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Uncovering the best family holidays

Mexico

Finally... The Famous Mayan Chichen Itza

It was every bit as tall, every bit as beautiful as I imagined. Only we couldn't touch it or climb it and there was a tangible emptiness for being so close and yet so far. What was inside? What did it contain? Who were these people? If I wasn't fascinated before, my curiosity was piqued! 

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We met SCP5.5 (5 in the family, plus the womb baby) at Akumal when we went swimming with turtles. Becoming fast friends we made plans with them over social media to do Chichen Itza or “Chicken Pizza” as the kids like to call it.

It was ultra convenient that while SCP5.5 lived in Tulum they were doing business in Cancun and came to visit us in Playa Del Carmen, collect us in their mini-van and whisk us to Tulum for the night.

Maison Hotel Tulum

Our friends dropped us off at our chosen place for the night and we parted ways until the next day. I had flu symptoms and so did a few of their family members so we were all keen for a good rest for the big day tomorrow.

The hotel was a gorgeous little place not far from the main road. The “family room” consisted of one bedroom and a living room where the kids had a comfy sofa bed to sleep on. It was $85 for the night and good value for the area.

We went out for dinner and then were back home and in bed to prepare for the early morning.

The famous Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya civilization, in fact it was the focal point. Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site. It is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico; an estimated 1.2 million tourists visit the ruins every year. We were about to become one of them.

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Early the next morning at 7am the mini van came chugging around the corner and there they were – pregnant Mum, Dad, & the three kids. We piled into their van, making the 7-seater slightly squishy with 9 people and headed off.

My cold had not departed overnight and had indeed got worse which made the 2 hour journey not all that pleasant.

Finally we were in the parking lot and everyone tumbled out in an exhausted heap. The sun was shining, but it was still fairly early liked we had hoped and we got right into it.

There are two sets of fees at the front, so don’t forget to get both otherwise you will be turned away. I think one is local and one is federal, but I am not sure. The total price for 2 adults and 2 kids (2 & 4yrs) was $30

On our way in we passed many stalls selling shirts and goods. My husband had wanted to visit Chichen Itza forever and so we made his day by purchasing an $8 red Chichen Itza t-shirt (just remember to bargain with the merchandise sellers).

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Outside you will be inundated with offers from guides. Just tell them it is too much and head inside. The guides inside are easier to negotiate with and we ended up with a guide for $39. It can go as long or as short as you want and we ended up going briefer as the kids’ tempers also got a lot shorter in the hot sun.

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The guide was full of knowledge about the race and extinction. Although my son seemed to miss the best bits. The most important factor is that as of 2006 the pyramid is no longer climable, because of an American tourist falling to his death. Unless, of course, you are a wealthy celebrity wanting a dramatic proposal. The funny thing is Coba is taller then Chichen Itza and still climable, even my 4 year old did it! 

The ruins are fascinating and I didn’t find (at the time we were there) it too touristy or populated. We did notice when we were ready to leave about midday the crowds were arriving by the busload. 

There are lots of little shops where my daughter was in creative heaven. She helped the wood carvers, the whistle blowers, anyone and everyone.

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Valladolid

Exhausted from illness and heat we decided to head to Valladolid, the third-largest community in the state, nicknamed The Sultana of the East. It is filled with old Spanish mansions, colonial era churches and architecture and the perfect location for visiting one of the most amazing Cenotes in the area.

It wasn’t that kind to us though. We had a mediocre lunch, a small wander around the town square before the sickness and exhaustion overcame some key players and we started the 3 hour journey back to Playa. 3 out of 9 people were fairly ill so it didn’t make it for a fun, comfortable journey.

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SCP5.5 were kind enough to drop us back in Playa before returning to Tulum. It was a long day for them, but we were so glad to have met them and finally seen the great Chichen Itza.

Despite the illness and general sensitivity of sick parties we were glad to have made the journey with our new friends and experience the greatness that is the famous Chichen Itza. 

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Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Charli | Wanderlusters on
What a great family day out, but such a shame you couldn't climb it, would there have a been a stunning view from the top?
Posted by noel on
Great tour,

These monuments look like they are in great shape, love all the pics you added in the gallery, thanks for sharing.
Posted by TammyOnTheMove on
Such a shame you can't climb it anymore. The view must be amazing!
Posted by Sue Sharpe on
I didn't know that they'd stopped people climbing the monument, such a shame.
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