Chichen Itza: Places To Visit

A comment we have heard, but are dumbfounded by all of the time, is “There is no reason to stay in Chichen Itza overnight because there is nothing else to do once you see the ruins.” Well, we respectfully disagree.  There are various cultural and ecological activities and places to visit. We will be adding various posts on Places to Visit in the Chichen Itza area, so that you are well-versed in your options.

Here is just a glimpse of all you can do:

Chichen Itza Pyramid of Kukulkan El Castillo
Chichen Itza’s famous Pyramid of Kukulkan or “El Castillo”

Chichen Itza

This is the obvious choice, but don’t under estimate it. It is definitely deserving of its mantle as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This archaeological park is massive and can take 2 hours on a brisk pace. The ancient city is much larger than the archaeological park you can visit. It is full of big must sees, such as the Pyramid of Kukulkan or “El Castillo“, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of hidden gems most people don’t even get to see because they are rushed through only to the major structures. By staying overnight, you can enter the site early in the morning or late in the afternoon in order to beat the masses arriving midday from the Mayan Riviera AND the heat. Here are the highlights & the hidden gems:


  • Pyramid of Kukulkan (Northern Plaza)
  • Sacred Cenote: the city owns its name to this magnificent natural well. (Northern Plaza)
  • Great Ball Court: the largest and best preserved one in the Mesoamerica (Northern Plaza)
  • Tzompantli (Northern Plaza)
  • The Observatory “El Caracol (Central Plaza)
detail from Lower Temple of the Jaguar
Detail from the Lower Temple of the Jaguar

Hidden Gems:

  • Lower Temple of the Jaguar (Northern Plaza): don’t miss the immense detail of these murals & columns tucked inside this temple located on the exterior of the Great Ball Court.
  • Akab Dzib“The Dark Writing” contains the first hieroglyphic writing rediscovered by explorer John Lloyd Stephens in the Lowlands (Central Group). We are pleased to offer our clients the added bonus of using Hacienda Chichen Resort‘s private, exclusive entrance to Chichen Itza, which leads you directly to Akab Dzib.
  • Cenote of the Xtoloc: the second cenote in the archaeological park & the orientational focus of the Osario Group (between the North Plaza & Central Group).
  • Casa Colorada Group: you can still get a great view of the Observatory or “El Caracol from this often overlooked plaza just off the Central Group. Only two of the 4 structures are reconstructed/preserved of this quad, but it is a lovely & quiet oasis with shade.

Caves of Balankanche

Caves of Balankanche

Located 2.5 miles south of the archaeological park of Chichen Itza, this glimpse into one of the most sacred Underground sites associated with Chichen Itza is often not included in the day-trip itinerary.  A small museum is located before the entrance to the cave system that explains a bit of its function for the ancient Maya and its rediscovery in the 1950s. There are fixed hours for English & Spanish language tours.

Yaxkin Spa

Yaxkin Spa Mayan Spa at Hacienda Chichen Resort

The first Maya Spa, Yaxkin Spa is a world renown wellness center recommended by ELLENational GeographicConde Nast Traveler, & more as a place of healing and ethno-medicinal cultural preservation. Yaxkin Spa has been recognized by these distinguished publications, as well as Breast Cancer Partner, for the unique experience offered to guests. Take the opportunity to give yourself some much needed relaxation and balance of your mind, body, & spirit.

  • blessing of the stones ritual Yaxkin Spa

Here are our recommendations:

  • Kukulcan: Deluxe Tropical Full Body Alignment Spa Therapy
  • Sail-tun: Sacred Maya Hot Stone & Deep Maya Spa Massage
  • Kakaw: Maya Cocoa Bliss Spa Therapy
  • Ya-Ha: A Gift of Love & Maya Holistic Ceremony (for couples)
  • Zumpul-che: Ancient Maya Sacred Cave & Sweat Bath Purification Ceremony for Body, Mind, & Spirit (for groups of at least 4)

Look out for more posts on things to do and places to visit in the Chichen Itza area.