Elliott and I booked an excursion to Chichén Itzá that was offered to us through our hostel, so that’s what we did on our second and last day in Mérida. Our tour guide picked us up in a passenger van and drove us about to the Mayan ruin, passing small villages, and stopping for a carmalized pastry filled with cheese, ham and jalapeños along the way.
Even though I heard that Chichén Itzá was very touristy, I was still kind of taken aback by all of the straw hats and selfie sticks. But once we saw the pyramids, it was clear why they attract so many people from around the globe, as well as why it’s named one of the seven wonders of the world.
For an hour, our tour guide led us around Chichén Itzá, explaining the meaning behind the structures’ steps, levels, columns, adornments and engravings. Then we had an hour to explore on our own and take more photos.
After we left Chichén Itzá, our group headed to the Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote), in which the Mayans apparently sacrificed objects and people. The cenote is 150 meters deep and filled with fish that look like the placostomus that lives in my Dad’s fish tank.
Elliott and I had a blast swimming, floating and jumping into the water until we had to head back to the van after about 45 minutes. Since we wished we could’ve stayed longer, we’ll definitely have to check out another cenote during our trip.
Unfortunately, we had to pay extra to get into Chichén Itzá and the cenote, because the excursion only covered transportation to and from the hostel, the tour guide and lunch. All in all, it ended up being a $100 day total for both of us, which is quite expensive as far as Mexican expenses go, so you better believe we made sure to eat as much as we could at the lunch buffet. But we learned a valuable lesson that such excursions usually aren’t worth it and we can save more money doing it on our own!