Chichén Itzá is a large Mayan archaeological site and one of the most notible and recognized landmarks on the Yucatán. The site itself was originally a main hub of Mayan civilization and has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The focal point of the ruins is the pyramid-like El Castillo that was once used by Mayans as a temple to the god Kukulkan.

Unfortunately, because of its fame, Chichén Itzá is crawling with tourists trying to snap a picture of one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Nevertheless, the spectactular ruins are well worth it, even for the jaded traveler. I recommend visiting the site early to avoid the throngs of tour buses – additionally I highly encourage you to bring plenty of water and bug repellent.

In addition to the laarge crowds, another drawback to visiting this wonder is its distance from Cancún – about 2.5 hours – so if you’ve come south of the border for the beaches and the parties, this probably isn’t for you.

But if you want to discover the strong cultural roots of the Yucatán there’s no better place.