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Why These Mayan Ruins Near Cancun Are Tourists’ Favorite In The Whole Country

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Throughout Mexico, there’s an abundance of important and highly enjoyable historical attractions, places that transport travelers back in time to experience the rich cultural wealth of this beautiful country.

However, out of all these super-popular attractions, there is one that continues to wow visitors year after year, and in 2023 retained its crown as the most visited site in the nation.

A view of a pyramid at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Located in the historically important state of Yucatan, Chichen Itza still stands today and is recognized as one of the seven wonders of the world.

The impressive pyramid structures are a record of the fascinating and highly developed Maya civilization that flourished before the arrival of Spanish colonial settlers.

El Castillo, Temple of Kukulcan, Chichen Itza, mexico, Aerial view of ancient Mayan city Chichen Itza, beautiful landscape

Unbelievable Popularity

In 2023 Chichen Itza welcomed over 2.3 million curious travelers, a truly impressive number considering the whole destination of Los Cabos in northwest Mexico hosts just over 3 million visitors each year.

This runaway popularity says a lot about the appeal of this important historical site, but it can also raise some issues.

For example, while there are rarely quiet days for visitor numbers to Chichen Itza, travelers should avoid visiting on Sundays. On this day, entry to the site is free for Mexican citizens and those with Mexican identification, and the crowds can quickly build.

large crowds at the base of a pyramid at chichen itza

Always Be Respectful

Also, it’s important for visitors to remember the significance of the site to the Maya people and to show the same respect that they would show at an important historical site in their own country.

In the past few years, there have been several instances of travelers flouting the rule barring people from climbing the pyramids. Sometimes explosive consequences follow as the locals react emotionally to this perceived disrespect of the site as well as their culture.

traveelrs at chichen itza temple

Deserved Fame Or Overrated?

A concern for many travelers with sites like Chichen Itza throughout the world is whether or not the hype is real.

While that is an opinion each traveler will come to on their own, it’s a truly rare thing to find a review that claims Chichen Itza is overrated.

The site itself is one of the best cared for and best run attractions in all of Mexico. The whole nation is proud to be home to one of the seven wonders of the world, and it shows in the whole experience at Chichen Itza.

Perhaps one of the site’s biggest positives is its size. Chichen Itza isn’t as compact or hidden away from view as its sister site in Tulum.

To make a comparison, Chichen Itza is the Texas of Maya ruins: big, impressive, and with lots of space to enjoy.

chichen itza

Conveniently Connected

Despite being 124 miles from Cancun, getting to Chichen Itza is super convenient.

Travelers who enjoy exploring and traveling on their own time can get here simply by following Highway 180, a well-maintained and fast roadway.

mexico cancun highway infrastructure

For those who prefer to sit back and take in the surrounding countryside of thick, luscious jungle, this can be achieved by opting for either a guided excursion from one of the Mexican Caribbeans’ many reputable tour operators or by taking an independent journey on one of the direct public bus services.

However, without a doubt, the most convenient of all the options on offer is making use of the new Tren Maya (Maya train). After years of planning and construction, travelers are now able to travel from the Mexican Caribbean to Chichen Itza on this modern and super-comfortable public transport service.

Maya Train Route Through Tabasco, Mexico

A Luxurious View

For travelers who want a highly exclusive Chichen Itza experience, aerial tours of the site are available from the nearby airstrip.

This provides travelers with a rare experience in the skies above that reveals the true scale and awe of this historical marvel. Both airplane and helicopter tours are available, run by Fly Tours Cancun and Cancun Helicopters, respectively.

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