A tourist has been assaulted with a stick after illegally climbing one of Mexico’s most famous landmarks, Chichen Itza. The stunning temple grounds, which were believed to have been constructed all the way back in the 5th century, are usually admired from a distance by the millions of travelers who flock to see one of the seven wonders of the world each year. However, every year there are always a handful of travelers who act disrespectfully, pay no regard to the rules, and decide to climb the temple.
Tempting though it may be to see the view from the top and connect with history in a real “hands-on” way, doing so is actually illegal – and, more often than not, sees the culprit met with retribution by other travelers as was the case this week. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest disrespectful travelers to scale the stairs of Chichen Itza, plus a look at why doing so is illegal and what’s happened to other travelers who committed the same crime recently.
Traveler Climbs Chichen Itza – Information For Travelers
There are several amazing design features at Chichen Itza that have captivated visiting crowds for decades. Whether it’s the carvings at the skull wall, echos that return a bird call, or the 365 steps – one for each day of the year – up the side of the temple, most travelers are content to admire them safely from a distance. However, last week the steps proved a temptation too far for one Polish traveler, who abandoned all sense of protocol and decided to ascend to the top of the temple.
Climbing the temples at Chichen Itza has been illegal for some 15 years now, with the ban coming into force in 2008 over concerns about the safety of those climbing and the potential long-term damage to the ancient structures themselves. Yet despite the ban being in place for so long and countless warnings, cordons and notices to travelers not to climb, every year, there are travelers who flout the rules – and that’s exactly what happened in the case of a Polish traveler on Saturday.
With no motivation other than getting a great picture for his social media post, the male traveler climbed the steps of the Kukulkán temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, it didn’t end there. Incensed by the behavior of the traveler, a baying crowd of onlookers jeered the man as he was led down the steps and away by park workers – but not before one member of the crowd smacked the man on the head with a large wooden plank in a stunning act of retribution.
@elexpresonoticias Chichén Itzá #Yucatán Extranjero procedente de #Polonia que subió a la pirámide e ignoró los cordones de seguridad y lo corren a palazos. #esland2023 #ÚLTIMAHORA #noticias #TikTokAwards ♬ sonido original – El Expreso Noticias
Whilst the offending climber did not sustain any injuries from his climb or from the assault, his bank balance is sure to be hurting after his act. According to a spokesman from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the man was fined 5000 pesos (around $266 USD) for breaking the rules. The man who wielded the stick was not charged or fined for his actions.
If travelers are thinking of making the terrible decision to visit Chichen Itza and scale its steps, they should be prepared to receive similar acts of mob justice if the recent past is anything to go by. Just last year, a female traveler was arrested by the police for climbing temples, but not before she was verbally assaulted, had things thrown at her, and was assaulted by the gathering crowd.
Logran bajar a Mujer que se subió a la Piramide en Chichen-Itza obstruyendo la ley, es detenida y la abuchean😱. pic.twitter.com/g0Cxoc9Q9V— Fernando Salvador (@ferchavagil) November 21, 2022
On top of being reprimanded by incensed crowds, travelers who do break the rules can expect to be fined heavily. According to Article 55 of the Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Areas, travelers can expect to receive a fine that could be as high as 100,000 pesos, which equates to around $5,000 USD – a hefty chunk of change for a few likes on social media.
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