We had camped only about 2km from Chichén Itzá, so we had plenty of time to pull down our tents and get there before it opened at 8 am. We were sat by the ticket booth eating breakfast when the first tour buses pulled up, before they actually started selling tickets. Although ruins are great at ensuring that you get kicked out on time, the ticket vendor didn’t start selling until about 8:15, strange that.
Being one of the newly listed modern wonders of the world, Chichén Itzá is hugely popular. I’d not agree that it’s the best Mayan ruin, but that doesn’t stop the hordes arriving. Having said that, during our time there, there were probably an equal number of people selling souvenirs as visitors. They’d been lining up before we arrived, and were still pouring in more than 2 hours later when we were leaving.
The carvings in the stonework were some of the best we’d seen throughout the ruins, and it is also home to the largest ball court in Mesoamerica. We nearly got to see it being played near Puerto Escondido, but I’m starting to think it won’t happen during this trip. I’m sure there is a TV documentary that has a simulation. I’ll have to find that.
It was only about 45 km to Valladolid, so even with the strong winds it still wasn’t difficult to arrive on time. We even had time to stop off at a cenote, a natural limestone cavern, although that didn’t go as smoothly as we’d hoped. The Lonely Planet mentioned it closed at 6pm, so when we got there at 4:50 we were surprised to be told that it was closing soon. Apparently it was going to close at 5pm. We bought the tickets quickly, getting our student discount, and then rushed to the cavern. When we got there, the lifeguard was telling people to leave, but having just turned up he said we could be there for 10 minutes. The cenote we were in had the roots of a tree hanging down, which would have been really cool, except the tree seemed to have died a good few years earlier.
When we got to Valladolid, we did our now normal routine of heading to the city centre, finding a policeman and asking him. He called someone on his mobile phone and then said that there was a market a few blocks away that we could camp behind. We went over there and found the open space, but a women’s exercise class was taking place. I went back to the main square to use wi-fi, while Peter stayed at the camping place. Apparently a drunk guy turned up and was being annoying, within a few minutes the police turned up and arrested him. We guess he was annoying the exercising women and one of them called.
Chichén Itzá carvings
In the cenote