So after we left Tulum and Playa Del Carmen we headed due west across the plains of the Yucatan Peninsula. We had had a great time in Tulum but after that mad dash across 2500Kms of Mexico and 3 weeks in a tourist beach resort we decided to slow it down and take a bit more care and time as we continued on our way across and then south to Guatemala.
Because it is so well-known and because it would have been a shame to have not seen it; we headed for Chichen Itza. The place itself was nothing more than a ‘must-see’ destination for me. We had been warned that it would be packed but even with hundreds and hundreds of people there, it was, thankfully, still a wonderful day out.
We queued to park – and were given a bus parking place whilst cars fought amongst themselves to get a space and then we joined the queue for tickets – after 30 minutes of measuring how far we had progressed toward the ticket office it became obvious that it would be several hours before we could even see the ticket office never mind get tickets. Sometimes access to Google is a must. A quick search highlighted another entrance 3 km’s away via a distinctly up-market hotel – with no parking.
So we set off walking back along the highway hard shoulder in the blistering heat convincing ourselves that this was the best and quickest way in. After avoiding speeding pick-ups and drivers concentrating more on their phones than the road we did indeed come to the hotel entrance. Sas brazened the gate guard and managed to get us allowed up the track to this pricey hotel. After a peaceful 5 minute walk we entered the hotel complex and finally signs to the Chichen Itza ruins.
The ticket office there had a queue of 2 people and we were soon into the ruin complex, coming at it from the back and so had a very people-free wander before landing at the central plaza. It is impressive – really impressive and we spent several hours meandering around the pyramids and the columns, the plaza and the ball court before finally heading out the entrance that we had first tried to queue for (and there were still people queueing).
Jumped back into Hanna (whose interior was probably hovering around 35 degrees C by then – hot!) and headed off to find a camp for the night. We picked up a ticket for a 65 peso all you can eat buffet on the way out of Chichen Itza – found that after some interesting Mexican directions – and indeed I did eat all I could – delicious. Pushing on again we found a Mayan community cenote that allowed us to camp for free if we bought entry tickets to the cenote at a princely sum of 50 pesos each. Camping that night inside a community but on the side of a quiet road was peaceful and in the morning we headed into the cenote for a swim and a shower. The place was idyllic – the ethos of the place was very community orientated and smoothly run by lovely people who have a vested interest in the success of their little tourist attraction.
A very restful place on the way to Izamal our next stop.