Chichen Itza, Mexico | Sugar for Breakfast: Chichen Itza, Mexico

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chichen Itza, Mexico

One of the "new" 7 wonders of the world: Chichen Itza, Mexico; an ancient Mayan city.
Is it worth the drive to visit? YES.
My family (my husband, daughter, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and brother) went on a family trip to Cancun, Mexico in August 2011, and my sister and I knew we just had to visit Chichen Itza. I mean, would you travel to Egypt and not visit the pyramids? No
Cancun is only a 2 hour drive away from the city.
We stopped in the airport and purchased advance tickets from the "government". I mean, it seemed legit, and we totally had to sit in on a time share talk, but we got awesome breakfast and awesome lots of free bottles of alcohol to bring home :)
But seriously, we did get our tickets that way, and the tour bus picked us up right outside our hotel. Lunch was included as well as a couple little side tours. It was really great.

When you step into Chichen Itza it is just amazing. You know you are surrounded by so much history from a civilization that was brilliant and created a magnificent city that has stood for hundreds of years. It is estimated to have been built during late 600 AD. 
The picture above is the staircase on the Pyramid of Kukulcan and the steps are at a perfect 45° angle. Talk about steep! 

Chichen Itza is famous for the massive Ball Court that is said to have long battles of the game. The hoop on the wall is 7 meters high, and there is one hoop on the opposite wall. It is said that the players had to pass a large rubber ball through the hoop using anything but their hands. What did the winner receive? Well they were sacrificed of course. It was considered a great honor to be the winner, as they were the strongest. Games are said to have lasted only a few hours to a day or two. Below is a photo of the Temple of Jaguars, which is where spectactors of great importance could sit and watch the games. The color on the carvings are the original colors. They have lasted all this time.

While walking around the city you will see these guys running around:

One thing I didn't realize is just how massive Chichen Itza really is. We didn't even get to see all of it due to the time, the heat, and my daughter being two, it was August and did I mention HOT?
But we did make the trip back to the Cenote Segrato (the Sacred Well). This well was not used for bathing or drinking. It was used only for offering. Jewels have been found in this well. Also, some remains were found; believed to have been sacrificed. All were men and some babies. 

Chichen Itza also houses 1,000 columns. Yes, 1,000! This is an area that I didn't manage to get to photograph, but our guide told us about it and I have since read about them and they are pretty amazing. They are in perfect symmetry and they are massive. Everything in Chichen Itza is massive! For example, I did get to see the Temple of Warriors which is just north of the columns, and you can see just how big they are:

This columns are aligned in such a manner that 2 days a year there is no shadow cast from them. 
A-MAZING! It is said that the columns actually supported a roof system back when it was a inhabited city.

The Tzompantli Temple...This is where one prepared for the death of his personality and giving up his heart to the spirit...the eagle.
The skulls are happy, which represents that the death was not a physical death. 

So you have seen all the important places to see while visiting Chichen Itza. Here is a few pointers that no travel site told me before going:
  • People will attack you every 2 minutes to have you buy something from them
  • Ice cream is for sale here
  • You cannot flush toilet paper in the bathroom (so gross)
  • People will seriously attack you every 2 minutes to have you buy something. Some will offer to trade for your shoes...or in my case, your baby
  • Don't buy anything from the first sellers you see...the sellers next the Sacred Well and along the path there have great stuff and a lot cheaper
  • There is no shade, bring a hat and sunglasses
  • Ask your guide questions! They are so knowledgeable and Mayans were geniuses and they can give you little bits of knowledge {I asked why there were holes in the walls of the Ball Court -- it turns out it was to protect the walls from hurricane winds}
  • Enjoy the trip!



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