The day we went on the Chichen Itza tour was my favorite, it’s the first time I’ve had the chance to see a wonder of the world up close! It was a round trip of over 200 miles from our resort, so we went on a large tour bus. We were given lunch, and our tour guide Irving was giving us information the whole way there which was great. We were taught the Mayan math system, & learned the two necessities of modern Mayan people: satellite tv & coca-cola. When we got to Chichen Itza we were given a headset so we could hear Irving, a lanyard to hold our water bottles, umbrellas if desired, & our tickets. The weather was pretty great that day so it never got too hot.
Pretty much right when we walked into the site, we were at the foot of the pyramid. We all clapped together as a group to hear the sound reverberate back down the pyramid steps at us. That was really cool, it makes a sound that is somewhat birdlike. The purpose of it was so that the whole area could hear what was said from the top. Also, when you stand a little off to the side near the corners, you can see the snake coming down from the top. During the Equinox the stairs light up in a way that the snake looks like it has scales/is moving…it was supposed to be coming down from above and into the earth to fertilize it. It was also a sign of the changing season and meant it was time to plant/harvest. The pyramid represents the solar calendar also; each stairway has 91 steps (91 x 4=364) added to the top platform is 365.
Next we went to the Temple of Warriors & the thousand columns. Here is where Irving explained that if you were born August 5th-10th, you were automatically sacrificed (different from what we were told at Tulum). In the fourth picture you can see the statue at the top of the stairs in the center…the sacrifice laid chest up on that which caused their chest to expand and then the priest would cut out their heart…which took about 4 seconds.
This is the sports arena, which is the largest found in Mesoamerica. The game is the same as at Coba, except here their bodies weren’t used to hit the ball, they had racquets. There were more players on each team, and in this case the captain of the winning team won the right to be sacrificed.
On the backside of the ball court is a jaguar throne.
We were given about an hour to explore by ourselves before we had to meet at the bus. We walked to the cenote & then walked through all the vendors selling things.
We learned a good tip on the day we went to Tulum…much of the wood used for carvings and whatnot is taken from trees that had termites in them. So you’re supposed to put whatever wood things you buy in the fridge for a couple days just in case…the cold would kill them if they were in there.
Irving recommended to go see the Observatory but because I spent a bit of time looking for souvenirs and taking more photos of the pyramid, I didn’t have enough time to explore further. I’m pretty bummed about that because there’s a whole separate area with multiple structures that I didn’t get to see.
Back at the bus, we headed off toward Valladolid. We got the deluxe tour, so a stop at a cenote & dinner in Valladolid/free time was also in store for our day. Cenote (say-note-e) meants “mouth of the monster” and it was an opening to the underworld for the Mayan and a sacred place. We went to Zaci cenote which is 350 feet deep, full of fresh water. There were even fossils embedded in the limestone around the entrance. It’s said that if you wash your face with it’s waters, 2 years will be taken off for you (and it only works once!). Well with my 30th birthday approaching, I was more than happy to do it. I was very excited afterward and much looking forward to my 28th birthday!
After this stop we were dropped off in the center of Valladolid and walked to La Casona for our buffet dinner. (PS the woman that greeted us was named Jessica) We had traditional Yucatan food which was delicious (No longer in Quintana Roo, we were in the state of Yucatan). The tamale on my plate is called the Queens Arm…it was super yummy.
It was also here that I picked up an early birthday present for myself. My birth date in Mayan with information about the calendar that day.
After dinner we walked around a little bit before we had to be back at the bus. When we got back the driver Lalo gave us Mexican sweets…one was honey with sesame seeds in it…I want to try to order some, it was pretty good. Then we headed back to our temporary home…it was a great day, I really enjoyed it.