9. Chichen Itza: Self-Guided Tour with Audio Narration & Map
Start by downloading the app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 1.5+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Chichen Itza in 1-2 hours. Once downloaded, your tour of Chichen Itza begins at the entrance to the archaeological site. As you enter and get your first look around, the first thing you’ll see is an ancient wall that once surrounded this site. The next landmark is pretty hard to miss--it’s the awe-inspiring Temple of Kukulcán, Chichen Itza’s most famous structure. But you won’t just be admiring this step pyramid, you’ll also learn about its remarkable construction and how it was built to honor the equinox. Continuing along, you’ll come to another of the city’s most amazing sights: the Great Ball Court. Here, Mayans once played an intense, elaborate game sort of like a cross between basketball and soccer--but with a 20-pound ball! Here, you’ll learn not just about the game, but also the unusual construction of the court. Next, you’ll pass the ominously-titled Wall of Skulls, depicting the heads of sacrificial victims! Then you’ll arrive at the Platform of the Eagle and Jaguar Warriors. Here, intricate carvings and sculptures illustrate the exploits of these highly trained, fearsome warriors. After this is the Platform of Venus, which once held offerings to the stars. You’ll learn about the Mayans’ complex belief system here, how they used this platform and more. Soon, you’ll arrive at The White Road, an ancient stone road that is one of the largest and most intact of its kind in existence. This leads to the Sacred Cenote, where ancient Mayans performed human sacrifices to appease their rain god. Up next is the Temple of Warriors, an impressive, multi-tiered temple hiding a dark secret. Your route takes you next to the Hall of a Thousand Columns, where people once shared meals together, followed by the Ossuary, where the grave of a High Priest is located. Then it’s on to the Observatory. Here, you’ll discover how the Mayans viewed the heavens, and what they believed the stars told them about their future. Finally, you’ll arrive at the imposing but oddly-named Nunnery, followed closely by the Church. These two ancient structures are some of the most-photographed spots in the entire city, and for good reason! Your tour concludes here.