El Castillo

The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are the second most popular ruins in Mexico, second only behind Teotihuacan. Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatán peninsula, meaning it can be easily visited as a day trip from Cancun. The Temple of Kukulcan, commonly referred to as El Castillo (the castle), stands out as the most impressive of the many structures located at Chichen Itza. The step pyramid is nearly 100 feet tall and at the spring and autumn equinoxes, if the sun is shining, its light hits the pyramid so that the shadows result in the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase of the pyramid. How cool is that? Chichen Itza is a very impressive site and a great way to add a little culture to a vacation to the Yucatán peninsula. Compared to other ruins in the region, a lot of the jungle around the ruins has been cleared, which can be a positive in that it gives you a better view of the ruins but is also a negative in that it takes away from the feel of the ruins a little. Regardless, Chichen Itza is a great place to visit and a trip to the ruins can easily be combined with a visit to a nearby cenote, like Cenote Ik Kil.

Step pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico.