Chichen Itza Tour from Playa del Carmen

January 14, 2020 4 Comments
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Visiting Chichen Itza had been at the top of my Mexico must-do list and I finally got to experience the Chichen Itza tour from Playa del Carmen.  Chichen Itza is one of the largest Mayan ruins and considered one of the 7 Wonders of the World. On the Chichen Itza tour, you’ll get to experience the ruins, as well as visit Ik Kil Cenote, followed by a short stop in the colonial town of Valladolid.  In this post, I’m detailing everything you need to know about the Chichen Itza tour, and how you can book it if you’re staying in Playa del Carmen. 

Chichen Itza Tour from Playa del Carmen

Chichén Itzá is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Here are a few fun Chichen Itza facts:

  • Chichen Itza means "at the mouth of the well of Itza" in the Mayan language. The name is derived from the fact that it sits on large underground freshwater cenotes, which was the main water source for the site.
  • The largest pyramid is known as the Temple of Kukulkan or "El Castillo", with a height of 79 feet and 91 steps on each side (365 in total).
  • Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico, with millions of visitors each year.

Where is Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza is located on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico near the colonial town of Valladolid.  It’s just over a 2 hour drive from Playa del Carmen or Cancun, or a 1 hour 30 minute drive from Merida.  Its location makes it an easy day trip from Playa del Carmen or other places in Riviera Maya.  

How to Book the Chichen Itza Tour from Playa del Carmen

There are many tours to visit Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen, but after some research, we decided to book the tour on Get Your Guide.  Many tours offer the same experience, and Get Your Guide had the best prices with the highest reviews.  Another similar tour option I was considering was the Xichen Tour by Xcaret.  This was an all inclusive tour but unfortunately we were not able to book last minute.

I would definitely recommend booking your Chichen Itza tour from Playa del Carmen in advance.  We decided to go last minute and had to make a few extra calls to confirm our pickup time and location.  Luckily, Get Your Guide support was extremely helpful but if you book more in advance, you’ll receive an email with all the information you need for the tour including the pickup time and location.  If your hotel is not on the pickup list, they’ll give you a specific meeting point.  We were picked up in a shuttle and then transferred to a larger charter bus with the rest of the tour goers. 

Click here for more information on the tour and to book online

How much does the Chichen Itza tour cost?

The cost of the Chichen Itza tour was $45 USD per person.  Note this does NOT include the $25 USD per person Chichen Itza tax that must be paid in cash upon pickup.  Also, if you bring a GoPro or video camera into Chichen Itza, you are required to pay an additional $45 pesos (~$2.40 USD).  Regular cameras are fine and not required to pay the tax.

What’s included in the tour:

  • Hotel or designated meeting point pickup
  • Roundtrip transportation to Chichen Itza and all tour stops
  • Bilingual tour guides
  • Chichen Itza entrance fee
  • Buffet lunch
  • Mayan Community visit and shopping
  • Ik Kil Cenote entrance fees
  • Valladolid visit

Sometimes Get Your Guide offers specials discounts and promotions.  Click here to check the price of the Chichen Itza tour on Get Your Guide now. 

Chichen Itza Tour from Playa del Carmen

Chichen Itza Tour Itinerary

  • 8:00 AM – Pickup from Hotel or Meeting Location
  • Travel to Chichen Itza (2.5 hours)
  • Full guided tour of Chichen Itza
  • Travel to Mayan Community
  • Shopping at Mayan Community
  • Buffet Lunch
  • Travel to Ik Kil Cenote
  • Swimming at Ik Kil Cenote
  • Travel to Valladolid
  • Explore Valladolid Town Square
  • Travel back to Playa del Carmen
  • 8:00 PM- Hotel Drop off
  • Total Tour Duration: Approximately 12 hours

First Stop: Chichen Itza

The first stop on the tour is the archaeological site of Chichen Itza.  Once parked, you’ll make your way through the main entrance.  I found it very interesting that the land that Chichen Itza sits on used to be owned by a wealthy Mexican family.  Due to land disputes with the Mexican government, there are less restrictions, and they have allowed vendors to sell souvenirs all over the site.  Be prepared for many vendors!

Our tour guide was actually of Mayan descent and took us all over the site, explaining in detail the various buildings including Kukulkan, the Temple of Warriors, the Observatory, and the Ball Court.  It is speculated that the acoustically designed ball court was not actually used for sport, but rather a place to sacrifice the winners to be with the gods and bring honor to their families. It was so interesting to learn about the Mayan culture and their intellectual advancements. 

We ended the tour at the main pyramid Kukulkan and were given time to take pictures.  The main pyramid is so impressive, much larger in size than I had ever expected.  Most interesting to me was the fact that the pyramid was designed so that twice a year on the Equinox (March 21 and September 21) the sun illuminates seven triangles on the side of the pyramid creating an illusion of a feathered snake descending the pyramid.

Chichen Itza Tour from Playa del Carmen

Second Stop: Mayan Community & Lunch

The second stop on the tour is visiting a Mayan Community where you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a Mayan shaman and shop for Mayan made souvenirs.  Personally, this was my least favorite part of the tour.  Most of the souvenirs seemed overpriced and not much different than what you can find in Playa del Carmen.  But that could just be because I live in Playa del Carmen and am used to seeing them all the time. 

There was, however, one unique souvenir that we purchased which was a personalized Mayan calendar reading.  You have to submit your name and birthday and after lunch, you’ll receive a personalized reading describing your Maya lunar horoscope, as well as your traits and characteristics.  Turns out my protective animal is the Jaguar, which is the fiercest of them all, and that I was destined to be a shaman.  Sounds about right! If you’re interested in astrology, it’s a neat thing to have or display in your home. The cost is $25 USD per person and you can pay with cash or credit card. 

Mayan Calendar Reading

After shopping, you’ll head to the restaurant nearby for a buffet lunch.  The food was pretty mediocre but that’s pretty much to be expected on a tour.  You’ll get to choose from a spread of salads, fruits, tacos, fish, and pasta.  Note there is an additional charge for beverages. 

Third Stop: Ik Kil Cenote

The last stop on the tour is Ik Kil Cenote.  This cenote was SO impressive and probably one of the best cenotes I’ve visited in Mexico.  It’s a deep underground cenote, with plants cascading down the center.  Once you arrive, you are required to shower first to remove any sunscreen, and then you’ll descend down many stairs to the bottom.  There are jumping ledges as well as ladders to submerge into the water.  It’s very deep so you’ll want to wear a life jacket if you don’t want to tread water.  Ik Kil Cenote has a lot of amenities including nice showers and changing rooms when you are ready to leave. 

Last Stop: Valladolid

The last stop on the tour is visiting the colonial town of Valladolid.  We only got to spend about 25 minutes here but the town square is very cute and lively, and it gave us just enough time to grab some churros or marquesitas before heading back to Playa del Carmen. 

What to Bring on the Tour

Below are a few items I would recommend bringing on the Chichen Itza tour.  It’s very hot at Chichen Itza and there’s not much shade so be prepared for the sun. If you plan to swim at Ik Kil Cenote, you’ll also want to bring swim items. 

Overall, I thought the Chichen Itza tour from Playa del Carmen was good value for your money.  It was a long day and it felt a little rushed at times, but it was still a fun, organized, and memorable experience.  I had been dying to see Chichen Itza, and now there’s one less Wonder of the World to visit!

For more Playa del Carmen tours, check out my guides to visiting the Tulum Ruins, seeing wild dolphins at Sian Ka’an, and ziplining at Cenote Zapote.  

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By vivalatravelista

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4 thoughts on “Chichen Itza Tour from Playa del Carmen”

  1. Chichen Itza has been on my bucketlist for so long and I’m always looking for new guides to make sure I know everything there is to know! Thanks for the great guide 🙂

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