Visiting Chichen Itza it a unique experience that if you plan correctly you will enjoy and remember for many years.
WHEN TO GO
Chichen Itza opens every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with the last entry at 4:00 pm. It doesn’t matter when you go; it’s going to be hot and crowded. Although the best months to visit Chichen are: from September to April, the timing of your visit is the most important thing to plan for. As all tour buses start arriving at 8:30 am if you can, arrive at the time Chichen Itza opens its gates (8:00 am). This way, you can begin your visit before gets crowded. If you can’t arrive early, try to arrive 90 minutes before they close. You might not be able to admire all the buildings, but it would not be as hot and crowded as it's at noon.
Another great option is to visit Chichen at night and enjoy the night light show, just beware of the mosquitoes, that’s when they feast on tourist!
WHERE TO STAY
If you are driving and want to visit Chichen first thing in the morning, avoid staying in Chichen Itza, the hotels are bad and expensive. I have found that a good place to stay is the city of Valladolid. Its 20 minutes away from the ruins and it has hotels that are cheaper and in better conditions. We have stayed at El Meson del Marques in the past; they have free parking, free breakfast, and free WIFI.
El Meson del Marques is a good place to stay if you plan to visit Chichen Itza as soon as they open. Just don’t forget to take advantage of the free breakfast as soon as the restaurants open (or skip the free breakfast), since this hotel is popular with people visiting Chichen, the restaurant gets crowded quickly!
WHAT TO WEAR
Although Chichen Itza is hot (90 F average), wearing bathing suits and shorts are not a good idea, due to the sun, wearing these types of clothes would only get you sunburns, try to wear clear clothes like cotton pants and long sleeve shirts if possible. Also, don’t forget to take a hat or an umbrella, and drink a lot of water through your visit, this will help you avoid a heat stroke.
Sunscreen is always a good idea, it doesn’t matter if you are not prone to get sunburns if there is one place you should wear it during your trip to the Riviera Maya, this is the place. Try to go with an SPF of at least 50.
There are a lot of mosquitoes in Chichen Itza, especially during raining season, avoid wearing colorful clothes (in other words, try not to look a big flower!) and use DEET-based bug repellent (we always use Repel 100 Insect Repellent). Or citronella based if visiting Eco-parks.
THINGS TO DO NEAR CHICHEN ITZA
You can enjoy an evening walk in the historic center of Valladolid and enjoy their small park and Spartan church, but the best sights are the Dzitnup and Xkeken cenotes (sink holes) that are near Chichen, they are one next to another and plan to stay at least 30 min in each one. Both of them are beautiful, and it’s hard to decide which on is the best, I recommend visiting both as the entry fee is less than $ 10 for both. The best time to visit them is around noon due to the effect the sunlight produces in these sinkholes, so plan to visit them after your visit to Chichen Itza.
Good planning makes all of the difference in a great vacation. Pre-purchasing a great audio guide will help you get more out of the attractions you visit. With research on great places to stay, must-see attractions and well-planned packing, your vacation will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started planning the perfect vacation. Chichen Itza is waiting for you.