Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 1
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Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to the best Chichen Itza tours from Merida! Spending 24 hours on a Chichen Itza tour was an eye-opening experience for me. I am a native New Yorker. Therefore every once in a while, I get to feeling full of myself.

“New York is the capital of the world!” I chortle. “It is the cream of the crop! The cat’s meow! The pinnacle of civilization! Look at our skyscrapers! Our subway system! Our Broadway musicals that star real lions! What people could be more sophisticated than we are?”

At least, I used to feel that way, and then I spent 24 hours on the best Chichen Itza tours from Merida. This wondrous place is a Mayan city that was built in the Yucatan region of Mexico about 1000 years ago. It features a giant pyramid with a magical serpent shadow, the world’s biggest rubber not-really-a-basketball court, a group of 1000 columns, and a terrifying platform of skulls.

If Meso-Americans were able to accomplish all this 1000 years ago, I’m not sure New Yorkers have anything to be smug about. After all, we can’t even make our subway run properly on weekends. Join me on a tour of this fabled ghost city, and we will eat Mayan delicacies, hunt for drowned ladies in a limestone pool, and party until the wee hours. Viva Mexico!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida

#1 TOP PICK

Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
CHICHEN ITZA TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Also visit a cenote

#2 PICK

Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 3

PINK LAGOON TOUR
✔️ Visit Chichen Itza too!
✔️ Also see flamingos!

#3 PICK

Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 4

ALL OTHER MERIDA TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

24 Hours: Chichen Itza Tour

best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

Morning: Explore Chichen Itza

I had not chosen to spend the night in Chichen Itza, instead preferring to stay in the Yucatan’s charming capital, Merida. Chichen Itza is not terribly far from Merida, but I wasn’t about to head there by myself because I don’t drive. Instead I chose to book a group tour, which was much easier. The driver picked me up punctually from my hotel and a group of about 10 strangers and I embarked on a journey to the pyramids of old.

You can book a similar tour to the one that I did by clicking here. I’m sure you’ll have just as much fun as I did!

Check rates and availability right here!

And this way you can drink a beer or several at lunch and not have to worry about driving back. I hope this post will get you raring and ready to go with…

Approximately top 5: best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

24 hours with chichen itza tour
1) Guided Chichen Itza tours from Merida

After our guide picked us all up in and around Merida, he took us on the two hour drive to Mayaland, a fancy resort within walking distance of Chichen Itza. I was glad for the stop because we got to use the facilities at the resort while our guide took care of the entrance tickets to Chichen Itza. This way we did not have to wait on line.

Once we were ready to head into Chichen Itza, we did have a fairly lengthy walk past an inordinate number of people trying to sell us tchotchkes to get to the actual Maya Land, Chichen Itza, from the resort Mayaland. Nothing looked worth buying, so we didn’t stop. But maybe you’ll have better luck!

The first part of the tour was led by the guide, who took us around all the major sights of Chichen Itza. He had one of those tour guide photo books, so he could show us pictures of some of the things he was describing, like skulls and serpent-gods, which he was not able to physically carry about his person.

If you are able to find a guide who can carry a serpent god on his actual person, please take a picture and send it to me at thisiswhataserpentgodlookslike@aroundtheworldin24hours.com.

chichen itza tour
3) El Castillo

The most famous monument at Chichen Itza is the glorious step pyramid known as “El Castillo” or “The Castle”. Look at its majestic form and figure! What style and elegance! Our guide said the pyramid demonstrates how mathematically advanced the Mayans were, and not just because of the construction of the pyramid itself.

At the equinoxes, the shadows formed by the setting sun create a representation of the serpent god Quetzalcoatl. That’s an amazing technological achievement because serpent gods smiting people is a bigger and bigger problem in these days. No one knows how they did it. Except for Quetzalcoatl, of course. He’s a winged snake-god, so I’m pretty sure he knows everything.

chichen itza tour
4) the great ball court

The Great Ball Court is the other main attraction at Chichen Itza. I’m an American, so I was all set to make a joke about how soccer is boring, but apparently that wasn’t the game that was played in the Great Ball Court.

The game you would play here was played with rubber balls and the goal was to move the ball past the other team’s goal. Our guide said that human sacrifice was practiced after the game, but that historians aren’t sure if it was the losers or the winners who were sacrificed.

One of our more perceptive group members asked why anyone would try to win the game if the winners were sacrificed, and our guide explained that the Mayans would have considered being sacrificed a great honor. I’m really glad that my mother encouraged me to seek honor by getting good grades instead of getting sacrificed to a winged snake-god!

Also, some people think baseball isn’t exciting, and I think we could definitely make it more exciting if the worst team in baseball was ritually sacrificed every year. Sorry Washington Nationals, and better luck next year! (Not that you’ll live to see it.)

chichen itza tour
5) Skull Platform

This is the Skull Platform, where the heads of people who had been sacrificed would have been displayed. (Again, not sure if these were the winners or the losers of the game being displayed here.)

But these charming stone heads are not actual skulls, rather they are mere representations. Our guide helpfully informed us that you can tell which kind of people each skull was meant to belong to.

The small skulls are Itza, the flat skulls are Maya, and the big skulls are Toltec. I think people should start bringing these stereotypes back into style! “You’re as big-headed as a Toltec” could really catch on!

chichen itza tour
6) Explore Chichen Itza on your own

Once the guided tour is over, you’ll have about an hour or so on your own to explore Chichen Itza. You will absolutely not get bored because there’s tons to do here. I recommend taking the time to go around and try to spot as many creepy stone snakes as you can. See how easy it is! Some big snakes here…

chichen itza tour

More creepy snakes here…

chichen itza tour

Even more snakes this way! Look carefully, and I bet you’ll spot a whole bunch.

chichen itza tour

This whole place is basically Indiana Jones’s worst nightmare. (Snakes? Why’d it have to be snakes?) But I guess if I worshiped an angry snake-god, I would put his image on everything too. Maybe if it looks like him, he’ll be reluctant to destroy it!

chichen itza tour
24 Hour Treasure

I was fascinated by the Group of 1000 Columns, mostly because I became obsessed with figuring out whether the name was a misnomer or not. Were there really one thousand columns? If not, exactly how many are there? Are there more or fewer than one thousand? Why would someone want to put a thousand columns anywhere? So many questions, so many columns.

If you’re wondering whether or not I counted the columns myself, the answer is no, I did not. I’m strange and obsessive, but not that strange and obsessive.

chichen itza tour

best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

Afternoon: Yucatan Adventure

After the tour, we headed back to Mayaland for an unlimited lunch buffet. There was everything from palm heart salad to poc chuc (Yucatecan grilled pork) to Veracruzian style fish to flan for dessert. We all stuffed ourselves silly because the buffet lunch was included with the tour, so the only thing we had to pay for was the drinks. (They offered Mexican beer, water, and soft drinks.)

Sadly I was a silly and forgot to take pictures of the food, but you can see what the choices look like here. It was a great place to take an air-conditioned load off after being outside in the heat all day.

chichen itza tour

24 hour treasure: Yokdzonot cenote

For those of you not in the ce-know-te, cenotes are natural limestone pools that can be found all over the Yucatan. Sometimes the ancient Mayans would use them as a dropping off spot for their victims of human sacrifice. The Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza was especially famous for being the final resting place of many a lovely young lady.

But despite this sordid history, when our guide offered to drop us off at one cenote on the way back from Chichen Itza, we all agreed. And I promise that not even one member of the tour was sacrificed during the trip!

Fun Fact

The Yucatan has more than 6000 of these beautiful cenotes. So that means if you visited one cenote a day, it would take you more than 16 years to see them all. Sounds like a project for me!

chichen itza tour

The Yokdzonot Cenote is reachable by descending a long path, so we were able to get some lovely photos of the gorgeous aquamarine color of the pool before heading down the walkway to touch the water. It was too cold to actually go in, so we all just wiggled our toes in the cenote.

chichen itza tour

That’s my pedicure!

24 Hour Tip

If you see only one thing in the Yucatan, let it be the cenotes. I saw several when I was there, and I will never forget their gem-colored goodness. Also, though this cenote was a bit chilly, most of them are definitely warm enough to go swimming in.

I recommend having a swimsuit with you where ever you go in the Yucatan, so you can just bop into a cenote any time you want. Let my photos convince you if my words do not.

chichen itza tour
Yokdzonot Cenote

There! You are convinced! Hie thee to a cenote with great haste!

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of this exploration of Chichen Itza that I can share with you for now. You’ll have to go ahead and book a fabulous tour to find out more!

Check rates and availability right here!

Once you are done with your best Chichen Itza tours from Merida, your guide will drop you off at your hotel for the night. Some of us were staying as far afield as Playa del Carmen, and some of us were staying in Merida, but we all got a safe ride back to our hotel.

chichen itza tour

I was dropped off at my hotel around 5, and I was pretty tired, but that’s still too late to turn in! How about a relaxing evening in Merida’s main square, the Plaza Grande? The Plaza Grande is just the main square in the center of town.

Almost every Spanish colonial town has one of these. The Plaza Grande in Merida is special because there is a dance or musical performance almost every night. Check this calendar for details!

24 Hour Tip

If you go around sunset, you should be there for the nightly ceremony to lower the Mexican flag.

chichen itza tour
24 Hour Treat: corn ice cream

I was too full for a big dinner after the Mayaland buffet, so instead I stopped for a snack at the Dulceria y Sorbeteria Colon, right off the Plaza Grande. This is the most famous ice cream place in Merida, and they have oodles of local flavors.

I recommend the elotes (corn) ice cream, which tasted like summer and managed to be sweet but not too sweet. Plus it had veggies in it, so that makes it okay to eat ice cream for dinner. It’s the perfect end to the best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

Whatever the musical performance in the Plaza Grande is, it should be over around 10. Then you can head back to your hotel and collapse after a full day of trying to not think too much about human sacrifice and snake-gods.

best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

Where to Stay?

I suggest choosing a hotel in Merida as your home base for your best Chichen Itza tours from Merida. I suggest staying at a wonderful hotel called El Gran Hotel. It has gorgeous historic rooms, a staff that’s available 24-7, and the location was just a brief walk from the main town square.

It basically has everything a person could wish for, unless you hate happiness. And it’s the perfect homebase for this best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.

If you’d rather explore over 500 other great hotels in Merida, just click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay as the base for your best Chichen Itza tours from Merida. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

chichen itza tour

That’s a Perfect best Chichen Itza tours from Merida

What would you like to do at the best Chichen Itza tours from Merida? Have you ever eaten ice cream for dinner? And did your mother encourage you to get sacrificed to a serpent god, or did she just tell you to go out for the cheerleading squad? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida

#1 TOP PICK

Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
CHICHEN ITZA TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Also visit a cenote

#2 PICK

Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 3

PINK LAGOON TOUR
✔️ Visit Chichen Itza too!
✔️ Also see flamingos!

#3 PICK

Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 4

ALL OTHER MERIDA TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here.

You can also add a what to do Merida day. Or add on 24 hours in Mexico City. You can also try one day in Mexico City. You can also try a from Mexico City to Teotihuacan day trip.

Best Chichen Itza Tours from Merida 2024 8

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