One look at the giant buses in Cancun and we knew instantly that we would be road-tripping to Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is a complex of Mayan ruins, one of the seven world wonders, and a 2-hour drive from our Airbnb in Cancun.
First of all, if you want to sit in an air-conditioned bus, relax for a 2-hour drive, and have everything paid for then, by all means, do the tour. I won’t judge.
But I’m a girl that loves a bit of adventure. So we opted for a rental car and a quick 2-hour drive, through a country where we barely speak the language, on a half tank of gas where gas stations are nowhere in sight, oh did I mention the toll that we had no idea existed? LAWD. (Sorry, Mom.) It was worth it!
In all honesty, the drive down was the best part of our trip. I rode down with travel bae and a friend, we enjoyed some music, chatted it up, and ate Mexican road trip snacks. (Mexican Doritos are the best!) There’s just something special about taking your travels literally into your own hands, having your own car, and controlling your own timeline that I love.
Before we knew it we arrived at the famed Mayan ruin. I was in no way prepared for the magnitude of Chichen Itza. I have seen it on TV or in photos but I never understood the scale of this giant step pyramid. What was more shocking was how well preserved and geometrically on point it is. I couldn’t believe this was constructed at least 1000 years ago.
Furthermore, there’s more to this Mayan ruin than just the pyramid. There are other ritual sites and village-like structures all well maintained. It’s nice not to be shoveled around in a tour group with a guide or have a deadline to be back at a bus. Getting to wander and enjoy everything at our own pace made this trip that much better.
The street vendors definitely caught me off-guard. Throughout the Mayan ruin, there are street vendors that sell their wares. They either sell hand wood carved wall hanging, items made out of fish bone, or clothing. I even grab a few items after a bit of haggling.
The hard sale from salesmen can be a bit off-putting if you’re not used to it. And yet, it has started to become comedic for me. There are few things as entertaining as a salesman with broken English yelling at you chicken pizza! Presumably making fun of Americans who can’t pronounce Chichen Itza. America strikes again.
Anyway, we hopped back into our car and made the drive back to Cancun. Notably less talkative. No one told us Chichen Itza’s weather is somewhere between the surface of the sun and Hell itself. Consequently, We were worn out after the visit.
In conclusion, it was definitely a road trip for the memory books. Not to mention, this makes number three of the seven World Wonders I’ve knocked off the list. I’m attempting to knock off all seven by 2022. At this rate maybe I can do it!