If you are visiting Tulum, Playa del Carmen or Cancun, I highly recommend making the trip to Chichen Itza. Undoubtedly it is the most recognized of the Mayan Ruins. After all it is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and on the UNESCO world heritage list.
The ruins are two hours from all three popular Mexican Rivera hot spots. Yes I know what you are thinking, that is a long trip to see some Ruins especially since it will be 4 hours in a car that could be just as well spent on the beach.
For me it made sense, I didn’t know when I would have the chance to visit Tulum again and there was a big possibility the next time I would be coming all the way from Australia not just New York where I currently live. So in the big scheme of things it seemed like a no brainer.
And I was seemingly eager; So eager I got there an hour early.
There are a couple ways to get you to Chichen Itza. From Tulum you can catch the ADO bus from the town center … It’s costs about $20 USD and will take around two hours to get there with a short stop in Valladolid, a small town I recommend checking out. There are also the many tour bus groups as well as private taxis the hotel can organize.
We decided we wanted to leave very early, as in 6am early so we would arrive at the ruins when they open at 8am. Yes I was aware I was on vacation, it was a one off. So we booked a personal driver, Simon.
A round of applause for me. I was so organized we arrived an hour early and not because we left at 5am instead of 6am. We were caught out by daylight savings time. So we actually crossed over time zones somewhere between Quintana Roo and Yucatan region lines, shifting the time back an hour.
On the bright side, as we drove up to the boom gate, at 7am, we were first in line to enter when it did open an hour later.
And thank goodness for that, as the first ones through the gate we had a pretty clear view for taking photos. An hour later, the buses had all arrived and crowds of tourists gathered around the base of the pyramid like a crowd around someone holding a baby.
We walked around, did our thing and were ready to leave just in time to miss more crowds.
El Castillo is the pyramid that dominates the center of the archeological site and many would know it by various pictures online without realizing.
As we walked out, all the locals had set up their stalls with various trinkets to sell to tourists, which we had completely missed when we came in.
Simon, our driver, was patiently waiting to take us on to the next site, Ik Kil Cenote.
Chichen Itza is one of those places you will be glad you ticked off the bucket lists even if you didn’t think it was on there. Just be sure to check the time zones before waking up at 5am on vacation.
Herstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.
Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.