Departing from the pier, you will settle in for an immensely scenic drive inland, through the jungle and on to Chichen Itza. Now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chichen Itza had enormous importance as a religious, ceremonial and astronomical center, and excavations have unearthed a number of significant structures.
The most iconic is the pyramid-like Temple of Kulkulcan, which has 365 steps, one for each day of the year. Its architecture is Mayan but heavily influenced by the Toltec warriors who migrated to the Yucatan in the 10th century. The pyramid is oriented to mark the solstices and equinoxes, as the Mayans were skilled astronomers.
While walking about the excavated grounds of Chichen Itza, you will also see the largest ancient ball court in the Americas. The acoustics are amazing even by today’s standards, as a whisper at one end can be heard at the other end, more than 500 feet away.
The Temple of the Warriors is another highlight. Flanked by hundreds of columns with carved figures of Toltec warriors, this massive building was used for ceremonial gatherings. Finally, there is the Sacred Cenote, a sinkhole where people were once sacrificed in hopes of reversing severe droughts.
Following two hours of exploring these magnificent and mesmerizing ruins, you’ll transfer to a nearby restaurant for a box lunch and a bit of free time to shop for local handicrafts. Afterwards, re-board your coach and return to the pier in Progreso.
Need to Know:
Note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate to strenuous walking/climbing that covers approximately 1 mile. There will be natural, rocky and uneven surfaces to negotiate. The steps to climb the pyramids (optional) are steep and can become slippery when wet. Guests should be in good physical condition. Light-weight weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellant; a swimsuit worn under clothing and a towel from the ship for those who wish to swim at the cenote; and flat, comfortable walking shoes with a non-slip sole are recommended. Guests must be at least 3 years of age to take part in this tour. A waiver will be required by the local operator before being allowed to participate. Those who take part in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility.
Tours with this activity level involve a considerable amount of physical activity such as substantial walking over cobblestone streets, uneven or steep terrain, climbing stairs, or extended periods of standing. Not recommended for guests with physical limitations. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are recommended.