Complete your stay in Playa del Carmen with a visit to Chichen Itza, the most important archaeological zone on the Yucatan Peninsula. Explore the ancient Mayan city and leave in awe after setting eyes on the extraordinary architectural feats and learning about the mythological lore.
Before Chichen Itza, stop at either the Ikil cenote . The cenotes, Mayan for 'collapsed cave,' are natural sinkholes in the limestone plateau that today offer unique swimming spots with sunlight streaming down from above. Note the lush vegetation growing all around as you make your way down the stairs to reach the cenote and admire the clear, deep water full of fish. You’ll have time to frolic in this natural wonder, so make sure to bring along your swimsuit and towel.
Then head to Chichen Itza! Inside, you’ll be separated into smaller groups for a 1.5-hour tour, during which a certified guide shares the wondrous secrets of this Mayan city.
Admire the Kukulcan Pyramid, also called El Castillo, believed to have been built based on astronomical studies. This four-sided structure contains exactly 365 steps, the number of days in the solar year. Then peer over the sacred cenote, a sinkhole Mayans viewed as a gateway to the afterlife and used as a site for sacrificial offerings.
Walk across the enormous ball court, where the Mayans held athletic events. If the reliefs covering the walls of the court provide any indication, the Mayans took their sports seriously: the sculpted murals show the victor holding the decapitated head of an unlucky member of the team that lost.
At the conclusion of the guided tour, wander the grounds of Chichen Itza at your own pace. Be sure to visit the lesser-known but still very well-preserved temples.
After exploring the site, enjoy a buffet lunch at a local restaurant that includes fresh salads, soups, rice, meat, chicken, fish, vegetables and other regional dishes (drinks at own expense). After lunch, you'll be transported back to your hotel in Playa del Carmen.