The timing of our trip put us in Chichen Itza for Christmas. Yes, Chichen Itza is open on Christmas! We rolled in on our Bromptons on Christmas Eve after a 91km bike ride from Izamal. We didn’t expect the ride to be that long, nor did we expect to have head colds, so we were extra grateful that we’d booked two nights at the fancy Hotel Mayaland. Because when you’re sick and exhausted, it’s nice not to be staying in budget accommodations. Though when we were planning our trip, the main reason we decided to stay at Hotel Mayaland was because it has its own entrance to the Chichen Itza ruins. That meant we didn’t have to go in the Main Entrance (which is much busier), we could beat the crowds arriving from Cancun without having to wake up at sunrise, and most importantly we could walk there.
If we’d stayed in the town of Piste, which is 2.5km from the ruins, we would have to walk half an hour or bike and leave our Bromptons locked outside the site. But since we were staying at Hotel Mayaland, we left our bikes in the safety of our hotel room and after a short five minute walk, we were in Chichen Itza!
As all the guide books advised, we got there at 8am and headed straight for the famous pyramid (El Castillo) to get a look at it before it was swarmed with tourists. Mission accomplished!
Then we leisurely explored the sites…
And right on time, at 10am, the bus loads of tourists arrived!
We’d already seen the pyramid, so we passed the crowd and continued to El Osario and El Caracol (The Observatory).
It took us about 4 hours to explore everything. (There are many more ruins than these photos represent; I’ve just selected the highlights.) We had planned to go to the cenotes in the afternoon, but since we were still sick, we decided to relax by the pool and read instead.
The next day, we were back on our bikes and heading to Valladolid!
And for information on other ruins we visited in Mexico, see 6 Maya Archeological Sites from Mérida to Tulum.