A dual holiday in Cancun and Merida is an ideal holiday combo, you get the gorgeous beach holiday you’ve been dreaming of, plus a vast array of cultural experiences, all within one region of Mexico. One of my favorite things to do in Mexico is exploring the many Mayan ruins located throughout the Yucatan. Here’s Girls Getaway’s top tips for visiting Dzibilchaltun, the nearest Mayan site to Merida and Chichen Itza, a Maya Ruin accessible from either Cancun or Merida.
Top Tips for Visiting the Dzibilchaltun Ruins
1. The Temple of the Seven Dolls was the main attraction for us during our visit to Dzibilchaltun. It received its name from seven small dolls that were found in the excavation of the temple in the 1950’s. It is thought that the dolls may have been offered on the altar as sacrifices to the Mayan gods. The dolls can now be seen in the air-conditioned (bonus!) museum located on the site.
2. Remember to bring a swimsuit for a swim in the cenote after you finish touring of the ruins; this is a perfect way to cool off after a hot day exploring the site. Beware the little fish nibbling at your toes, they tickle!
Top Tip: The best time to visit would be during the fall or spring equinox (21st of the month), The House of the Dolls is aligned so that the setting sun shines directly through the doors of the temple signaling planting and harvest times for the Mayan people.
Four Tips for a Safe and Fun Girls’ Getaway to Chichen Itza
1. The star attraction of Chichen Izta is Temple of Kukulkan, also called El Castillo. Each of the large step pyramid’s four sides has 91 steps which, when added together and including the temple platform on top as the final step, makes a grand total of 365 steps. Designing the pyramid as a giant symbolic calendar shows how important measuring time and days was to the Mayan people.
The best time for travelers to visit Chichen Itza is during the spring or fall equinox, when thousands gather to witness an amazing play of light and shadow on the steps of El Castillo pyramid.
2. Be sure to drink lots of water during your visit, the site is punishingly hot from midday until late afternoon. A sun parasol or pretty straw hat is a must! Also pack a cover-up, a blistering sunburn is the last thing you’ll want to bring back from Chichen Itza.
3. Wear comfy shoes, Chichen is a big site and you’ll be covering a lot of ground, this is not the place to show off your new high heel sandals!
4. The site is stuffed to the brim with vendors, remember most of the items are made for the tourista and you won’t be getting any kind of quality handicrafts. If something does catch your eye, be sure to have pesos available, vendors onsite will not be accepting credit cards or changing currency. Be prepared to bargain!
Disclosure: As part of a sponsorship agreement with Transat Holidays, the airline asked me to talk about my favorite activities in Mexico and to explore the many benefits of a dual vacation experience in Cancun and Merida.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Transat Holidays.
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