Chichen Itza is probably the biggest tourist attraction in the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s a series of pyramids and other buildings in the jungle, most of which were built around 600 to 900 AD.
It’s also a freaking zoo. I got there at about 8:30 in the morning (half an hour after the gates opened), so the crowds had yet to reach critical mass, but there were still a lot of people there. By the time I left (about 11:00), the place was packed. But what surprised me even more than the crowds of tourists were the crowds of people selling things to the tourists. The vendors were hawking reproduction Mayan masks, arrowheads, jaguars, fabrics, etc. There weren’t just a handful of vendors—there were hundreds. They were everywhere. This UNESCO World Heritage Site felt like Disneyland.
Was it worth visiting? Yes. The buildings and temples were all pretty darn neat, even though tourists are no longer allowed to climb on them. And the restaurant there had some of the best fajitas I’ve ever had. Plus it was fun hearing the vendors speak Mayan instead of Spanish. But it’s not a place that I have any desire to go back to.
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