For so long I have heard about the ancient Mayan temples and the legendary city of Chichen Itza. I remember doing research, reading books, and drawing the incredible ruins. Finally, during our trip to Mexico we were in the Yucatan Peninsula – so close to this incredible place!
On a bright and sunny day, we drove 2 hours out to the heart of the Yucatan. Once we arrived at the site, we were anxious to go in and see all the incredible temples. As you enter the park, you are immediately surrounded by jungle! It felt as if we had walked into a ride at an amusement park – expect that it was real.
The first temple that you see is the incredible Castillo, the most famous Mayan temple in the world! The Castillo used to be a temple dedicated to the god Kukulcan and it also served as a calendar. Each of the 4 staircases have 91 steps and the total number of 364 equals the amount of days in the Mayan calendar.
It was amazing to see the Castillo from up close and it was actually smaller than I had imagined it. After taking a while to take pictures and draw the temple, we decided to walk around the rest of the site and explore the ruins.
There were many more amazing temples and they all had beautiful Mayan carvings and drawings on them. Even though I did not know much about Mayan mythology, I loved trying to decipher the carvings and guess what they might have been saying.
All over the site were friendly iguanas that loved to sunbathe on the temples and were perfect for taking pictures! We loved watching them crawl around and many of the tourists enjoyed taking pictures and following them around the site.
All throughout the site were local Mayans selling handicrafts and trinkets for the tourists. They sold many different traditional objects and crafts – even a small whistle that made a loud jaguar noise! We loved listening to the jaguar whistles as we walked around and it was funny to watch the local people scare tourists with the roars. I wish I could have bought all of the cool Mayan trinkets that they were selling!
After visiting Chichen Itza, we decided to stop by the town of Valladolid – known for the artisan shops and local handicrafts. Before exploring around the shops, we stopped at a cute cafe in the central square near the cathedral and tried some traditional Mayan dishes. I ordered a dish that came with 3 soft tacos filled with grilled pork covered in a traditional Mayan sauce – and it was delicious! I love experiencing the local dishes every place I go!
After our delicious meal, we explored around the city and saw many cute traditional shops that sold handicrafts of all kinds. Unfortunately we couldn’t buy anything because we had no space in our suitcases – but we definitely wished that we could! Nearby in the main square was the main cathedral of Valladolid – built in the 1500s and one of the oldest in all the Americas!
I enjoyed our adventure to Chichen Itza so much and was so happy to finally check off another big trip from my long bucket list – I can’t wait to come back one day and explore more of Mexico!