The Mayan site of Chichen-Itza, now a UNESCO world heritage site, had always been one of those places I had seen on TV and wished I could one day see in person, so needless to say we were not going to miss this out whilst travelling through Mexico!
The delays we had in Mexico City and San Cristobal meant we had the luck of being at the ruins for the spring equinox, which is when the serpent body is formed by shadows of the edges of el castillo creating an illusion of the snake slithering down the side.
The serpent actually appears for 3 days, from the 20th – 22nd March and not just on the 21st, the official equinox. The actual effect appears when the sun rises and the sun sets and happens only twice a year, for the spring and autumn equinox. It is definitely a sight worth seeing if you have the chance.
As you can imagine the site tends to get very busy, but the tours seem to arrive later in the day so if you get there for 8am you will have a couple of hours of the site to yourself. Not even the vendors set up their stalls until 9.30am.
Chichen-Itza is very large and actually consists of 2 halves an old side, with the sacrificial cenote, and the newer side where el castillo is.
It took us a solid 3 hours to look around both areas, however we were very disappointment with the fact that almost all the structures were cordoned off to the public, which meant you could look but couldn’t climb.
Chichen-Itza: Temple of the warriors
We were told that this was because of a combination of several deaths from falling from the castillo and the fact people had graffitied areas in the site, both sad events in their own rights.
Chichen-Itza: The Observatory
Nevertheless the site is one of the largest we have visited and offers visitors a real feel for what mayan cities would have looked like and just how many people would have lived in them.
Chichen-Itza: The Church