We left the hotel at 6.30 am and after a very quick coffee stop we arrived at Chitchen Itza at 8.30am. we meet our guide and were taken into the site.
At this time of the morning the temperature was pleasant and not too hot.
Our guided tour lasted about 2 hours and we were shown the various monuments. At Chitchen Itza you cannot walk on the structures so it was all at ground level.
The main temple was the main attraction and we heard how there are actually three pyramids in one, one on top of the other. As with other Mayan temples, the sides are orientated along the cardinal points of the compass. Also when standing by the steps, of you clap then the echo sounds like the call of the quetzal bird. The pyramid also acts as a calendar with various dates being significant!
We moved onto the largest ball park that has been discovered in central America.
Next was the priests temple and living area of the upper classes!
As with most of the sites that we have visited, much of it remains out of bounds or undiscovered. This site is 12 square km!
Our tour lasted about two hours and afterwards we had some time to explore on our own. We walked to see the sacrificial well before heading back to the bus.
Chitchen Itza is by far the most commercial of the sites that we’ve visited and there were stalls selling all the usual tatt all over the place, hundreds of sellers plying their wares. I suspect that the reason is the proximity to Cancun, about a 3 hour drive meaning that thousands of visitors come on day trips from the beach resort each day. Certainly by the time we left, the car park was full and there were lots of very large tour groups entering the site and generally getting in the way!!
We left at 11.30 and drive a short distance to a small house where a family cooked us an amazing Mayan buffet which included cochinita, the local speciality, guacamole, salad and home made juice water. The family has plans to open a small restaurant at the front of their house and host occasional tour groups to help them save.
After food we were shown where they prepare the food including a pit which is used to make cochinita and how they cook the tortillas. We also saw their pigs, and one of their daughters and her pet chicken!
We left for the final leg of our journey to Playa del Carmen. When we arrived it was very hot! Our hotel is located a few blocks back from the beach but in a convenient location. The town, as we suspected, is rather tacky and touristy and certainly no where near as clean as the other places that we’ve visited.
Or orientation walk took us around 20 minutes and then we retired to a bar on the beach for a couple of beers. Marion, Steve and Kaye joined us too.
We met the group again at 7pm for our farewell meal. Valleria took us to a bar on the beach and whilst breezy, it was still definitely warm enough to eat outside.
After the meal we wandered back and some of the group went on to the hotel while 6 of us had a nightcap and then ice cream.