Start your day trip with early morning pickup from your Playa del Carmen hotel, making sure you don’t miss the chance to be one of the first visitors of the day to explore the wonders of Chichen Itza, the ancient capital of the Mayan Empire. With essential background knowledge provided by a specialized archeologist guide just for you and your group, you’ll easily imagine how the Mayans once inhabited this city.
As you wander through the well-preserved ruins in relative peace and quiet, learn how Chichen Itza played a pivotal role in Mayan society from around 600 to 1200 AD and endured as a base of worship and pilgrimage until the Spanish landed. The Maya people of the Yucatan Peninsula today still regard Chichen Itza, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, as a sacred place.
Listen to your guide about how archeologists unearthed the abandoned site, buried over time by the jungle, and how their discoveries provided Chichen Itza with UNESCO status. With your guide’s presentation of Mayan mythology, philosophy and cosmology, gain a deep understanding of the meaning behind the stone carvings, platforms, ball courts and staircases. Then see the famous ruins with a new perspective.
Make your way through the observatory and the Temple of the Warriors. You’ll of course visit the legendary Kukulcan Pyramid, also referred to as El Castillo, a four-sided structure constructed with a keen knowledge of astronomy. Your guide will explain that during equinox on a clear day, a snake slithers down the pyramid stairs, which is actually a shadow created by the setting sun.
As you peer into the sacred cenote, your guide explains how archeologists delved into this pilgrimage site and pulled out wood, shells, cloth, jewelry and the skeletons of men and children, confirming that the natural sinkhole indeed was once used as a human sacrifice site.
Stand on one of the platforms at the colossal ball court where Mayans played sports, and have another person from your group whisper from 150 feet (46 meters) away. You’ll be surprised to hear every word. This acoustical engineering feat of the Mayans is not entirely understood even today.
After your tour, ride back to Playa del Carmen and return to your hotel mid-afternoon. With this Exclusive, your early morning visit to Chichen Itza allows you to explore the site before the crowds so you can enjoy the rest of your day on the beach.