Chichen Itza Archaeological Zone



Chichen Itza is the best example of the migratory movements that happened in Mesoamerica towards the Early Post classic period. It combines traces of material culture as much in the Mayan area as in the center of Mexico particularly of Tolteca affiliation. It should also be mentioned that Chichen Itza was the capital of the ample territory in the Yucatan peninsula headed by the Mayapan league from 987 until 1200a.d.

Chichen Itza is famous worldwide for its play on light and the shadow that every equinox darkens the staircase of the main pyramid known as The Castle. As the sun goes over the horizon it illuminates the balustrade creating triangles of light and shadows that seem to be a snake descending the balustrade. This event, achieved by the correct orientation and inclination of the base, shows the high level of astronomical and architectural knowledge that the Mayans possessed and therefore has become one of the most studied cultures and regions in these subjects.

Site description

In Chichen Itza there is a large amount of architectonic groups. In total 8 groups are registered that have a formal monumental type architecture, 5 housing units associated to Sacbeob, 25 Sacbeob (raised paved roads), 2 temples next to the road, 2 cenotes (underground river) and 2 sinkholes giving a total of 257,990.62 meters squared of land that makes up what the visitor knows as the archaeological zone of Chichen Itza.

The majority of the structures are distributed above a system of levels and plazas in the central part, showing numerous changes and remodelling during its use. At the enormous terrace dominated by The Castle is the Patio of One Thousand Columns, following to the south is The Ossuary platform, The Great Plaza of Nuns and The Observatory, distributing lesser groups of monumental architecture within a 200 to 700 meter distance.


The archaeological zone is located 115km from the city of Merida, Yucatan taking the highway number 180 towards the town of Piste and then a further 2km to the area. Visitors can take public transport to get to Chichen Itza.

Services available

The government of Yucatan State through the CULTUR manages the area with parking, bathrooms, ticket offices, shops (restaurant, icecream, bookstore, arts and crafts, money exchange, bus tickets), public telephones, ATM and medical emergency services. There is also a audiovisual room which can be used.


Monday to Sunday 8am to 5pm.