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Tag Archives: Equinox

Chichen-Itza

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.

Chichen-Itza el castillo with the serpent

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.

Chichen-Itza site

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

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

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

Chichen-Itza: The church

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Dzibilchaltun

We had expected to visit Dzibilchaltun and be wowed by the site as this is the starting point for the spring equinox sunrise which then shines through to Chichen-Itza and Tulum to form an alignment of all 3 sites. Unfortunately we were left disappointed.

Firstly, the cost of entry was much higher than that of any other sites we had been to, in fact twice the price of previous entries, and came close to the price of Chichen-Itza, which we knew was going to be expensive due to its size and popularity.

Secondly, for some strange reason it seems to be the only site where you are unable to bring in a backpack in, and instead have to leave it at the entrance. No food in the site is also another policy we didn’t understand.

Thirdly, the site itself was not very big so we were even more disappointed when we discovered that the Temple of the Seven Dolls was blocked off and that the cenote was closed to the public, due to safety reasons as we were visiting in the week of the spring equinox.

Temple of the Seven Dolls:

Dzibilchaltun: Temple of the Seven Dolls

Cenote Xlaca:

Dzibilchaltun: Cenote Xlaca

We were also disappointed by the fact that there were no markets or vendors at the site, which usually bring some life to the sites. The only souvenirs/refreshments were provided by a small shop at the entrance.

View from the main plaza:

Dzibilchaltun: view of the plaza

A real shame as it had the potential to be a much better experience than it turned out to be, especially as there were no crowds for once!

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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