Things to do in
Chichén Itzá

Expect pyramids and temples galore as you travel back to Mesoamerican Mexico at this UNESCO-listed Mayan city.

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Chichén Itzá: Our most recommended tours and activities

Chichén Itzá: Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket

1. Chichén Itzá: Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket

Enjoy one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico with a variety of architectural styles. Discover how this large pre-Columbian city played an important role in the Mayan civilization from around 600 to 1200 AD, and remained a center of worship and pilgrimage until the arrival of the Spaniards. Even today, it is still considered sacred by the Mayan people of the Yucatan peninsula. Like many of the cities of ancient Mexico, the site was abandoned, and its ruins were hidden in the jungle. Experience its rich history and stunning ruins.

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Cancún/Riviera Maya: Chichén Itzá, Valladolid & Cenote Tour

2. Cancún/Riviera Maya: Chichén Itzá, Valladolid & Cenote Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel, or a nearby meeting point, and then journey to one of the most important monuments on the Yucatán Peninsula.   Upon arrival at Chichén Itzá, look at the step pyramid of Kukulcan (El Castillo), known for the play of light from the equinox that casts shadows on each step to create an image of a serpent descending.   Go to the ancient cenote of Saamal and experience one of the sinkholes that form part of a network of underground rivers sacred to the Maya people. Enjoy a delicious buffet meal and take a stroll around the colonial city of Valladolid to complete your experience.

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Chichén Itzá: Valladolid, Cenote, Tequila Tasting and Lunch

3. Chichén Itzá: Valladolid, Cenote, Tequila Tasting and Lunch

Explore the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá and uncover the history of Mayan civilization. Visit important sites, such as the step pyramid of El Castillo, and enjoy a buffet lunch. Be picked up from one of the meeting points in Cancun or Riviera Maya and then travel to the pre-Colombian city of Chichén Itzá on the Yucatán Peninsula. Located in the Tinúm Municipality, Chichén Itzá is famous for its step pyramid of El Castillo. Benefit from the services of a guide to learn the history of the ancient city and journey back to the days of the Mayan civilization. Discover why the huge city played such an important role from the Late Classic period (600 AD) into the early part of the Post Classic period (1200 AD), and why it remained a huge center of pilgrimage until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at the site, before visiting one of the secret sinkholes, or cenotes, sacred to the Mayan people.

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Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik-Kil: Full-Day Tour

4. Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik-Kil: Full-Day Tour

Explore the ruins at Chichen Itza with a guide on a full-day tour from Cancun and/or Playa del Carmen. Choose between a private or small-group tour and beat the crowds and the heat with early morning access. Learn about the history of Mexico with insightful commentary from your guide of one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Start your adventure with an early pick-up from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Beat the crowds and the heat as you arrive at the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza. Follow your guide around the once-bustling complex, learning about the rich history, religion, culture, and daily life of the Maya. Wander around the Mexican pyramids, gaze at the spectacular stone carvings, and taking photos by the glorious steps of the ruins. Board an air-conditioned vehicle and leave right before the morning gets too warm and the crowds increase. Head to the charming town of Piste for a quick look around before making your way to Cenote Ik Kil. Marvel at its stunning views, take photos of the turquoise waters and lush vegetation, and maybe squeeze in a quick dip before going for lunch. After filling your belly with some local food, board the vehicle once more and make your way back to Cancun and Riviera Maya with nothing but knowledge and memories to remember your adventure by.

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Chichén Itzá: Hubiku Cenote & Valladolid Tour

5. Chichén Itzá: Hubiku Cenote & Valladolid Tour

Head into the dense jungles of the Yucatán as you begin this 12-hour program. Stop at the Hubiku cenote, a cavernous freshwater pool in a light-filled limestone cave and enjoy a swim. Dry off over a buffet lunch of typical Mayan dishes and then hop back on the bus for the last leg of the drive to Chichén Itzá. This dense and sprawling archaeological site features excavated ruins and well-preserved temples. The final stop is the quiet colonial city of Valladolid, where the pastel walls of shops and restaurants provide a colorful backdrop for photos.

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Tulum: Cobá, Chichén Itzá, & Valladolid Day Trip with Lunch

6. Tulum: Cobá, Chichén Itzá, & Valladolid Day Trip with Lunch

Journey to the sacred archeological sites of Cobá, Valladolid, and Chichén Itzá on this action-packed trip through Yucatan and Quintana Roo peninsula. Leave bright and early from your ideal starting point in Riviera Maya, and beat the crowds to truly take in the majesty of each landmark. Head to Cobá first, whose ruins date back to 100-300 B.C. Learn about the significance of the 5 nearby lakes, and appreciate the striking architecture of the vast stone structures. Trek to the top of Nohoch Mul to be rewarded with beautiful jungle views. Venture deeper into the jungle to reach the city of Valladolid. Stroll through the colorful streets before chowing down on a Mexican buffet lunch. Relax at the mystical Cenote Saamal, the perfect place for a swim and some dazzling photos. Save the best for last by visiting Chichén Itzá, one the Seven Wonders of the World. Feel lost in time in the lovingly-kept pyramids, and discover the genius of the city’s unique structures. Take time to rest and reminisce on your drive back to home.

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Cancun: Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote, & Valladolid with Lunch

7. Cancun: Chichen Itza, Ik Kil Cenote, & Valladolid with Lunch

Depart for the archaeological site of Chichen Itza between 07:10 AM and 08:10 AM and prepare yourself for a 2.5-hour historical tour of the most famous of the ancient cities of the Yucatec Maya. Named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007, Chichen Itza was once one of the largest cities of the Mayan civilization and thought to be one of the most mystical. See the stunning pyramid Temple of Kukulkan and marvel at the row of columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors. Look at the observatory temple of "El Caracol" and continue to highlights such as the sacrificial pit of the Great Ball Court, where the ancient ball game of "pok-ta-pok" was played. Enjoy some free time to explore on your own. Then, take a refreshing swim in the cenote of Ik-Kil and experience an underground lake on one of the subterranean river systems sacred to the Mayans. Enjoy lunch before driving to Valladolid, where you will spend about 30 minutes in the 16th-century colonial city before the return journey and drop off at your hotel between 06:30 and 07:30 PM.

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From Cancún: Chichén Itzá & Cenote Maya Full-Day Tour

8. From Cancún: Chichén Itzá & Cenote Maya Full-Day Tour

Start your day with pick up from your hotel in the Riviera Maya or Cancun between 6 AM-7:30 AM. After arriving at Chichen Itza between 9:30-10:00 AM, start your 2-hour and 15-minute tour of the archaeological site. The name, Chichen Itza means “water well of the Itzan people” and it was the capital of the Maya area and its most revered center of worship. Walk through remarkable buildings and get detailed explanations provided by your expert guide during the tour. Arrive at Cenote Maya Native Park at approximately 1:30 PM and spend approximately 2.5 hours in the park.  Visit and refresh yourself at Cenote Maya and descend into the region’s most impressive cenote. Its crystal-clear waters and geological formations make it an impressive natural jewel. Ascend from the underworld through a tunnel or use the large wooden staircase.   Optional activities include swimming, diving, and rappelling. Delve into the natural wonders and participate in an authentic ceremony of blessings carried out by a Maya shaman. Enjoy a traditional menu made with organic orchard supplies and handmade tortillas. At the end of the day, relax with drop-off back at your hotel at approximately 6:30-7:00 PM.  

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Cancún: Classic Chichen Itza Day Tour with Lunch

9. Cancún: Classic Chichen Itza Day Tour with Lunch

Chichen Itza, founded in the year 514 AD, was once the capital of the ancient Mayan civilization. Now you can visit the ancient ruins on a full-day trip from Cancún. Spend your day exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site, also declared one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Your day begins with a drive that stops at an underwater grotto, Cenote Ik Kil, where you will be able to admire the unique formation and go swimming in its clear waters. After that, stop for a buffet lunch with fresh salads, soups, rice, chicken, fish, vegetables, and regional dishes. During lunch, you will be treated to a festive show where regional people perform traditional dances to folk music. After lunch, continue on to visit the archaeological site. Once inside, you will be taken on a 1.5-hour tour with a certified guide who will introduce you to the secrets of the Mayans. Your guide will explain the historical significance of all the most important sites before leaving you to enjoy the ruins on your own.

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Chichen Itza: Self-Guided Tour with Audio Narration & Map

10. Chichen Itza: Self-Guided Tour with Audio Narration & Map

Take a self-guided walking tour through the iconic archaeological site of Chichen Itza. Use your tour guide app for navigation and audio narration to uncover the site's buried secrets. Begin your tour at the entrance of the site. As you enter, admire the ancient wall that once surrounded this place. Next, see the iconic Temple of Kukulcán. Find out about its construction and how it was built to honor the equinox. Continue along to reach another amazing sight, the Great Ball Court. Here, Mayans once played an intense, elaborate game somewhere between soccer and basketball—but with a 20-pound ball. Learn not just about the game, but also the peculiar way the court was built. Then, pass the ominously titled Wall of Skulls, where the heads of sacrificial victims ended up. Arrive at the Platform of the Eagle and Jaguar Warriors. Find numerous intricate carvings and sculptures depicting the exploits of these highly trained, lethally effective warriors. After this is the Platform of Venus, which once held offerings to the stars. You’ll learn about the Mayans’ complex belief system as well as how they used this platform. Soon, arrive at The White Road, a white stone road that is one of the largest and most intact of its kind in existence. Find yourself at the Sacred Cenote, where ancient Mayans sacrificed people to appease their rain god. Up next is the awe-inspiring Temple of Warriors, a multi-tiered temple with a dark secret hidden inside. Follow the route to the Hall of a Thousand Columns, where people once shared meals together. Visit the Ossuary, home to the grave of a High Priest. Then it’s on to the Observatory to understand how the Mayans viewed the heavens, and what they believed the stars told them about their future. Finally, arrive at the imposing Nunnery and the Church. These 2 ancient structures are some of the most frequently photographed spots in the entire city, so keep your camera ready.

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Planning Your Visit

  • Chichen Itza Weather: How to pack & What to Wear

    Nothing is worse than setting out for a big day of exploration and getting hit with a spell of dehydration. Prepare ahead and bring lots of water, it cannot be overstated how hot this place can get. Bring a sturdy set of shoes and a hat or umbrella for sun. Bug spray is a must, especially in the rainy season when mosquitoes are running amok.

  • Rent A Car or Hire a Defensive Driver

    If you decide to rent a car, make sure to purchase a map and have a friend in the passenger’s seat navigating on the way to Chichen Itza. Be careful—some of the road is rocky or in disrepair. Be sure to keep your gas tank full, because there aren’t many gas stations along the toll highway. For a day trip from Cancun, the drive will take a little more than two hours.

  • Take a Dip in the Cenote for a Quick Cool off

    Stop at Ik Kil to go swimming in this ancient water source, a popular spot open to the public.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open daily, 8:00AM to 5:00PM, year-round.
  • Is it expensive?
    Adult tickets start at 64 MXV (about $4) and continue upwards with tours, packages and other perks available.
  • Will I need a guide?
    With so much history to learn about, a guide is a great idea.
  • How to get there
    You can rent a car (parking is 10 pesos), take public transportation, or take a tour from Cancun or Cozumel.
  • Additional information

    • Try to arrive in the morning or later in the afternoon, as the sun is hottest at midday.

    • A light and sound show is put on each evening, and times vary by season, so plan to stay late if you can!

Other Sightseeing Options in Chichén Itzá

Want to discover all there is to do in Chichén Itzá? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Chichén Itzá

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 2,609 reviews

Chichen-Itza trip was very well organized. It'll be a long tiring day but worth it. Our guide Ruben from Amigo tours was very good in explaining us the history, culture and made it entertaining.

It was an amazing day. My tour guide sam was the most incredible! My second tour guide Jose was just as good!

Our tour guide Julio nd driver Ramos was amazing. They were very kind and caring ❤

Great experience! Everything was well organized and accurate in description.

It was great, the tour guides are very professional