Is World Heritage Site “Chichen Itza” Worth a Visit? | Mexico

During our roadtrip in the Yucatan peninsula, we saw some beautiful things, interesting things and not so…interesting things. Not as much as we expected at least.

I’m gonna be honest from the start. I was not impressed by Chichen Itza. My boyfriend and his uncle weren’t impressed either.

This will be a very short post as I simply don’t have a lot to say about it but listen up;

Have you seen the pyramids in Egypt or have you seen several other Mesoamerican pyramids? Chances are you won’t be that impressed by Chichen Itza.

I’ve been to 4 other pyramids before I visited Chichen Itza. All 4 of them in Mexico;

  1. Teotihuacán (Mexico State)
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Teotihuacan, in the State of Mexico, surrounded by mountains and a desert-ish landscape

2. Toniná (Chiapas)

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Tonina, in the heart of the jungle in Chiapas

3. Monte Albán (Oaxaca)

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Monte Alban, on the top of one of the mountains around the city of Oaxaca. Needless to say you’ve got an amazing view up there.

4. Tulum Ruins

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The Tulum ruins itself weren’t that impressive but the location looks like heaven.

I was so impressed by those, I could’ve spend hours there. They were also very cheap to visit (around €2) and there were never too many tourists. In Tonina we were even the only ones. Something else which is very important is that the surroundings of those pyramids are very beautiful.

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Chichen Itza, however, was a little different. Full full full of tourists, very expensive compared to the other ones (€12 if I remember well) and the surroundings weren’t beautiful at all. It was also full of people who try to sell you stuff of which they claim it’s handmade but if you look well, you’ll see a “Made in China”-stamp on it. Here and there I saw some interesting things though, the majority just wasn’t… even the big main pyramid wasn’t special.

Why did they make a World Heritage site out of Chichen Itza? Maybe because it’s in Yucatan where it’s ALWAYS full of tourists so they are sure that many people will go there and consequently they’ll earn a lot of money? Wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case sorry for being rude here.

Chichen Itza is a special place and it’s very important to preserve places like this but everyone we met before we went there was so positive about it, therefore our expectations were too high and when we finally got there, we got disappointed.

However, if you’ve never seen any kind of pyramid before in your life, then Chichen Itza will probably impress you! So try to visit that one before you visit any other pyramids!

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16 comments

  1. […] Eerste stop was Mérida. Wat een mooie, aangename én Mexicaanse stad! Ik wou dat ik er wat meer rond gedoold had maar daar was simpelweg geen tijd voor vanwege het hyperactieve familielid die ons constant meenam op tours. De eerste tour; Chichen Itza en een cenote. Ik ga hier geen woorden aan vuil maken, lees gewoon mijn Chichen Itza post; Is Chichen Itza Terecht een Wereld Wonder? […]

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  2. I don´t know why people like it so much. I haven´t been to too many sites in Mexico unfortunately, but I absolutely preferred Palenque to Chichen Itza. Not that I wouldn´t like the ruins, but I felt it was expensive (plus they didn´t even include an information leaflet or a map in the price) and there were no information boards, basically forcing you to pay for a guided tour. I have some background about the region’s history so I didn´t really need that but I´d still have liked more information provided. There were tourists in Palenque too, but there was a lot more information provided and it was far less crowded. There were sellers too, but not so annoying. All in all, I agree with you.

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    • I totally agree. I haven’t been to Palenque (shame on me) yet but it looks a lot more magical than Chichen Itza. Yeah… they charge a lot for the entrance and then you basically have to pay for a guide too and for other additional information… If you ever come back to Mexico; make sure to visit Teotihuacan near Mexico City and Monte Alban in Oaxaca; both easily accessible and so worth it!

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      • I totally want to come back to Mexico and spend more time there 🙂 Thanks for the tips, I´ve been to Oaxaca but didn´t know about Monte Alban!

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    • I agree. The Tulum ruins itself weren’t impressive but the location was amazing so that made up for it! That’s also why I put the Tulum ruins in the list of ruins that impressed me; because the location is hands down AMAZING.

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  3. I’ve never been to Mexico or seen any pyramids, but it’s sad to hear you were disappointed! I guess it’s an indicator for the importance to go off the beaten track when you travel 🙂

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  4. Chichen Itza was my first pyramid, so I was very impressed with it! I was there in the late afternoon so there were not that many tourists. I do agree that there are too many vendors there though. Lots of people shouting “Sombrero? Almost free, almost free!” and making strange sounds with whistles. I heard that it is at risk of losing its status as one of the 7 Wonders because of all the vendors.

    I would love to check out the other pyramids in your photos!

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    • Ohh, you were lucky that Chichen Itza was your first pyramid. It would definitely have impressed me to if it was my first one. Interesting to know that there are fewer tourists in the late afternoon. Really?? I’ll Google that, I need to know more about this. Thanks for letting me know!
      If you ever make it to Mexico again, check some of the others in my list out, you will have an amazing experience, I can promise you that!

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  5. I hate when that happens! I felt that way when I explored Germany for a bit. I was just so underwhelmed! It really is exactly how you said it… Sometimes we go into it with such high expectations and then the actual thing just lies flat (if that makes sense?)

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    • Makes a lot of sense! And I agree, it’s really annoying when that happens. I had the same thing with Berlin; it’s very diverse and there’s something for everybody but I was so disappointed in how the city looked like, I found it very ugly haha.

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  6. I climbed ONE pyramid and loved it. I’d love to go back to see FAR more than one of them, but this was also a lot more remote, so we were the only ones there. 🙂 Maybe depends on where you go! This was in Bealize.

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    • Ohh, climbing a pyramid when you’re the only ones there is an amazing experience! If you ever come to Mexico (maybe you’ve already been there, I don’t know) definitely visit the pyramids in Mexico State, Oaxaca and Chiapas!

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