Chichen Itza was once one of the largest Mayan cities. Today it is a UNESCO world heritage site and plays host to over one million visitors a year. In a worldwide poll it was voted one of the new 7 wonders of the world. On any given day Chichen Itza is packed with tourists. We went on a Monday and there was a constant stream of tourists. We hired a guide ahead of time, but it’s possible to book a guide at the entrance. From watching the other guides I could tell everyone was basically reading off the same script. Our guide made sure to stop us to take photos at his unofficial designated photo spots. At first we were kinda of like, uh why does he keep making us pose for pictures, but after reviewing them we realized he knows what he’s doing. You don’t really need to get a guide, but I think we got more from it then if we had just winged it on our own, and we had a personal photographer! Unlike other Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza is more commercialized than I expected. There are vendors inside Chichen Itza selling souvenirs.
El Castillo (the castle) is the photo most commonly found when searching for Chichen Itza online. The temple stands about 30 meters high, since 2006 it can no longer be climbed. Most everything is hands off at Chichen Itza, that’s not the case at all Mayan ruins. Coba is nearby and you can still walk the stairs of the highest temple.