Chichén Itzá is considered the most important archaeological zone of the Mayan World in the region. Located 149 miles from Cancun towards Merida, it extends approximately 2.5 miles from north to south, and arose at the end of the Classic period in the year 900 AD until the start of the Postclassic in 1200 AD. Rediscovered in 1842, it is not until the twentieth century that its restoration begins along with its resurgence as one of the most important and valuable sites of Mayan culture.
Chichén Itzá is undoubtedly one of the wonders of the archaeological world. Founded in 495 AD, Chichén Itzá has been meticulously restored and this incredible site, with it's columned structures and warrior images, is reminiscent of ancient Rome. The entrance to Chichén Itzá features a large visitors center and museum where you will find many of the best preserved sculptures and artifacts, on display. The ruins at Chichen Itzá are well grouped and although very large, it is fairly easy to get around and to see the most spectacular attractions. On the other hand, you could easily spend a week in Chichén Itzá and not have seen everything there is to see.
For that very reason it might be best to take a tour to visit Chichén Itzá. Many tours leave daily from Cancun. Another idea is to plan ahead, rent a car and spend one night in Mérida, a charming city about an hour and a half drive west of Chichén Itzá. You could then return the next morning, on your way back to Cancun. The archaeological zone itself is approximately a two and a half hour drive from Cancun. There are several "more than adequate" accommodations and restaurants close by.
For more information visit our Visitor's Guide to Mexico's Riviera Maya, Costa Maya and Beyond.