Day 4: Cenote Saamal, Chichen Itza, Valladolid
We booked a full day tour in advance through Viator, which would bring us to a cenote (swimming hole), Chichen Itza, and Valladolid. We were picked up at our hotel at 7am. If you are doing this tour, I would wear comfortable clothes but pack a bag with your bathing suit, flip flops, some snacks, and towel.
Our first stop was Cenote Saamal. Cenotes are natural sinkholes that were once considered sacred by the Mayans. This cenote had locker rentals, private changing booths, mandatory life jacket rentals (for $1), a natural waterfall, and a deck to jump from if you are the adventurous type! We spent ample amount of time swimming around in the refreshing water. This was a great cenote to visit!
Our next stop would be for a traditional Mexican lunch at Cooperativa Maya Ixchel y Restaurante Yaxkin. This was an all-you-can-eat style buffet with wonderful entertainment! We were treated to a traditional Yucatan bottle dance as we enjoyed our meals.
After lunch, we were off to Chichen Itza! Chichen Itza is classified as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Founded by the Mayans around 500 AD, this site is one of the best preserved archaeological sites in existence! There is plenty to see and do here, but the most famous attraction is El Castillo. El Castillo is a pyramid that served as a temple to the god Kukulkan.
There is plenty to explore in Chichen Itza, from the Great Ball Court to the Temple of Warriors. It is amazing to visit these structures and imagine how the Mayans must have lived. One bummer though – the walkway to and from the main entrance is lined with people trying to sell you something! They ARE aggressive so be prepared! If you go with the tour linked above, you will be given a guided tour but also have free time to explore on your own.
After exploring the various areas, we were off to Valladolid. We weren’t given much time in this town, but we did have enough time to grab a fresh churro and walk the colorful streets for a bit!
After our tour bus dropped us off back at the resort, we decided to book another tour (for the next day!). Our resort helped us with the booking, but it could have easily been done online as well.