No matter where we go in the world, we always seem to have that one day during our trip that starts before sunrise. For this trip, today was that day. Just before 5am this morning, we locked our villa’s door and made our way through the dark resort to reception for our pick up. We swapped a day of sea and sand to visit one of the world’s most famous ancient sites – Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza means “at the mouth of the well of Itza” and with over 2.6 million visitors a year, it’s now one of the most visited archaeological sites in North America. Built by the Mayan people, the Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen-Itza stands 24 metres high and is one of the new seven wonders of the ancient world, dating back to 600AD.

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Mayan cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, as referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Mayan world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.

Today, the site of Chichen Itza is the property of the federal government and many of the ruins have been restored for public viewing. It is yet another site that simply points out how “young” South Africa really is in terms of its history.

Some pics: