The Wonder That Didn't "Wow"

6

When you are in Yucatán, you have to stop at Chichén Itzá, the most famous Mayan arche­o­log­i­cal site. It’s emblem­atic pyra­mid , El Castillo, is pic­tured every­where, from sou­venirs to the state’s license plates, and it has recently been named one of the new Seven Won­ders of the World.

We’ve been to Chichén Itzá three times already and I con­fessed to Feng that this time, I wasn’t so excited about vis­it­ing. Been there, done that. I mean, the pyra­mids prob­a­bly didn’t change, right?

Yet it was on our way, so we stopped. We had to.

The prob­lem with Chichén Itzá is that it is a very touris­tic place, and it had got­ten busier since the “2012 end of the world” phe­nom­e­non and its new Seven Won­ders of the World status.

We started in Piste, the vil­lage by Chichén Itzá. It was much less devel­oped and busy than I had expected and our lunch was a sim­ple and cheap place of chicken, rice, beans and tor­tilla (and pasta for Mark, spoiled by the cook!). I was actu­ally sur­prised Piste wasn´t more touris­tic but I guess the tour buses just stop right at the entrance of the ruins, where there is a restau­rant and many sou­venir shops. Too bad the vil­lage doesn´t seem to get its share of tourism dineros.

At the site, three kilo­me­tres from Piste, we were greeted by a dozen of tour buses and a long lineup to buy ticket at the entrance.

Chichén Itzá is fairly com­pact and El Castillo is right at the entrance. There, many groups of tourists and their guides were clap­ping their hands, test­ing the echo. Back in 2001, when we first vis­ited, you could actu­ally climb the pyra­mid but it is no longer allowed. And, as we dis­cov­ered, the struc­tures are actu­ally pro­tected by a fence now, so you can´t even get close.

We walked around the site but, much to our dis­may, most ruins were behind a fence and you had to fol­low the one and only path around, bor­dered by annoy­ing sou­venirs stands—“cheap, one dol­lar, one dollar!”

I mean, I know sell­ers are here to make a liv­ing but I am here to see the ruins, not to buy a “Chichén Itzá — Hard Rock Café” sou­venir t-shirt! (No, there isn´t any Hard Rock Café here… yet)

Feng and I mourned the “good old days” where they weren´t as many tourists and when you could explore the site more freely. I mean, on one side I under­stand that the site has to be pro­tected from the impact of mass tourism, but it´s just not the same when you can´t even walk around the structures.

At the end, I gave up on tak­ing pic­tures and handed my cam­era to Mark, who had a blast tak­ing shots. Yep, a fifteen-month old photographer!

We left early after­noon and drove to Val­ladolid, where we decided to stay overnight.

You can see the full set of Estación Méx­ico on Flickr.

Lunch in Piste

Lunch in Piste

Piste

Piste

Piste

Piste

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

6 Comments

  1. Your pics are awe­some despite your descrip­tion of the place! I’d love to visit one of these pyra­mids one day. It’s so dif­fer­ent to any­thing here in Europe. It looks like you’re hav­ing so much fun!

  2. Hi Zhu!

    Your pic with Mark with El Castillo behind is great! Such a beau­ti­ful laugh, and your smile too! :D

    I remem­ber going up the pyra­mid, in 2002. Glad we’ve been able to, but the look of it alone, with nobody on the stairs, is gor­geous, anyway.

    Thanks for the posts, the shots, and all!

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