We had booked pick up at 6 o’clock in the morning to be out early. What we had forgotten was that we had booked a private tour, but what a pleasant surprise so early in the morning.
We we’re on the road before sunrise, and we arrived at Chichen Itza even before the vendors had got up their stalls. This was what we wanted, to arrive before all the tourist busses, and before it got crowded. We could walk around and take photos without getting anyone other then ourselves on the picture (a selfie is a must, huh?).
We’ve been to Chichen Itza before, so this time we didn’t want a guide, just walk around and take in all the beauty of the ancient history. What we didn’t had the time to do the last time was to walk all the way in to the sacred cenote. On your way in there you will get lots of vendors trying to sell you stuff, and actually they have some nice things. We bought a huge handmade mask to hang on our wall at home. The seller asked for 3000 Mex Pesos, and we got it down to 1000. Even then we probably paid too much, but it was worth it for that price. But hey, back to the sacred Cenote…
According to post-Conquest sources the Mayan people sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to the Maya rain God Chaac. In later time during the exploration of the cenote they have found artifacts of gold, jade, pottery, incense, and human remains.
The Mayans believed there were three entryways to Xibalbá (the underworld in K’iche’ Maya mythology) and the bottom of the sacred cenote was one of them.
We think it’s an interesting history, and that’s one of the reasons why we wanted to go back to Chichen Itza. We like the mystery around this Mayan city, and wondering about how they did it. How did they build e.g. the El Castillo, the main temple at Chichen Itza.
But let us not go further, because we have to write a whole book about it…
Fun fact: Did you know that if you stand in front of the north end and clap your hands, the reflection of sound is different, like a very light sound – sounds a bit like a bird. Found a video where you can hear the phenomenon: Chichen Itza sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyEB7Ao-0FY&feature=related
After a few hours of exploration we went back to find our driver who took us to the next stop; The Ik Kil Cenote, not far from Chichen Itza.
This cenote is open to the sky, and you get down to a swimming platform by the carved stairway. We didn’t bring any swimwear, but it’s fun to see it though. And the cenote has been used as a stop on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series several times.
At this place we had this day’s lunch, a Mexican lunch buffet (included in our trip, but we had to buy drinks).
The last stop on this tour was Ek Balam, another Maya archaeological site on the Yucatán, 56 kilometres northeast of Chichen Itza.
Ek Balam’s most important cultural period was during the Late Classic Period 700 – 1000 A.D, and was in operation for over 1000 years.
The enormous dimensions of the buildings, the decorated facades, and constructed walls surrounding the centre of this Mayan city are what defines this ruin. And in the Central Plaza you’ll find the main tower, El Torre, one of the largest Mayan structures in the Yucatan. And you can still climb to the top of the tower.
And the best of all, this isn’t as popular as Chichen Itza, and that means it not that crowded either, even when you go there in the middle of the day. But it can be very hot though, so bring some water.
Ek-Balam means «the black jaguar” in Maya language.
A tour like this was just perfect! A great way to get around, and we could spend as much or less time as we needed. The driver from USA Transfer couldn’t been better, he told us about what we want to hear more about and we never felt like he was waiting for us so that we became stressed and would make us as quickly as possible finished. So we used the time we needed.
And the private tour wasn’t that more expensive than an ordinary bus trip, where you arrive when every one else does, and you feel like you have to walk in a line. If I don’t remember wring we paid about 360USD in total for the trip, and we think it was worth it!