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Mexico’s Chichen Itza Ruins: 6 Fascinating Facts

Updated on February 24, 2012

Chichen Itza is a Mayan Ruins site in Mexico. Due to its impressive size and convenient location only 37 minutes from the Yucatan capitol Merida and a couple of hours by bus from Cancun, Chichen Itza is the Yucatan's most popular ruins site- and it is most certainly worth a visit!

Are you planning on seeing these ruins soon? Why not wow your friends with some fun Chichen Itza trivia while you're there? Here are six fun facts about this mysterious, fantastical place.

1. Chichen Itza is a world class ruins site

Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the second-most popular archaeological site in all of Mexico.

2. Chichen Itza's temples have facilitated death- more recently than you might think!

In 2006, a woman fell to her death while climbing the ruins of El Castillo, which has since been closed to human traffic. This closure is part of a general trend throughout the site of cutting off access to the actual buildings, temples, and monuments.

3. Chichen Itza is famous for a springtime serpant

On the day of the spring equinox, the light of the sun creates a shadow effect on the Temple of Kukulcan that resembles a climbing snake. Thousands of tourists visit Chichen Itza every year to view this impressive show.

What about you?

Have you been to Chichen Itza before?

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4. Chichen Itza has some amazing acoustic features

Many sites are known for strange acoustic features, and Chichen Itza may be counted among the best of the best. A hand clap in front of El Castillo’s staircase returns an echo that supposedly resembles Quitzalcoatl’s chrip (Quitzalcoatl, for the uninformed, is the feathered serpent deity).

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beware the feathered serpant!Fun visiting fact: you will need to buy two tickets before entering. One from the state, one from the federal government!Tic tac toe, anyone?
Beware the feathered serpant!
Beware the feathered serpant!
Fun visiting fact: you will need to buy two tickets before entering. One from the state, one from the federal government!
Fun visiting fact: you will need to buy two tickets before entering. One from the state, one from the federal government!
Tic tac toe, anyone?
Tic tac toe, anyone?

5. Chichen Itza has some GREAT human sacrifice stories

It is generally understood that human sacrifices were thrown into the Cenote Sagrado (the Sacred Cenote) that provided water to the city of Chichen Itza. Legend had it that if a human sacrifice were to survive being thrown into the recessed sink hole (which is 27 meters or 89 feet below ground level), he would gain the power of prophesy.

With this in mind, the Mayapan ruler Hunac Ceel jumped into the cenote, survived, and prophesied his own ascension to power. Did he really gain the power of foresight? Maybe. He did, after all, conquer the city!

6. Chichen Itza's roadways reveal its importance

Sacbeob is the word used for the raised roads that connect different ancient Mayan cities and towns. They’re the highways of the Mayan empire, so the more there are leading from the city, the more important one may infer that the city was! Chichen Itza has nearly 100 sacbeob cris-crossing the site and extending into the surrounding jungle. That’s no small amount!

Chichen Itza:
Chichen-itza, Yucatán, Mexico

get directions

Chichen Itza is easily accessible via the federal highway- driving there is a cinch, but you can also hop on one of many chartered bus tours.


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    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Much appreciated, sccanseco! I do hope you'll find yourself traipsing through Chichen-Itza soon- and many other fascinating Mayan ruin sites!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello Simone,

      I very much enjoyed reading your hub. I found the video particularly delightful. I myself hope to make it to Merida and Chichen-Itza one day....its on the bucket list! Cheers!

    • unvrso profile image

      Jose Juan Gutierrez 

      6 years ago from Mexico City

      I have always wanted to go to Chi chen-Itza. Hopefully, I will next year. I have visited other ruins in Mexico just minutes from where I live, one of which is named Tepoztlan, and on which lies a little pyramid on top of a mountain.

      In the neighborhood where I was raised there were ruins just around the corner, unfortunately, the people don´t give it too much importance, because now they don´t exist anymore. On their place, they built a supermarket.

      Voted up and interesting!

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      7 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Interesting hub (and an interesting topic as well).

      I don't generally watch the videos, but it was cool hearing yours in the background as I read the hub and got the pronunciation. An interesting concept.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for stopping by my Video, everyone!

      Chichen Itza is quite often used in footage addressing the 2012 issue, but I haven't seen the movie, so I can't be sure, ThePracticalMommy! I wouldn't be surprised if it is. And I hope you'll get the chance to visit it someday.

      Hehee, chicken pizza... love it, Global-Chica!

      I'm glad you enjoy the Hubs, tsmog! I quite enjoy yours, too.

      Here's hoping you'll see Chichen Itza someday soon, Ruchira!

      Ooooh, thanks for the compliment, leahlefler! It means a lot from someone who creates such good Videos on HubPages- I love your work! I'm pretty glad to be living in the States in modern times, too. We have it good!

      Thanks for the share, Peggy W!

      I do hope you'll be checking it out, RickMc- it certainly is a popular destination amongst cruise ship travelers.

      Thanks drbj! Gotta love that chicken pizza indeed!

      I'm glad Chichen Itza made it to your list, cebutouristspot :D

      I'm glad you're also a fan of the place, Pamela99! It sure is fascinating.

      You're sure on top of things, RKHenry!

      Mayan ruins really do rock, BrightMeadow. Here's hoping you get to visit as many different sites as possible!

      I concur, donnaisabella! Thanks for stopping by.

      I do think you'd enjoy Chichen Itza, Outbound Dan, but you'd like the more obscure, deeper-in-the-jungle places even more! If you'd like some suggestions, just send me a message!

      Viva Mexico indeed, PaulStaley1! *YOU* should totally write a Hub on Monte Alban! I don't know anything about it, but am most intrigued now!

    • PaulStaley1 profile image


      7 years ago from With the wind---(or against it)

      Viva mexico---how about a hub about Monte Alban in Oaxaca, my favorite Mexican state and city---nice video!

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 

      7 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      Fantastic hub and a place to go on my bucket-list. Loved your illustration of busy Mayan roads with ants. I spent hours watching cutter ants in the Panamanian jungle. And by the way, pretty dead on pronunciation of Quetzalcoatl.

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Isabella Mukanda 

      7 years ago from Fort Myers

      Very interesting. And the video? Waaay too funny, I enjoyed watching it after reading because I cannot deal with the two side by side. I find that reading enhances the watching not vice versa! Thanks for sharing Simone!

    • BrightMeadow profile image


      7 years ago from a room of one's own

      Great Hub. I would LOVE to visit some of these ruins.

    • RKHenry profile image


      7 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

      Been there done that... Highly recommend it and this hub!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I visited there some years ago and I think your video is fantastic. I agree it is a wonderful place to visit.

    • cebutouristspot profile image


      7 years ago from Cebu

      This is definitely worth a visit, I will add this on the places that I should visit

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Chichen Itza is, as you so well pointed out, worth a visit. Thanks, Simone, for reminding us what a treat it is to visit that 'chicken-pizza' place.

    • RickMc profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky

      Excellent article. I've wanted to go there for a long time and didn't realize how close it is to cruise ship destinations. Will definitely have to check it out.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Simone,

      What a fantastic hub with photos plus your own video about Chichen Itza. Loved your bits of humor worked into this. Undoubtedly this will go viral. I'll do my part by sharing!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      7 years ago from Western New York

      Oh my goodness, I LOVE your videos, Simone! The ants were mighty kind to stage a pretend Mayan traffic jam - and I am certainly glad to live in modern times, when human sacrifices don't taint the water supply. Fascinating tour (and this is another place on my bucket list)!

    • Ruchira profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Interesting facts...Simone!

      Now, I gotta book tix to visit that

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      7 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Simone, I could write a hub on reading your hubs - smile, maybe? Time will tell. Always intrigued by your videos, a thundering voice for all ages connects me with youthful creativity. Fortunately today my vid card did not act up when the vid popped up. This is the first of your series I didn't have to reboot, throw pencils at the window, demanding my PC respond - LOL. One day I will get that rebuild done. Oh, thank you for the intro to dad and the fun you built into a memory causes a great, big smile - have a great day. And, thank you for everything!

    • Global-Chica profile image


      7 years ago from New York, NY

      Wow, very interesting facts about Chichen Itza and awesome pictures! I was there more than 10 years ago with my parents when we stopped at Cozumel on our cruise ship. Thanks for the fascinating facts because the only fact I seemed to remember before reading this hub about Chichen Itza is the tour guide telling us that the easiest way to remember the name is to think of "chicken pizza" :) Chicken pizza stuck in my head.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Simone, this is an awesome hub! I LOVED the video, especially the little captions that appeared now and again.

      Are these the ruins featured in the news reports in the beginning of the movie 2012? I wonder if the site will be visited more so this year than ever before due to the Mayan prophecies... I probably won't be going there this year, but someday I'd like to visit the ruins.

      Thanks for sharing your firsthand experience! :)


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