Chichén Itzá is an old ancient Mayan city dating back to A.D. 750 (depending on the source you read from). Above, the large pyramid structure, is the Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo).
We visited this site while visiting Mexico this past January. Despite the three-hour drive in a bus, it was beautiful to see. It's now considered one of the wonders of the world (referring to the new, modern list) - so it was a must-see while we were down there.
It was such a warm day while we walked around this site, despite feeling like we were going to pass out from the heat and sun beating down on us for hours, I guide said that we were lucky to visit on such a cool day. Whoa? What? I guess we were visiting Mexico during their 'cooler months'...if you go to this site during the hotter months - please bring lots and lots of water, a hat and umbrella for shade - I can't even imagine how hot it can get on a 'hot day'.
You are not allowed to walk on the structures anymore. Previously, this site was owned privately, and then the government purchased it and from there it went on to be a wonder of the world. My older brother got to climb the pyramid 5-7 years ago, but that is no longer allowed. Not only is it extremely steep and tourists were getting hurt, but it was also getting damaged from all the foot traffic and the rude people doing graffiti on it.
There were so many interesting carvings in the rocks - and so well preserved, considering how old they are and how long it was not as well protected.
Below is the cenote that they sacrificed young girls in. It's called accordingly, the Sacred Cenote. Archeologists have drained and explored this sink hole, and found many bones and jewelry from the victims. The Mayans believed that these cenotes were entry ways into the underworld.
Can you see the lizard on the rocks below?
And, of course since this is a tourist attraction now, all the walkways leading up to and between structures are lined with vendors. We were warned to be careful if purchasing anything there - there are no 'by-laws' for selling at this particular location, and some people have been ripped off. You just have to be careful though, there was a lot of beautiful items.
So that was one our first adventures in Mexico! It was such a long, long day (left the resort at 7am and returned at 7pm), but it was worth it to explore this important piece of archaeological history. :)