Chichen Itza is purely a special place for me as I visited with my mum when she came with my family for a holiday in Mexico. It was only the second occasion that I have seen them all in 3 years so it was pretty momentous to be able to show my mum around and have her experience just a little of the lifestyle I live day to day.That being said Chichen Itza itself was pretty underwhelming; after seeing the absolutely spectacular Tikal just a couple of weeks previously! Sure it’s a fantastic Mayan ruin but there are certainly better one’s out there, however the problem for me was the amount of vendors and tourists at the park.
The best thing for me on entering Tikal was that there was the option to wander it solo in tranquility. As I said in my Tikal blog, the most momentous part of Tikal was walking through the trees and stumbling across the gigantic temples and having a wonderful moment of realization.At Chichen Itza, you don’t stumble into anything; instead you follow the snail trail of tourists hedged in at either side by vendors shouting their wares.
It’s quite disappointing that you can’t just experience the ambiance and the architecture that the Mayan sites have to offer. Instead you hear every tour guide repeating the exact same facts and every tour group repeating the calls that reverberate around the temples. For example a simple clap in front of the main temple causes a an echo of a Quetzal bird call! This is inself was extremely fascinating and a great feat of engineering by the Mayans to design and build structures knowing that they would create this amazing effect. Unfortunately it’s ruined by the sheer number of people that are doing it in every corner of the complex.
In short if you only have the opportunity to see Chichen Itza then of course, grab it with both hands and explore some Mayan ruins. However if you are able to visit anywhere else such as Tikal, Palenque or Tulum then skip Chichen Itza and save your money to see the real deal!