14th July 2016
Many a review, blog and comment that I have seen regarding Chichen Itza has claimed that it is not worth visiting. Some
have stated that it is too touristy, others that it has lost its soul, a few have deemed it to be too much of a
cliché. To those people, I would politely request that you remove your head from your bottom for a second as this is
one of the most beautiful places on earth. This is not just my opinion but also that of UNESCO who have declared Chichen
Itza to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Awe inspiring ruin
Personally, I dread being surrounded by thousands of tourists when I want to take in something spectacular or get to understand
a culture but it can be avoided at Chichen Itza with a tiny bit of planning. After about ten minutes of reading online,
you will be able to quickly find out that most tours arrive at the ruins after 11am. There is also a local bus that leaves
Valladolid at 7am and arrives at Chichen Itza in time for the gates to open at 8am.
Bleary eyed, we hopped on the busy bus. There were many locals going to their place of work as we stopped off in almost
every town along the way but there were only two other tourists. Once we arrived, only the other two tourists and a
couple of workers remained.
With ourselves, the two from the bus and a couple of others who had made their own way, there were only 6 or 7 people
entering at the same time and we were able to make the most of this marvel of the world while we walked from one illustrious ruin
to another. With the vendors still setting up, we had nobody to disturb us, making it easy to take in the
beauty peacefully. From the towering pyramid in the main plaza to the rectangular shaped ball court, Chichen Itza truly
is a wonder. I'm afraid that no words or pictures are enough to do it justice but the memories will forever be sketched
in my mind.
Vendors still setting up
To give some credence to my earlier statement, we observed the first plaza as we left just after midday. There were
thousands of tourists inside it with even more queuing for a ticket outside of the main gates. We were very pleased with our
choice. (Insert annoying smug face here)
Tours entering as we left
As it was still quite early by the time we left Chichen Itza, we decided to walk 1km to the nearby town of Piste.
It is interesting how many people would have never even heard of it but it is a place in which to get a feel for the Yucutan
culture. One of our favourite ways of doing this is to go into some of the local shops and the supermarkets (if they
have one) as this can give you the most realistic view of life in a town. Piste's shops are very small and
sold mainly tinned and packaged food with little fresh produce but they did have a market on the side of one of the streets to make
up for that. Although Piste isn't the most beautiful town in the world, it was worth the short trip and we were
very content on the bus back to our temporary home of Valladolid.
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