When I first heard that you could stay right next to the Chichen Itza Complex at the Mayaland Hotel, I thought it would be one of those extremely expensive stays costing well over $500 a night. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that it was in fact a fairly reasonably priced hotel, and decided that it was something that we had to do!
We spent one night in a Superior Room, which consisted of 2 (very comfortable) double beds. It also had air conditioning, which was an absolute must have for us. We also had a balcony overlooking the jungle, which was perfect for listening to the birds in the morning and evening. Personally, the star of the show was the jacuzzi bathtub with a view of the jungle. This was the perfect way to unwind and soothe your sore legs after a full day of walking around.
There are two restaurants in the hotel. One is La Palapas, which is the a la carte restaurant that is also where the breakfast is served. We also had a relaxed candle light dinner here. They had a couple of vegetarian options and the atmosphere was lovely. However, the service was on the slower side, so I would find somewhere else nearby if you are in a hurry. The second restaurant serves a buffet lunch. If you are staying at the hotel, be aware that a lot of tour groups bring people here for the buffet, so it can get extremely crowded. However, they have food from a variety of cuisines, as well as plenty of vegetarian options along with quick service. I highly recommend!
The most obvious thing to do is to explore the Chichen Itza temple complex! The entrance is less than a 5 minute walk away, and it is very easy to purchase your tickets here. I recommend visiting in the early morning or the late afternoon to avoid the hoards of tour buses. It is also worth getting a tour guide, as you will have someone point out the interesting carvings, explain the history behind these amazing structures as well as answer any burning questions you have.
Other attractions nearby include Cenote Ik-kil, the city of Valladolid and the Balankanche caves. If you prefer to explore on your own, I would recommend hiring a car from Cancun and driving to Chichen Itza and the surrounding region. However, if like us you would rather leave the driving to someone else, the staff at the front desk are more than happy to arrange any tours for you.
Also read: A beginners guide to visiting cenotes.
A visit to the planetarium is a must do, as it gives a lot of context about your visit to Chichen Itza. As an astronomer, I was slightly sceptical about how much I would actually learn from the show, but it ended up being very informative about the Mayan lore and beliefs. For example, did you know that the Mayans thought that the constellation Orion was a sea turtle carrying 3 gemstones on its back?
Gardens and other facilities:
The Mayaland hotel has large ground full of beautiful trees and flowers, and also their very own botanical garden. In fact, the grounds are large enough that you can get a horseback tour of the gardens. If you don’t want a full tour, it is also very pleasant to walk around, explore and find a comfortable spot to sit down and read a book for a while. Also take a moment to admire the peacocks and iguanas around the gardens.
There are also multiple pools that you can take advantage of, and a spa on site with various massages and treatments for more serious relaxation. Most of the time when we travel, we pick hotels based on their location more than any facilities they offer. There seemed little point in staying in a fancy hotel when we spent most of our time exploring anyway. But this time, we wanted to relax on the trip and actually spent our time enjoying the beautiful gardens and pools, and I am glad we did! Would you like to stay at the Mayaland Hotel?
First time visiting Mexico? Read my tips for first time visitors here.
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