Published on July 19th, 2022
After spending a few days in Mexico City, followed by another 3 days in Oaxaca City, Mark and I arrived on the Yucatán Peninsula to begin the final leg of our Mexican adventure. The first stop on our itinerary was a visit to one of the 7 new world wonders, Chichen Itza.
Getting to Chichen Itza from Cancun and Valladolid
Our journey to Chichen Itza began in Cancun, where we flew into from Oaxaca via Mexico City. I could tell immediately that this place was party central! I’ve never been anywhere else where margaritas were sold in beach carts right outside the terminal gates at 11 am on a Monday morning, no less!
Shortly after our arrival, we picked up our rental car and lost an hour trying to get out of a scam from the car rental company. Eventually, we got that sorted out (sort of) and hit the road to Valladolid.
The drive from Cancun to Valladolid took about two hours and it was quite pleasant. At the time of this writing, parts of the road are undergoing construction, so there are a few well-managed diversions. Other than that, it’s a pretty straight drive to get to Valladolid. The road conditions are excellent and there are adequate signs to use along with your preferred map app.
Where to Stay in Valladolid – Colonte Hotel Origen
Chichen Itza is a popular destination on the Yucatán Peninsula and while there are multiple tours from Cancun or Tulum, these often require long bus rides and are sometimes rushed. To optimize your visit, it is better to spend at least one night in the area.
We chose to stay overnight in Valladolid and check out Chichen Itza the next day. This Mexican town is also quite charming, with a few fun activities to do nearby. After doing a bit of research, we decided to stay at Colonte Hotel Origen.
I certainly enjoyed our stay at this boutique property and thought it was great value for money. The room and bathroom were spacious and I appreciated having the small pool to cool off and lounge around in. I also particularly enjoyed dining here. We had breakfast and lunch at the hotel and they were equally delicious.
Later in the evening, we took a walk around the town, stopping to have streetside tacos (one of the best meals we had in Valladolid) and dinner at Restaurante El Atrio del Mayab. I loved the ambience of this restaurant and the service but I cannot say that the meal I had was impressive.
The next day, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel before heading out to Chichen Itza, arriving at the complex after a 45-minute drive. At the gate, we met a guide we liked and got him to take us on a tour of the ancient city and Mayan ruins.
Taking a Tour of Chichen Itza
If you haven’t done much reading or research about Chichen Itza, I would recommend that you visit with a guide. Seriously, it is worth doing so. The stories and architectural details about the sites – that is the El Castillo pyramid (The pyramid of Kukulcan) and other ruins – are quite fascinating.
If you visit Chichen Itza or any other world wonder for that matter without a good guide or personal research, you would be missing out on a great experience. Trust me, I’ve been there before! After our tour, we hung around for some photos before heading out to our next stop – Cenote Ik Kil.
A Refreshing Stop at Cenote Ik Kil
Due to its proximity (only a 7-minute drive from Chichen Itza), Cenote Ik Kil is a popular stop after visiting Chichen Itza.
We paid the entrance fees, got our life jackets (which are compulsory to use inside the cenote) and jumped into the sinkhole! It was so refreshing and terrifying at the same time. Cenote Ik Kil is quite deep with dark blue waters. I kept imagining some underworld creature would emerge at any time and grab my legs but still, I didn’t want to get out!
Ultimately, it was time to say goodbye to Chichen Itza and Valladolid and head on to our new destination – Bacalar.
By the way, if you plan to visit the cenote, it’s best to head there early or just before closing time. You would probably not enjoy your visit when it is too crowded.
The Best Time to Visit Chichen Itza
The best time to visit Chichen Itza is as soon as it opens its gate at 8 am or later in the afternoon, after all the tour buses from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have left. Sunrise tours are also available but they can be quite exclusive and expensive. In addition, it is worth knowing that Sundays are quite busy as Mexican Nationals and Residents can visit the site for free.
Chichen Itza Opening Hours
The site is open every day of the week from 08 am to 5 pm. The last access is granted at 4 pm.
Chichen Itza Entry Fees 2022
To gain access to the complex, foreign visitors will have to pay a total fee of MXN $571 (i.e. $28). This fee is divided into two parts – an 85 pesos access fee and a 486 pesos general admission fee. Be sure to check for updates on the official website before your visit.
Do let me know if you have any questions about visiting Chichen Itza or your experience if you have been there before.
For visitors travelling from Nigeria to Mexico, here’s a post on how to apply for a visa and an important message for first-time travellers who will be making the trip with either a valid US, Schengen, Japan, or UK visa.