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Three hundred metres from the El Castillo is the Sacred Cenote, also known as the Well of Sacrifice. The Mayan people deposited precious valuables into the cenote as a form of sacrifice to the rain god Chaac. In recent times, objects made of jade, gold, and copper have been retrieved from the bottom of the cenote and can now be found in museums across Mexico. With its emerald, green waters, the Sacred Cenote is remarkably picturesque, with many couples posing for photographs at the site.

There is also Cenote Ik Kil, located just outside Chichén Itzá. Archaeologists have found fossils of mammoths, massive jaguars, and sloths in the area’s underground cave systems, as well as human bones indicating ritual sacrifice at the location. Today, Cenote Ik Kil is a popular tourist attraction that is open to the public to swim in.

Things to know before visiting.

The Chichén Itzá entrance fee is more expensive than other Mayan sites in Mexico as you have to pay for two tickets. One is for the federal government agency that co-administers the sites (INAH), and the other is for the Government state agency (CULTUR). The total Chichén Itzá ticket price for foreigners is $497 pesos (as of April 2021), about £17.95.

When you arrive at the Chichén Itzá ticket office, there are two separate windows next to each other, and you buy one ticket at each window. Keep both your tickets as they will each be stamped on the way in. You can’t purchase daytime Chichén Itzá tickets in advance online; you can only buy them at the ticket office when you arrive. Bring cash with you to buy your ticket in case the card machine doesn’t work!

For professional photographers, film permits cost extra, and tripods are not allowed without a special license arranged with INAH in advance, which can be difficult to get.

Chichén Itzá is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm, with last entry at 4 pm. As Chichén Itzá is such a popular place to visit in Mexico, we highly recommend you get there as early in the day as possible to avoid waiting in the queue when the ticket booths open.

There are souvenir stalls along the footpaths. Souvenir sellers are allowed in from 8 am, along with the visitors, so you will be able to buy gifts and souvenirs for your loved ones.

What to take to Chichén Itzá?

There isn’t much shade around the main temples in Chichén Itzá, and the sun beats down mercilessly, making it very hot. Bring plenty of water with you, sunscreen, and a hat or umbrella to protect yourself from the sun. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes too, as you’ll want to walk around and explore everywhere – flip flops aren’t ideal.

There is a shop at the entrance where you can buy drinks and snacks, but once you are inside there is nowhere to buy refreshments during your visit, so a packed lunch might be a sensible idea.

If you decide not to take a Chichén Itzá tour, a guidebook is helpful to explain more about the ruins, as there is very little signage to explain what is what.

You can take small backpacks and handbags into Chichén Itzá, but there is a luggage storage facility if you prefer not to carry your bags. Once you have paid for your entrance tickets, look out for signs to the luggage storage.

WHAT ELSE TO DO IN THE YUCATÁN

Chichén Itzá is a marvellous wonder, but the Yucatán Peninsula is a large region with many other exciting things to see and do.

Perhaps, you would like to visit Cancun, a destination that exudes relaxation and pleasure-seeking. The city seems to jump from the page of travel brochures in a flurry of paradisal sands and glistening crystal waters.

Or perhaps you would like to visit the awe-inspiring pink lakes of Las Coloradas. Home to animals like flamingos, crocodiles, sea turtles, jaguars, and various sea birds, Las Coloradas is remarkably picturesque. You are sure to get some beautiful photographs to show your family.

If you are a food-lover, you should visit Valladolid. Not to be confused with its Spanish counterpart, this sleepy colonial town is built on top of an ancient Mayan settlement. The central plaza is full of classic Spanish-looking buildings and many wonderfully tasty traditional Maya restaurants and food stalls.

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