A tourist who disrespectfully climbed the ancient pyramid that sits at the center of the Chichén Itzá archeological site quickly learned her mistake when she was vehemently reprimanded by other tourists visiting the famous location. The Pyramid of Kukulkan, also referred to as El Castillo, is a massive structure that is nearly 100 feet in height, with 91 steps on each of its four sides. In Twitter and Tik Tok videos that have surfaced, other tourists can be heard yelling and booing as one very audacious tourist, which some have now referred to as “Lady Chichén Itzá,” boldly climbed the steps of the important historical pyramid.
Individuals who witnessed the forbidden actions of the woman contacted authorities, and police subsequently responded and arrested her. As they were doing so, other visitors at the site spewed insults and comments of outrage at her while she was being taken away into custody. Some of the people in the crowd were purportedly throwing things at the woman, and she was even grabbed and had her hair pulled by one individual in the crowd.
Since 2008 there have been stiff penalties implemented for climbing the Pyramid of Kukulkan, as conservation reasons deemed it forbidden to climb the ancient structure. Now, penalties established by The Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Areas can be quite high. According to Article 55 of the law, they can even be as high as 100,000 pesos, which equals about $5,000 USD.
That Article states that “Any violation of this Law or its Regulations, which is not provided for in this chapter, will be sanctioned by the competent Institutes, with a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand pesos; which they may challenge through the appeal for reconsideration, under the terms of the Regulations of this Law.” The law makes it very clear that climbing this very important historical structure is strictly forbidden. Apparently, this one particular tourist was not concerned about the steep fine that she might incur for her actions, not to mention the disdain of fellow tourists.
The Chichén Itzá archeological site is the remnants of what was a very important city during Mayan times, particularly around 600 AD. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, though it was already being explored much earlier than that. Later, it was also named one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World” by UNESCO, in July of 2007.
Now, more people visit Chichén Itzá than almost any other archeological site in Mexico, and there are many ruins located throughout the country. There are a total of 26 different ruins located within the site, six that are part of the “Old Chichén” section, and 20 that are part of the Chichén Itzá, or “New Chichén” section. The pyramid that the tourist was caught on video climbing is the main ruin at the Chichén Itzá archeological site.
Chichén Itzá is located about three hours from Cancun, two and a half hours from Playa del Carmen, and just over two hours from Tulum. Cancun International Airport is currently the main hub for tourists traveling to any of these areas. Should the Tulum airport go forward as planned, though, it will serve upwards of 4 million passengers traveling to the Riviera Maya region every year as well.
Tourists visiting any of the popular destinations in the Riviera Maya region can purchase tours to visit Chichén Itzá and other ruins in the area. If you’re looking for a pyramid to climb, though, you might want to make a visit to the Coba Pyramid, that’s closer to Playa del Carmen, rather than Chichén Itzá.
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