite in places as it was in Copan.
At the end of our tour around we sat in the main square and marveled at the main temple while trying to cool down in the shade. I don’t know how hot it was but it was stinking and we were so glad that we had managed to get most our walking around done before it got too hot. It was hunger and the promise of air con in the car which eventually caused us to drag ourselves away from the massively impressive site.
After a slightly disappointing lunch (I feel our best value eats are behind us unfortunately) we set off for Cancun. Not the sort of place we would usually go to but the flights out of Cancun to both Cuba and LA were so much cheaper than anywhere else in Central America we had to go there.
We made great pace getting there along a practically empty, completely straight, dual carriage way, paid motorway. That is until we got to the point where we had to pay. 276 pesos seemed a little steep and it turned out that we didn’t have enough cash to pay!! So after causing a fairly large traffic jam behind us we were told they wouldn’t take a credit card and that we had to drive back, do a u turn and head towards the coast. All because we were 20 pesos short!! (I will admit that I later found an extra 20 pesos deep in one of my pockets!!)
It only added an hour or so onto our journey (which was only 1.5 hours to begin with).
We eventually arrived in Cancun after stopping off at the airport to get a visa for Cuba and to pay various taxes for Mexico. We couldn’t afford to stay in Cancun beach area so stayed in the town on the mainland.
We went for a drive down to where the massive hotels and decided that it was a bit of a cross between Las Vegas and Gold Coast with a Mexican twist. To be fair it looked like a lot of fun. We parked completely illegally in a flash hotel and walked through as if we were staying there and soon got our first sight of the beach and the water. How fantastic. The most beautiful sea and a beach better than most we have seen.
Maybe Cancun would be quite a good chincy holiday.
Still it was back to the slums for us to get ready for the next adventure. T
Saving the best Mayan temple until last. Really impressive walking through the entrance and then seeing this! Even better just the two of us!
Some of the 1000 pillars. They all have inscriptions on them and with a roof and a bench I think it would have made a great place for people to congregate!
The ball courts. A massive area purposefully built for their ball games.
The idea of the games was to get the ball through the hoop.
All around the area there were loads of different temples and ruins with different carvings on them these skulls were particularly impressive.
The 91 steps leading up to the top of the main temple.
One of the other temples with serpents lining the stairs.
This was used as an observatory. The Mayans knowledge and use of the stars was very impressive.
It’s not just the main temple but many other impressive ones around the area too.
One of the more ornate buildings which they think was used as a monestary.
These skulls are for sale everywhere.
Just a couple of shots of the beach at Cancun.