The ancient Mayan capital of Chichen Itza is an archaeological zone in the eastern region of the state of Yucatan. It lies 120 km (74 mi) east of Merida on Highway 180, in the direction of Cancun. The climate is hot and dry, with an average temperature of 34º C (93º F).
This place, declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, will take you back in time to the pre-Hispanic era as you discover the secrets awaiting you in the most important structures. At El Castillo (also known as the of Pyramid of Kukulcan), a natural phenomenon occurs each year during the spring equinox: the sunlight creates a shadow image of a plumed serpent descending down the pyramid’s stairs. This unique experience draws hundreds of tourists from all over the world. Another important structure is the Juego de Pelota, the largest ball court in Mesoamerica. It measures 168 meters (554 feet) in length and 70 meters (231 feet) in width. There’s also the Observatorio (Observatory), or Caracol (Snail), called that because of the interior’s round spiral shape.
At Chichen Itza you can also visit the spectacular Cenote Sagrado, a large sinkhole that measures 60 meters (198 feet) in diameter. Many fantastic treasures have been found at the sinkhole: rings, necklaces, gold and jade objects, as well as the bones of young women that were thrown into the water as an offering to Chaac, the Mayan rain god.
Chichen Itza is an ideal destination, not only for those who enjoy archaeology, but also for those who like history and the charming allure of ancient civilizations.