Holiday in paradise: A visit to Chichen Itza

Bucket list: Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World

Today was the educational portion of our vacation. We booked a “12-hour tour” (sing with me, “A 12-hour tour”) to Chichen Itza and explored an ancient Mayan pyramid. It was super dope to learn about the gigantic calendar and every detail has some significance. The alignment to the sun, the number of steps, and the connections to the surrounding buildings.đź‘˝ We had a guided tour, then had time to explore on our own. We survived a long, 14-hour day with a lot of it on the bus, swam in a Cenote, and saw one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Our 12-hour tour to Chichen itza turned into a long, 14-hour day. But it was worth it. Our morning pick-up was a little rough and confusing. We were picked up from a hotel near our AirBnB just after 7:00 am. Then after about 20 minutes on a charter bus with little leg room for me, we arrived at what looked like a Cancun Super Wings tourist shop. I was already suspicious. 

After being shuffled through two different lines for an unknown amount of time and being questioned about Caitlin’s age (twice), we were finally assigned a new bus and were on our way to Chichen itza. We were given a boxed ham sandwich and water, which was a little underwhelming. I didn’t eat mine. And then, an adventure on the freeway. 

We were clipping along, and all the traffic entered a toll plaza. Then we pulled over for a bathroom break. It was reminiscent of the Jersey Turnpike, but no Roy Rogers. After 20 minutes, we were back on the road. As I stared out the window, there wasn’t much to see. It was very flat, lush, and tropical. The ride was uneventful until we started getting closer to our destination and the tour guides started the explanation of the rest of the day. 

Our first stop was at a tourist trap where we attended a Mayan blessing and they prayed for our wallets. But we didn’t give them our dinero, They tried to sell us a magical stone with healing powers by pulling us off to the side and giving us some bullshit. I was so on scam alert and my bullshit detector was going off. After being forced to wait in the gift shop of questionable items for an ungodly amount of time, they finally let us hit the buffet with Jimmy.

The food was decent, there was a salad bar, some pasta, vegetables, tacos, desserts, and some traditional Mayan (pork) food available to sample and eat. Everyone was content. The margaritas we ordered weren’t that good, and then there was confusion if we actually got another alcoholic drink with the package we purchased. I fucking get mad when we are getting nickled and dimed, just give me what I paid for. We actually got some cervezas without much hassle. Five dollar tip (US) and we are out.

After leaving the money trap, things started to improve. It was a short ride to the Chichen Itza site. As a group, we made our way through the entrance and security. They warned us about the hundreds of vendors and to not use our credit cards. They also warned us not to buy the fake silver jewelry. 

Our guided tour started, sharing valuable information about the Mayan pyramid and the historical site. We moved around to a few different spots and absorbed all the details. The tour was in English and the guide made it very interactive. Once the tour concluded, we were free to roam around for almost 90 minutes. 

The family loved our free time and explored. You can see how much fun we had from our pictures. After our freetime, we boarded the bus again and drove about 45-minutes to visit a Cenote. The Cenote we visited was 80-feet from ground level. Essentially it’s a water sinkhole, connected to an underground water system. Zander and I rented life jackets (they are required) and had to walk down a set of stairs to get to a platform to the Cenote. It was about a 10-foot jump to the refreshing water. And a lot of fun!

We had less than an hour at the Cenote, and the girls decided not to swim, just to enjoy the scenery. Zander and I changed into dry clothes and then we made our way back to the bus after walking around to get the last pictures before the sun went down for the day. 

On the long drive back to Cancun, we stopped for 30-minutes in a little town called Valladolid. There was a cool church and because it was the weekend, there were vendors set-up in the town plaza and the town was very active. We decided to stay on the bus, eager to get back to our place. 

The ride back is just not as exciting as the ride there. It was dark, we were tired and bored. Of course, we were one of the last drop-offs, folks were getting dropped off all along the hotel zone before we got back to the central district. We did it though, we saw one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We cooked snacks back at our place then crashed hard, ready to snorkel at Puerto Morelos tomorrow.