I woke up early and took the 8AM ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Chichén Itzá. With stops the ride was about 3 hours long but the bus was pretty comfortable (best compared to greyhound buses in the US), they have outlets to charge devices and 3 television screens playing a movie or show.
Upon arriving at Chichén Itza the first thing you’ll see is the market with different items for sale by several local vendors. Walk a little past that and you’ll find the main entrance and line to pay, one line for locals/Mexican residents and one for tourists. The entrance fee is $242MXN and you have the option to pay a bit extra for a tour guide – I’ve often heard that the tour guides don’t teach you much more than you can learn online so I didn’t think it was worth it to get one.
Once I got inside, El Castillo was one of the first things I saw and it really is as amazing as pictures make it seem. To look at a structure of that complexity and to think that a group of people made that so many years ago without any of the technological advances we have today is remarkable, breathtaking.
I walked around El Castillo and took a couple of selfies – when you travel alone your pictures more often than not don’t include you in them or turn out to be unflattering selfies. At one point I decided to ask a stranger to take a picture of me in front of it being well aware that the stranger I choose might be a terrible photographer.
I stopped a lady with her daughter, Yolanda and Anjoly, and asked if she could please take my picture, she agreed as long as I’d take one of her and her daughter. I agreed and after taking the picture she asked if I was alone and would like to join her touring and photographing the rest of the Chichén Itzá archeological site. I thought I got lucky with this one so I decided to stay with her, also turned out she had a guide with her.
Her tour guide, Ysauro Olalde, was of Mayan decent himself and you could see the passion when he spoke about his ancestors’ history. He was very knowledgeable on the facts as well as the stories/fables associated with the archeological site and the Mayans of Chicén Itzá.
During the tour Yolanda began asking me about my trip so far and what I planned to do next, I explained I wanted to go to Coba and Tulum the next day and she informed me she’d be doing the same and I could join her. At first I was hesitant, as any person traveling alone would be but I honestly didn’t have any bad feelings about her. She also wanted me to check out dinner at Xoxchimilco and let me know she didn’t mind if I stayed at her hotel with her and Anjoly. After going back and forth in my head for a bit I decided it was worth losing the money I spent on the ADO back to Playa Del Carmen because I’d have the convenience of going to Coba and Tulum by car as well as company along the way.
Like I agreed to stay with them we all went back to the hotel they were checking out of that day, Mayaland, which was located on the archeological site and took a dip in the pool. We then went to grab something to eat at the hotel buffet and headed back to El Castillo at around 3:30PM to watch the shadow of the Snake God imerge.
Unfortunately, by the time we got out of Chichén Itzá (around 4:30pm), checked out the shops and drove back towards Xoxhimilico we did not make it in time to have dinner so Yolanda just rescheduled that so she and Anjoly could do it later in their trip.
Tips for travel to Chichén Itzá
- Round trip ADO bus ticket 628MXN – take your phone charger
- If you’re a traveler like me only buy a one way ADO ticket, although a little more expensive you might not even need the trip back – turns out better than purchasing roundtrip and not utilizing it or getting a refund
- Archeology Site Entrance: 162MXN for locals, 242MXN for tourists
- Take extra cash if you want souvenirs – this is a great place to buy because although it is touristic there is a lot of competition so you can bargain for great prices
- To see the Snake God shadow arrive early – you’ll have to remain seated and if you’re not in the front row it might be hard to see over heads
- If you aren’t getting a tour guide do a bit of research before arrival so you know what sites you’re looking at