chichen itza

Chichen Itza | Cenote Ik Kil & Valladolid

One of the most important stops of our 8-day trip to Mexico was undoubtedly Chichen Itza. We had reserved 1 full day of our Cancun itinerary to see these beautiful pyramids. Of course, we were not going to be satisfied with just Chichen Itza. On the same day we added Cenote Ik Kil and Valladolid to our itinerary. We were even going to add Cenote Suytun, but since we decided to go to Ik Kil, we skipped this place.

For us, this 1 day was a full day, not 5 minutes of it was empty. We had to do a good job in a limited time and we did it. We even managed to go to the Coba Ruins on the same day, which we could not go 1 day before. We went, but they accepted us in at the last minute. We did a really good job and we achieved our goals one by one.

Note: We could not go to Coba due to a small problem we had in Tulum. I did not include Coba in this article because Coba is on the list of places to visit in Tulum. You can find details about Coba in my Tulum article.Note: We could not go to Coba due to a small problem we had in Tulum. I did not include Coba in this article because Coba is on the list of places to visit in Tulum. You can find details about Coba in my Tulum article.

Chichen Itza : The Mysterious City of the Mayans

Chichen Itza was a place that fascinated us from head to toe. The majestic structure, mysterious stories and history of the pyramids are really impressive. I will try to tell you everything about this place step by step.

Selected in 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a global survey, Chichen Itza is a city belonging to the Mayans who ruled these lands. The Mayans used to build such important cities around cenotes. There are also very beautiful cenotes around Chichen Itza, such as Cenote Ik Kil. For more detailed information about cenotes ( you can check this link.

Details of these beautiful pyramids located in the deep forests of the Yucatan Peninsula are below. If there is anything you want to ask, write in the comments section, if I am not travelling, I will return within 24 hours.

Where is Chichen Itza & In Which country?

Where & Which Country is Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza (or Chichen Itza) is located on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, between the cities of Valladolid and Merida. So Chichen Itza is within the borders of the country of Mexico.

This beautiful city was founded in the period before Christopher Columbus Itza Maya city. When we compare it with our ancient cities, it cannot be said that its history is actually very old. Below you can find the distance between Chichen Itza and important cities of Mexico. The location of the pyramids on Google map here.

  • The distance from Chichen Itza to Cancun is 197 km,
  • The distance from Chichen Itza to Merida is 145 km,
  • The distance from Chichen Itza to Tulum is 151 km,
  • Chichen Itza to Valladolid 45 km,
  • Chichen Itza to Coba Ruins 116 km,
  • Chichen Itza – Mexico City arası 1425 km,

How to get to Chichen Itza?

You can reach Chichen Itza by car or bus from many cities in Mexico. We reached here with the car we rented from Cancun. The journey takes a little longer. Therefore, no matter where you are going to Chichen Itza, my biggest recommendation to you will be get up early in the morning and hit the road. The earlier the better. Try not to stay after 7 o’clock in the morning. If you leave around 5 o’clock, you deserve congratulations.🤗

Getting from Cancun to Chichen Itza by Car

We travelled from Cancun to Chichen Itza with the car we rented. The road is 197 km and takes about 3,5 hours. At this point, I would like to tell you about something we have experienced.

When travelling from Cancun to Chichen Itza, Google Maps offers you alternative roads. These roads are divided into paid and free roads just like us. What I mean by toll road is of course autobahn. We did not prefer the motorway and took the normal road because there was not much difference between them in terms of km and hours. But the normal road forced us. Because after the centre of Cancun, the roads are single lane and this causes you to go slowly.

In addition, since you pass through the villages, I think we passed through 100 you say 200 dodges on the roads. The dodges really pushed us hard. In some of them, there were no signs and we had to brake suddenly. In other words, the normal road is both troublesome and causes loss of time.

The motorway is a bit better than this road. The tour company’s vehicle used the motorway on the way to Holbox. Even though it is not wide and spacious roads like ours, it is better than nothing. You can find details about roads and car hire in Mexico in my Mexico Travel Guide.

Getting from Cancun to Chichen Itza by Bus

To get from Cancun to Chichen Itza by bus, you have to choose ADO, Mexico’s bus company. You can reach Chichen Itza by taking these buses from ADO stations in Cancun.

ADO buses depart daily at 08:45. The return bus leaves from Chichen Itza at 16:30. The bus journey takes about three hours. The ticket is 50 Mexican Pesos one way. The disadvantage of going by bus is that you will stay at the archaeological site for about 5 hours.

In general, people come to Valladolid, which is closer to Chichen Itza, stay here for 1 day and then go to Itza early in the morning. The advantage of travelling from Valladolid to Itza is the high number of bus services and of course early arrival.

You can buy ADO bus tickets online via the ADO website or in person at any ADO bus station. The location of the ADO Terminal in Cancun is here.

What does Chichen Itza mean?

During the Mayan period, cities were built around cenotes for access to fresh water and for sacred purposes. The name Chichen Itza comes from these cenotes, that is, wells. The name of Chichen Itza means “at the mouth of the Itza well” in the Mayan language. The well refers to a series of underground rivers that ran beneath the site and probably served as the city’s water source.

The origin of the name Chichen Itza: Chi (mouths),  Chen (wells), and VeItzá is the name of the tribe of the  Maya  who settled there.

When was Chichen Itza built?

Archaeologists are not sure exactly when the construction of Chichen Itza began. According to the researches, the city started to be built around AD 600-750.

The growth and development of Chichen Itza spanned several centuries. The city is estimated to be more than 1500 years old. Historical records show that Chichen Itza was an important focal point for the Maya in the Northern Maya Plains between 600-1200 AD.

Who built Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza was founded by the Mayas, a people who ruled the Yucatan Peninsula for many years. There were different groups among the Maya. Among these groups, it is estimated that it was built by the group called Veltza.

In the 9th century, Chichen Itza was a de facto regional capital whose rulers controlled most of the central and northern Yucatan Peninsula. Through its harbour at Isla Cerritos on the north coast, Chichen Itza became an important trading centre, trading goods, including gold and other treasures, with other cities in the Americas. It is believed that as many as 50,000 people lived in Itza during this period.

Why was Chichen Itza built?

Chichen Itza was a city that was home to the Mayan people who spread all over the Yucatan Peninsula. This city, which was home to the Mayans, was built especially for commercial activities, religious rituals and the social and cultural life of the people living in the city.

Another idea is that the Mayans built Chichen Itza for purely logistical reasons. The site was founded because of its proximity to a large cemetery, also called a sacred cenote, which supplied fresh groundwater to the city. So proximity to fresh drinking water is considered an important factor in the founding of the city.

Most Important Structures in Chichen Itza

There are beautiful buildings in Chichen Itza. Here, your right and left sides are full of history. The most important of the structures here is El Catillo, the Kukulcan Pyramid. All details about these structures are below.

  • El Castillo | Pyramid of Kukulcan: One of the tallest and most remarkable examples of Mayan architecture, this structure was built at the highest point of the Itza-Cocom culture during the collapse of Mayapan. The Pyramid of Kukulcan is a four-sided pyramid with a rectangular temple at the top.
    The main facade of this temple has two columns representing snakes with open jaws.These form the main entrance, decorated with a large mask of the god Chaac. Also the main entrance has an architectural block supported by two square columns decorated with bas-reliefs.
    According to archaeologists, the Kukulcan Pyramid was built on top of an older smaller structure. During excavations, archaeologists discovered the smaller temple, 16 metres high.
  • Tzompantli: The monument that gives the clearest testimony to the practice of human sacrifice carried out by the rulers of Chichen Itza for religious-military purposes. The platform walls of the Tzompantli are carved with beautiful reliefs of four different subjects. The primary subject is the skull rack itself, others show a scene of human sacrifice eagles eating whole human hearts and skeletonised warriors with arrows and shields are depicted.
  • The Great Ball Court: This building, just northwest of El Castillo, was used for sports. Primarily a team game using a ball. This ball game was very important for the Mayans in terms of both social and religious rituals.
  • North Temple: This small building, also called the Temple of the Bearded Man, is adjacent to the Grand Ball Court and is commemorated on its interior walls by the figure of a man with a beard-like carving under his chin.
  • Steam Bath: This structure includes a water bath and steam room operated by heated stones.
  • Temple of the Warriors: Another large, stepped pyramid. The Temple of the Warriors is approached by a wide staircase with a straight, stepped ramp on each side, and each ramp has figures of bannermen holding flags. Before the main entrance is a statue of chacmool
  • El Mercado: A square structure at the southern end of the Temple of the Warriors, which archaeologists believe served as the city’s marketplace.
  • El Osario: Another stepped pyramid structure with a temple at its summit.
  • Akab Dzib: The name means “house of arcane writings” in Mayan.

The Mystery of Chichen Itza

chichen itza

Chichen Itza, counted among the new 7 wonders of the world, has quite mysterious features. The advanced technology of the period was used in the construction of the pyramids. Although some mysterious points of the pyramids have been solved, there are still unsolved mysteries in many points. Here are the known mysteries of Chichen Itza.

  • As can be seen from the location of the Chichen Itza Pyramids, the Mayans were very advanced in astronomy. For this, they used El Caracol, a round-shaped observatory used especially to measure the positions of the planets and the sun.
  • The Mayans also made important calculations while building Kukulkan. The Pyramid of Kukulkan has a total of 365 steps, 91 on each side and one at the top. This is equal to the number of days in a year. Each side represents a season. The Mayans used this pyramid to find the best times to sow seeds and harvest crops. So the great pyramid actually functioned as a great calendar.
  • Kukulkan Temple is designed in such a way that every year the sun casts the shadow of a snake on the pyramid during the spring and autumn equinoxes. The undulating shadow, which resembles the body of a snake at the equinoxes, slowly descends as the sun sets and merges with the snake head at the bottom of the stairs.
  • The equinoxes were also very important for the Mayan people in religious and ceremonial terms. These dates were like seeing God come to life.
  • If you clap your hands at the bottom of the stairs of El Castillo, you may hear an echo like no other. This echo is the chirping of the Mexican quetzal, a bird considered sacred in Mayan culture.
  • The ball field at Chichen Itza was the largest in the Americas. Mesoamerica’s deadly but popular ball game was played here. At the end of the match, the losers were beheaded. When exploring the ball field, look up to see the stone rings on the walls of the field. Players were required to pass heavy rubber balls through these rings, which were 8 m above the ground.
  • The land of the Mayans was not all fun and festivities. There was much about terrible sacrifices and cruel death penalties in this city. Many structures at Chichen Itza are evidence of these practices. The Platform of Skulls or Skull Shelf was the most sinister. Hundreds of heads of victims and soldiers were carved into the walls of the platform to control people and frighten enemies.
  • The Mayans invented an unusual blue colour, which has been extensively analysed by scientists. The reasons are its extraordinary chemical stability and permanent colour. This colour can be seen in the murals of Mayan temples.
  • The most important use of Maya blue was in sacrifices.People were often completely covered in blue and thrown into the Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza.
  • In 2018, a team of archaeologists began exploring the underground water system beneath Chichén Itzá in an attempt to find a connection to the putative cenote beneath El Castillo. Archaeologists speculate that El Castillo served at the time not only as a staircase that brought priests closer to the gods of heaven, but also as a gateway to the demons of the underworld.

The Decadence of Chichen Itza

The decline of Chichen Itza is generally attributed to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 and the European colonisers who followed Columbus. However, it is believed that the decline of Chichen Itza began before this date.

Historians estimate that much of the city’s political and economic activity was centred on Mayapan, a newer community built south-west of Chichen Itza in the mid-1200s.

According to one theory, Chichen Itza was suddenly raided and the entire city was looted by the invaders. There is evidence for this, but it is still open to debate.

Chichen Itza Night Show

In Chichen Itza, exciting shows with light effects are performed every night on the Great Pyramid of El Castillo. The ancient Mayan complex comes to life with light shows and sounds.

At night most of the ruins are illuminated with colour-changing lights. Before the show starts, people are given time to take photographs. The real light and sound show lasts 30 minutes. During the show, the history of the Maya and how impressive the Mayan civilisation was are explained.

To buy a ticket for the night show, you must go to the ticket office of Chichen Itza and check in there. The entrance fee for the pyramids for the night show is 600 Mexican Pesos.

Chichen Itza Entrance Fee

chichen itza

Chichen Itza Entrance Fee 2022: Let’s come to one of the most important issues, the entrance fee of Chichen Itza. The entrance fee here is constantly rising. When we went, we paid 570 Peso per person. It will probably be 600 Pesos when you go.😀 Let me also mention that the parking fee is 80 Pesos.

You can also buy a tour package in Chichen Itza. Details can be found in this link

Chichen Itza Visiting Hours: Chichen Itza is open every day of the week from 8 am to 5 pm. The last entrance acceptance time is at 16.00. It makes much more sense to come early in the morning.

Pay attention to these in Chichen Itza!

Before going to Chichen Itza, pay attention to the items I have listed below. We had a trouble-free trip and you should not have any problems.

  • Try to get here as early as possible.
  • Don’t forget to take water with you.
  • Make sure you have your sun cream with you.
  • Carry cash for the entrance fee and parking fee.
  • There are many guides here. If you speak English, you can follow someone.

Cenote Ik Kil Adventure

cenote ik kil

cenote ik kil

Located very close to Chichen Itza, Cenote Ik Kil is like a branch of heaven on earth. Coming out of Chichen Itza comes here. It is really a legendary place with everything. We literally loved this place.

Cenote Ik Kil is an open air cave cenote. The stalactite plants hanging towards the cenote add a very beautiful atmosphere here. You descend by stairs and you are in paradise. It is beautiful from the top and from the bottom.

The complex where the cenote is located is very organised. Everything is spotless. A life jacket is mandatory to enter the cenote. There is also a place like a buffet where you can buy something at the entrance.

If you are planning a trip to Chichen Itza, definitely put this place on your list. I am sure you will never regret it. Finally, you can also buy online tickets for Ik Kil.

  • Web Site:
  • Cenote Ik Kil Entrance Fee: 150 Pesos per person
  • Visiting Hours: 09.00 – 17.00
  • Location: Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun is probably the most popular cenote on Instagram. In my opinion, it does not have a very big feature other than being photographic. You need a good camera for a good photo here. As I mentioned above, we preferred Cenote Ik kil instead of going here and I think we made a very right decision.

Cenote Suytun has a stone path leading to a circular platform in the centre of its large round pool. Near Valladolid Suytun is a very popular place. This is an underground cenotaph. You reach the cenotaph by descending the stairs.

You need to shower before entering the cenote. You must wear a life jacket for swimming. You have to wait patiently for your turn for photographs. The best photos are taken in the afternoon when the sunlight seeps into the cenote.

The entrance ticket for Cenote Suytun can also be bought online. It’s a bit cheaper. I leave the site below.

  • Web site:
  • Cenote Suytun Entrance Fee: per person 150 Pesos
  • Visiting Hours: 08.00 – 18.00
  • Location: Cenote Suytun

Our Valladolid Trip


If you are travelling from Cancun to Chichen Itza, your route passes through Valladolid. You can go here before and after the pyramids. Usually people use this beautiful little city as a stopover point to go to Itza.

Valladolid is a very small place with colourful buildings. When you think of Valladolid, do not think of Valladolid in Spain, this is in Mexico.

The number of places to visit in the city centre is quite limited. The church in the centre and a large park are among the most important places to visit. This place is like a square. There are businesses around it where you can eat or shop. Apart from this, there are beautiful cenotes around Valladolid. If you have plenty of time here, you can evaluate the cenotes. Below you can find Mexico Valladolid places to visit list.

Valladolid Attractions List

  • Monument to the Mestiza (Monument in the Square)
  • Iglesia de San Servacio
  • Parroquia de San Bernardino de Siena
  • Cenote Saamal
  • Cenote Oxman
  • Cenote Suytun
  • Cenote Xkeken
  • Cenote Zaci
  • Cenote Xkeken

Chichen Itza F.A.Q.

Which country is Chichen Itza in?

Chichen Itza is located in Mexico.

Which civilisation does Chichen Itza belong to?

A city belonging to the Mayan civilisation that dominated the Yucatan Peninsula.

Is it possible to climb the pyramids of Chichen Itza?

Until 2006, tourists were allowed to climb El Castillo. Climbing the pyramids was banned in January 2006 after a woman tumbled to her death while descending the steps. 

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