Full day tour of Chichen Itza
Full day excursion in private car with English-speaking guide to the famous archaeological site of Chichen Itza (6 – 8 hours). It is not a large site and it is crowded. Nonetheless the buildings rise above the fray, impressive in their stature, beguiling in their symbolism and significance, they leave you wondering at and in awe of the Mayan civilisation.
Everything here, particularly the magnificent Pyramid of Kukulkán, was designed with the heavens, all nine of them, in mind. The Mayan astrologers were so ingenious that the temple acts as a calendar, designed with such exactitude that during the spring and autumn equinoxes the shadow of a snake, a revered animal, slithers from the top of the temple to the bottom and back again.
In another amazing trick of engineering, the 365 steps of the temple have been constructed so that when you stand in front of them and clap, the echo sounds like a quetzal, a bird venerated by Mayans. What is all the more surprising about such precision is that the shape of the pyramid is not uniform, it is in fact a trapezoid and many of the edges of the pyramid are not aligned.
The Great Ball Court is a 450 feet arena where the Mayans played the onomatopoeic pok ta pok – a game that involved two teams of seven, with the captain on each side being the only one able to score by shooting a large rubber ball through a hoop high one side of the wall. More than a game, pok ta pok was a life ritual that involved the winning captain having the ‘honour’ of being decapitated, taking him nearer to the gods.
Chichen Itza to Isla Mujeres
Depart the archeological site just as the crowds are arriving and continue on to Puerto Juarez (3 hrs) to take your ferry to Isla Mujeres.
Located just eight miles across the Bahia de Mujeres (Bay of Women) from mainland Mexico, Isla Mujeres is a 5 mile-long island of beaches, Caribbean styled villages and small charming hotels. Tales of pirates & Spanish conquerors have long been an important part of the islands history and romance. Even today you can discover the remains of original Spanish cannons lying among the natural coral reefs, caves and tropical fish. You can also enjoy a daily exploration of the island by renting a moped or golf cart, however the visit to Isla Mujeres is not complete without a stroll through the attractive cobblestone streets of the island.
You will be staying at Na Balam