Throughout its nearly 1,000-year history, different peoples have left their mark on the city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their stone monuments and artistic works. The fusion of Mayan construction techniques with new elements from central Mexico make Chichen-Itza one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán.
While Chichen Itza was the Mayan ruins everyone in my group was most looking forward to at the start of our trip, Palenque turned out to be our favorite.
It may sound odd, but Chichen Itza seemed a little too well restored, too clean, too touristy, whereas Palenque was still very covered up by the jungle, with far fewer tourists.
For safety reasons, tourists are no longer allowed to climb El Castillo
The Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza is 150 meters long, the largest and best preserved of the 13 ball courts discovered in Mesoamerica
The walls of the Great Ball Court are 8 meters high
Rings carved in the shapes of intertwined serpents are built high up on each of the side walls of the Great Ball Court
Members of my G Adventures group stand in front of the Templo del Hombre Barbado (Temple of the Bearded Man) located at the northern end of the Great Ball Court
During times of drought, the Mayans would perform sacrifices at this cenote, named Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote).
Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors)
El Caracol (The Snail) is believed to have been used as an observatory for astronomical events
La Iglesia (The Church) is a small temple decorated with carved masks
A parting shot of El Castillo
The Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen Itza became a World Heritage Site in 1988.
Click here for the full list of UNESCO sites Dave has visited during his travels.
Dave is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Go Backpacking and Feastio, a food blog. He's been to 65 countries and lived in Colombia and Peru. Originally from New York, Dave now calls Austin, TX home. Read the complete story of how he became a pro travel blogger.