It’s no doubt that Chichen Itza is up there as one of the most awe-inspiring and fascinating archeological sites not only in Mexico; but in the world.
It is renowned for being one of the infamous new seven wonders of the world – once an important hub of Mayan civilization and now an incredible archaeological site that draws in thousands of excited national and international visitors every year.
It is naturally an all-year-round attraction, but at the UNESCO world heritage site of Chichen Itza – during the spring equinox, it becomes a very significant time of year to visit, where the ancient city experiences a unique natural phenomenon that you won’t want to miss!
The spring equinox welcomes the beginning of springtime for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere; it’s a time of rebirth and renewal for many, and in Mayan culture, it’s even more prominent as it marks the start of their planting season, and historically at Chichen Itza, they celebrate this extraordinary phenomenon called ‘The Snake Of Light.’ This usually occurs annually around March 21, and there is also a fall equinox that happens around Sept 21.
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Snake Of Light
During these equinoxes, something magical happens; the sun begins to shine on the Kukulcán Pyramid and starts to create the illusion that a snake is slowly slithering down the pyramid, specifically down the stairs on the north side of the pyramid, giving a wonderful feeling that the feathered serpent is connecting heaven and earth, portraying a visual symbol of day and night, and bringing fertility and prosperity to the area.
The Mayans built this pyramid to measure what time of year it was and when the hours of day and night were back in 1500 BC.
It is believed to be that this event represents the Mayan god, Kukulcán (Kukulcán meaning feathered serpent god in Mayan), also known as Quetzalcoatl, who was believed to have been a serpent god.
People come from Mexico and around the world to see for themselves, and this year, generally, you will be able to experience this between March 19 and March 22, but dates do change every year, so check before you go. Typically, there’s a sort of carnival vibe atmosphere that goes on, sometimes featuring live music and folk dancing troupes. It’s been said that people wear white clothes to banish any ‘bad vibes’ and instead bring in the good energy from the new sun.
There’s also so much more to explore at the archaeological site, like the exciting Temple of the Warriors, the Great Ball Court, and also the Observatory.
Chichen Itza is located on the Yucatan Peninsula and is accessible via car, bus, or guided tour from Cancun and various other cities. Tours are bookable via your hotel or through booking sites, and if you’re wanting to explore on your own, you can book an ADO bus from their website. They have services running in the morning and will take you back later in the afternoon.
Tickets to the site at the moment are roughly around $613 Mexican pesos ($33 dollars), and for children, they are $90 Mexican pesos ($5 dollars).
Tips For Visiting
- Get there early. The site opens at 8 am, always a good idea to get ahead of the crowds.
- Dress comfortably. It’s an extensive site, so you’ll be walking a lot.
- Sunscreen is a must, and maybe a hat, as the heat becomes quite intense, especially at midday.
- Bring water to make sure you stay hydrated.
- Make sure to follow the rules that are given to visitors when exploring the area.
As technology advances exponentially in the modern world, let Chichen Itza and the snake of light experience immerse you into a time-traveling journey back to the Mayan times – it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this breathtaking occurrence at Chichen Itza, which beautifully combines history and culture, with nature.
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