Breakfast in the hotel. We start our day with an authentic program: we visit the Lucas de Galves Mercado functioning more than 130 years already, where local farmers sell their fresh produce.
Here we can get an insight of the life of locals here in Mexico. After the market experience we depart to Chichen Itza, the most popular Toltec-Maya site that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1988, and part of the World’s 7 New Wonders since 2007. A New York lawyer rediscovered the city in 1842 and brought in amateur archeologists to begin restoration. Real restoration and reconstruction by the Carnegie Institute and Mexican government began in 1922, and continued for 20 years. Today, preservation of this influential Mayan city continues. Chichen Itza (chee-chehn eet-sah) means “Mouth of the well of the Itza” named for the large cenote and water source by the first settlers of the city. The first settlers of the land were the Itza’s around 400 A.D. where the city was developed as an agriculturally based society. The Sacred Cenote supplied water to the farmers and continues to be the focal point of Chichen Itza’s evolution as a central city. We will visit the Kukulkan Pyramid, the Ball Court, the Sacred Well, The Observatory and the Platform of the Skulls and will learn about the Toltec-Maya history, the empire and the religion of the era. it is believed that Chichen Itza was an important pilgrimage place for the Mayas. As we can see the architecture, it is believed that all the buildings are made out of stone and were transported by hands, not wheels. The four sides of the Kukulkan pyramid contain 365 steps in total, 91 steps per side and the final 365th step on top representing the solar year, 52 panels (for each year in the Mayan century as well as each week in the solar year) and 18 terraces (for the 18 months in the religious year). The height of the pyramid is 75 feet and is a monumental representation of the Mayan calendar.
After visiting the Archeological site, we will have an optional lunch in a local restaurant, then continue to Valladolid. Valladolid combines Mayan, Spanish and Yucateco history into one day trip. Once a sacred Mayan city, the Spanish saw some great potential in this location and decided to ‘renovate’ the city to make it more to their liking. Mayan buildings were torn down and the stones reused for the construction of Churches, a cathedral, municipal offices and more. Three wars were featured in this town, three different communities fought for control of the city. All of this happened in the last 500 years. The wars are over, but the history remains. The result of this turmoil is a day of Mexican history, culture and food housed in one location. Yup, you heard my right. A visit to Valladolid could teach you more about Mexico in one small day trip than you could ever imagine. Check in at hotel in Valladolid. Evening free.
Meal plan: Breakfast in the hotel. Optional lunch during the program.