Chichen Itza Ruins
One of the most popular day trips for visitors to Cancun is a trip to the ruins of Chichen Itza. Busses and guided tour groups file in and out of the site all day long. That's what has made Chichen Itza so famous . . . location. In this case, proximity to Cancun (about 2 hours away).
Chichen Itza is the largest, most complete set of ruins with easy striking distance of Cancun. . . and that has been true throughout the history of Chichen Itza. As the saying, "all roads lead to Rome" is still heard . . . the same was once said for mighty Chichen Itza. Straight limestone roads which were a great feat of engineering can still be detected which linked Chichen Itza like spokes to every major city in the Yucatan. Most experts agree that Chichen Itza was not only a great city, but the head of an empire that once covered the region.
Today, the pyramid known as the Castillo may actually be the most popular icon of all the ruins in Mexico. The facades and construction of el Castillo are ripe with cosmological symbolism. This includes 365 steps to represent the solar year, 18 terraces to represent the months in the Mayan calendar, and 52 panels to represent the Mayan century. Then there is the famous shadow of the serpent which makes its way down the steps during the Fall and Spring Equinox.
Chichen Itza has a few more things to take note of like the largest ball court found yet, an observatory, the nunnery, the temple of warriors and a cenote.
Plan on around $65 for a day trip and bring extra cash to buy some souvenirs. You will find artesians on site selling their wares, and a mayan mask (or other item) will cost a fraction of what you would pay for the same thing in Cancun. So if you are going to buy a cool gift in Mexico, plan on doing it here and give the money directly to the people who make the items.