Chichen Itza

Ready for a mini history lesson?

The literal translation of “Chichen Itza” is way out in the jungle where it is sweltering “at the mouth of the well of Itza” . Did you know that it’s now one of the Seven Wonders of the World? I’m assuming that that is in part because it’s one of the most important Mayan culture archaeological sites in Mexico. And it’s absolutely amazing. Even if most of the visitors during the summer almost pass out from heat exhaustion. Or maybe that’s just me?

This is the restored side of the Pyramid of Kukulcan, which is the focal point of the ruins and is 75 feet high. The pyramid has a square base with steps (now closed to the public) that lead to the top.
This side has not been restored. The pyramid was built for astronomical purposes and during the vernal equinox (March 20) and the autumnal equinox (September 21) the sunlight bathes the western balustrade of the pyramid’s main stairway. This causes seven (isosceles triangles if you want to be precise) triangles to form imitating the body of a serpent. The body creeps downwards until it joins the huge serpent’s head carved in stone at the bottom of the stairway. See the head below? Not my head. The serpent heads.

Proof that I was there, trying to catch every square inch of shade I could find.

I believe this is the Temple of the South. But don’t hold me to it.

This is inside the Great Ball Court. See the “hoop” upon the wall? The captain of the victors team “got” to be sacrificed. Sounds like a fun game to me. No stress, right?

The walls inside the court tell a picto-story….

There are wild iguana’s all over the site. The kidlets would have LOVED this. But not the heat. I think the novelty of stone ruins would have worn off pretty quickly, too.

This is the observatory. The Mayans are known for their knowledge of astromony and because they were the first to use the numeral zero.

This was my favorite. The Group of the 1000 columns.
Oh, and just in case anyone is under the impression that Chichen Itza is a hop skip and a jump from Cancun, let me just tell you it’s not. It’s a good 3 hour drive inland. But worth every minute.
P.S. Wear your swim suit under your clothes when you visit. Or alone. That would be cooler. Then find the closest Cenote when you are done and go for a dunk. 

About Angie

Angie is a CRAFT dabbling, recipe making, WORD loving, sunshine hording, book DEVOURING, Mama to a lot! She's kind of in love with Instagram right now, so if you want her attention, go find here there. {smiling}


  1. I’d love to see that someday, it looks magnificent. I think I might pick winter though. I get enough sweltering heat here at home.

  2. Mekhismom says

    These photos are amazing. Perhaps a visit to Cancun is in my future. During the summer of course when the prices are lower and the likelihood of passing out from heat exhaustion are highest.

  3. MoziEsmΓ© says

    That tree looks really puny!

    Impressive ruins. The sacrificial stuff always gives me the shivers . . .

  4. This is so AWESOME! I live in Louisiana and it’s hot enough here. If I go on vacation it won’t be somewhere hot lol.

  5. Joe is going by himself and bringing back pictures!

    No shade and hot makes Melissa a crabby girl! I’ll be sitting on the beach waiting for him πŸ˜‰

    Cool photos!

  6. the schirano triplets says

    you take some seriously wonderful pictures! it looks like it was well worth the drive πŸ™‚

  7. Sherri - KaysvilleMomma says

    When I clicked on this post I expected to see a recipe….. What a beautiful place!!!!!

  8. I loved this place. When Dru and I went you were allowed to climb up the stairs and look inside at the top. CAn you still do it?

  9. Trooper Thorn says

    It’s hard to believe it was ever lost. It’s freaking enormous. How does anyone lose buildings that tall.

    Glad you had a great trip.

  10. mannequin says

    What a wonderful trip that must have been! Sleeping on rose petals and venturing after architectural finds..
    I had no idea that Cancun was anything like this; thanks for the pictures Angie and what about the food?
    What did you eat? Did you get sick from the food? Did you come back with any culinary inspirations?

  11. Cecily R says

    I like your literal translation!

    Fabulous pictures Angie. Color me jealous AGAIN. I think I better repent of all my vacation coveting around your site. Its not good for me.

    BUT. I’m glad you got to go on such a great trip. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloggy friend!

  12. Awesome! I remember visiting Mayan ruins and sweating to death too. Must be part of the deal. That site is very cool. Might have to hit it someday!

  13. Good N Crazy says

    We’re going to Park City in a week…

    Well that didn’t help my still Jealous problem..

    Hubby saw this as a teenager, but I’d LOVE to see it!

  14. I would love to see this. The last time we were there it was raining and blowing “Wilma”, and the time before that my family went one day before I got to Mexico. Nice eh…Looks beautiful. I’m with you on the swimming suit. I just hate the heat and I am alway looking for ways to get wet when I am that hot.

  15. Simply Stork says

    wow that does look like a wonderful place to visit…(and photograph…great job)


    ps…I’m glad I’m not the only shade dweller…(lol)

  16. …makes me happy that I’m not the captain of my soccer team….

  17. Casey's trio says

    Darn it Angie….here you go proving my point with all the factual history info. Thanks for keeping the details short and sweet. I got scared there for a minute and thought I would have to start rocking back and forth saying “la-la-la-la” so my brain wouldn’t go into overload but you did a great job of posting lots of pics in between facts! And what is up with Great Ball Court and the sacrificing of the losing team captain…crazy! Did you go for a dunk in a Cenote(what is that by the way?)

  18. I’ve always wanted to visit those ruins. I will someday! But meanwhile, I’ve enjoy my tour through your photos. Thanks!

  19. Stephanie says

    Chichen Itza? Almost sounds like a delicious chichen dish. Sorry, I always have food on the brain. Seriously, this looks super cool and the resort pics below are just amazing.

  20. Kacey Randolph says

    This place is gorgeous! My husband and I went to Mexico for our honeymoon and visited Chichen Itza. And while it is beutiful and amazing it IS SWELTERING HOT! I agree – bathing suit is a must. Great post! Great pics!

  21. That looks amazing. You are full of knowledge…did you read up before your trip??? Perhaps the blistering sun gave you an idea what it is like here in AZ? Maybe I will have to plan a trip there myself.

  22. Veggie Mom says

    These ruins are marvelous, aren’t they? We recently were in Cozumel, and went to the ruins at Tulum. Pretty remarkable–I think the Mayans knew a lot that they could teach us today!

  23. Wow..looks like you learned some serious history. Did you get to go snorkeling in Can Cun??

  24. Mark and Kiss says

    Angie! How wonderful! I love the pictures and info, makes me want to go right now. I am so glad that you had a great time! Some of it must have been breathtaking.

  25. that looks amazing. how exciting to see it in person. I have never been to mexico….
    maybe someday! Glad you didn’t pass out!

  26. I love history! Thanks for the lesson, the pics are fantastic. Other than the first one, it looks like you had the whole place to yourselves. I could do without the heat though, we have plenty of that here.

  27. Wonderful pictures!

  28. The pictures are wonderful. And thanks, for teaching me something new!

  29. oooooo! I didn’t know that was ‘near’ Cancun! So cool. I would love to go there, but is there a winter time? I don’t do heat and humidity very well either.

  30. Wow, that looks incredible. We went on our honeymoon to Cozumel and had a chance to see Playa Del Carmen, but we decided to “sleep-in”. Looking back, that was a once in a lifetime chance and we had the rest of our lives to sleep in! The dumb things you do when you’re in love. TMI? I hope not! I’m adding you to my blog bus. I love your blog! And if I haven’t thanked you personally for stopping by my page when I was featured, Thank you! See you again soon!

  31. Thank goodness for the Travel Channel.. I actually know how to pronounce that place! Beautiful pics… so lucky to have visited such a lovely place.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  32. How fun and exciting. What an adventure……love the iguanas. Kolby kept signing lizard.

  33. It looks beautiful!! I love all the history.

  34. Wow, gorgeous pictures! What a neat vacation – I’m jealous! πŸ™‚

  35. Mexico is so romantic! Glad you two lovebirds had such a wonderful time!

  36. Laurie M. says

    Wow, looks so cool! I’d love to go there someday. Maybe when it’s not so hot though.

  37. Maternal Mirth says

    Re: the hoop game … makes you grateful to live in an advanced society, huh?

    Well, then again, there are a few professional athletes that I wouldn’t mind seeing sacrificed … Michael Vick for one. Right???

  38. Stephanie says

    Rich’s family has a place about 20 min from Tulum…never been there but I have been to Chichen Itza! The last time we went we were able to go to the top of the pyramid…a very tiring climb, but amazing views.

    Great photos – reminds me that I still haven’t finished scrapbooking Chichen Itza πŸ™‚

  39. Migraine Mom says

    Those pictures are amazins…it looks so beautiful and peaceful there…we will definitely have to put that on our list of places to travel someday!

  40. i’m always amazed with ancient temples. you should come over here and visit borobudur.

  41. That looks amazing! I’ve never seen anything so impressive up close. Thanks for the lesson-now I have a new vaca to add to the list!

  42. Gunnisac Sandersons says

    wow! That is incredible, Beautiful

  43. WheresMyAngels says

    Thanks for all the pictures. what a great experience that had to be.

  44. How Fun! What a great vacation. I am so wishing we had traded places last week. Lily was watching over my shoulder, i mean elbow, pestering me for a second life saving popsicle. As if she didn’t get it in the next 5 seconds terrible things would happen. Anyway she suddenly stops pestering and in a hushed tone says”that’s where Jesus was”. Very neat. Thanks for the moment with her.:)

  45. Katy Lin :) says

    this is amazing! seeing the seven wonders is definitely on my bucket list! πŸ™‚ looks like a fantastic trip!

  46. Carrie and Troy Keiser says

    Thanks for sharing all of your great vacation pictures! I’m even more excited to be headed that direction in November! I hope my pictures turn out as good as yours! πŸ™‚

  47. Churchill says

    Amazing. Definitely looks like it was worth the trip.

  48. Are You Serious! says

    β™‘ How awesome. That would be so fun to see. maybe when it's cooler though! πŸ™‚

  49. I love that you can relax and enjoy the good life and see cool stuff. I can imagine the hear just reading about!

  50. Annette Piper says

    Superb pics! My son is currently doing a project on Mexico for school and I will have to show him your photos πŸ™‚