Skip to Content

What Cancun Travelers Need To Know About This Newly Opened Archeological Site 

Share The Article

Last Updated

Whether you’re a budding archeologist or just looking for an alternative to the endless beach days on offer when traveling to Cancun, this newly opened archeological site might just be right up your street!

After being closed to the public for decades, Chichén Viejo has just recently opened its doors to the public and is already becoming vastly popular among tourists. 

tourist viewing ruins of chichen itza

Located just southwest of the iconic Chichén Itzá, one of the most visited archeological sites in all of the Mexican Caribbean, this newly opened area has 25 structures on display, all dating back to the ancient Maya period, more than 1,500 years ago. 

This reopening of the site is just one on the list of many new expansions and offerings to tourists, who seem to be evermore interested in the history and culture of the region, with visitor numbers growing an astonishing 80% compared to previous years at some archeological zones.

structures in the archeological site of chichen itza and chichen viejo

Chichén Itzá has been capturing the imagination of many, with its incredible pyramid structures that represent the deities and their relationship to astronomy, and now Chichén Viejo offers a glimpse into the houses and buildings of the daily life of the people who inhabited the site hundreds and hundreds of years ago. 

So, what do you need to know about this incredible archeological site?

The History

So, as we mentioned above, this site dates back well over 1,500 years ago, during the ancient Maya period. 

Chichén Viejo is believed to be the residential area of the elite who lived in Chichén Itzá and tells a very unique and far more intimate look at the history of the period when compared to the iconic El Castillo pyramid, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan. 

ruins in Chichen itza

With everything from residential, administrative, and religious areas on display, it paints a fascinating picture of a time period that was hugely influential not only to the history of  Mexico but the entire history of the world. 

There is a tomb with the remains of five cremated human bodies on display, presumed to be linked to the founder of the Cupul family, one of the noble families of Chichén Itzá, and is comprised of the remains of skulls, jaws, and bones, all located in the North Plaza. 

Another structure has writing inscribed into it, with the inscribed date of July 30, 878 A.D, which is just absolutely mind-blowing!

The Schedule 

Woman in chichen itza looking at ruins

The site is currently in its first trial period and is only open to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays as archaeological teams continue to excavate and research the area. 

As it stands, there are two tours running from 9:00 a.m to 11:30 a.m, and 12:00 p.m to 2:30 p.m, and can host a maximum of 50 guests. 

The tour lasts approximately two and a half hours, led by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) staff and guides, meaning you will certainly be given the most accurate and up-to-date information about the site. 

The Cost 

Chichen itza tourist view

The cost currently stands at 85 pesos, which is the entrance fee to Chichén Itzá that also now includes Chichén Viejo. 

As there are limited tours and space during the Friday and Saturday openings of the site, it is recommended to book in advance before arrival. However, reservations can also be made just as easily at the ticket office.

There also may be discounts for retirees and pensioners, teachers, children under 12, researchers, and interns (with permission granted from the INAH).

The How-To-Get-There

chichen itza in the early morning

From Cancun, driving to Chichén Itzá (and Chichén Viejo) is 126 miles westbound and can be done by car in two and a half hours. 

There are also regular public transport options which leave both in the mornings and afternoons from Cancun, with tickets usually costing $28.50.

There are also a plethora of day trips that can take you to the incredible Mayan site, as well taking you to some of the infamous cenotes in the area, as well as the magical town of Valladolid. 


Just make sure when choosing this option that there will be enough time for you to experience both Chichén Itzá and Chichén Viejo if you choose to go on either Friday or Saturday. 

If this place hasn’t been on your bucket list when planning your next vacation to the Mexican Caribbean, it certainly should be on their now; it’s something you don’t want to miss!

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!

Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties

↓ Join the community ↓

The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean


Subscribe to our Latest Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.