From party central in Cancun, to the rich history of Yucatan state, Mexico has something for every traveller.
One of the most popular destination in Mexico in Chichen Itza. The Mayan name ‘Chichen Itza” translates directly to ‘At the mouth of the well of the Itza’. For those that skipped history at school, the Itza people were an ethnic population that were influential in the economic and political lives of the inhabitants, with the world Itza itself probably meaning ‘enchanter’.
Located in Yucatan state, in an area known for its sink holes, the region was most likely to be settled due to the availability of plentiful water. The site itself was at its peak in the Early Classic period (600 AD), dominating political and sociocultural life in the Maya lowlands, and was one of the largest Mayan cities.
For history buffs, there are not many better sites. The site likely started its decline in the 13th century, and over time it lost its status as an urban and political centre. Interestingly, the common myth is that Chichen Itza was abandoned when the Spanish arrived, but there is much evidence that it in fact was thriving at the time.
In modern times, there have been many archeoligical efforts to find and understand more of the site, with the most prominent being in 1860, 1875, 1984, 1923, 1961, and in 1967.
Fast forward to today. The best things to see and do in the area are:
1. The Pyramid Kukulcan / El Castillo
2. Inner Temple
3. Temple of Warriors
4. The great Market
5. Great Ballcourt
6. Temple Of Jaguars
7. Platform of the Skulls
8. Temple Of the Wall Panels
9. Old Chichen
There is more to the region, with significant sites in Old Chinen; just a short walk from the site.