180208-Not Actually a Castle

While a slightly slower start this morning than planned, we still caught the 8:15 am bus to Chichén Itzá. I noticed a bicycle trail that followed the bus a good part of the way there.

I stumbled over the complexities of paying for the entrance to Chichén Itzá with a credit card (where we had to pay twice-once to the park and once to the state). Our early arrival meant missing some of the crowds. Many of the vendors (and there were a LOT of vendors) were still setting up when we arrived.

After viewing the main temple (referred to as “The Castle”), Marnie and I decided to each explore the park at our own pace, arranging to meet up later. I’d downloaded an audio guide and map, and wandered off to Marnie still taking photos of the main temple.

I learned from my audio guide that it’s no longer the Chichén Itzá some might remember. In 2006-2007 a number of things changed. Someone died by falling from the main temple. They permitted vendors on site. The site was declared a World Heritage site. All of that prompted them to close off physical access to most of the buildings. The price also doubled.

After wandering through the park, I met up with Marnie, and we wandered to a part of the city she hadn’t located yet. On our way back we haggled with some of the vendors for t-shirts. My audio guide had commented that many people complain about the overwhelming vendor presence (where you can buy amazing things for just $1), but the guide also suggested that the best way to view the bustle and noise is as a recreation of the city of old.

On leaving I realized that I wasn’t certain how we were getting back to Valladolid. We had a round-trip ticket on the city bus, but the parking lot was now awash with buses from various companies. We bumped into David and Cindy. They had taken the same bus, but their ticket agent had noted the return times on their ticket. We chatted with them while we waited. Both are avid travelers, and have even cycled in Ireland!

Cindy had recommended the Convent of San Bernardino of Siena, built in Valladolid in the 15th Century. It was in the opposite direction from the hostel. Marnie, still recovering, decided to return to the hostel. I wandered through the convent before grabbing lunch and eventually returning to the hostel.

Marnie and I ended the day by wandering about the inner city, and eating at a hostel-recommended restaurant.

An early start tomorrow, catching a bus to Ek’ Balam before catching another our day’s destination of Tulum.


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