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Chichen itza spring equinox

Toronto, Canada
7 posts
1 review
Chichen itza spring equinox

Hello, we are planning on being at chichen itza for the spring equinox. As this is something on my husband's bucket list, I want to make sure I plan it right. I checked the equinox calendar and it is March 20 for 2018. We will be there the 19th (late afternoon) and 20th. Staying at the mayaland hotel on the 19th. My questions are - when does the serpent appear? I have read different things. Sunrise, sunset, late afternoon. Is it viewable only on the 20th? I also read about a festival. What day is that as we probably would like to avoid the crowds. What are the hours the site is open during that time?

Thank you for your help.

7 replies to this topic
Cape Cod
Level Contributor
2,131 posts
1. Re: Chichen itza spring equinox

If you want to be there with the thousands of other pilgrims, the 20th is the equinox proper although the 21st should be crowded as well. The 19th less so, but if you arrive at Chichen before they close the gates to new visitors at 4, you'll see the phenomenon which occurs a few days before and a for a few days after the equinox.

Just my two cents, but it's the crowds that make the equinox what it is. Here's a video I made a few years ago of the entire day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1ySXrmPrsU

The pinnacle of the light-and-shadow serpent against the balustrade (side of the staircase) occurs around 4:30 pm.

Toronto, Canada
7 posts
1 review
2. Re: Chichen itza spring equinox

Thank you for the information. This makes the planning easier.

Tennessee
Level Contributor
17 posts
11 reviews
3. Re: Chichen itza spring equinox

My husband and i will also be there during this time (incidentally, we planned our trip and then happened upon the fact about the sun's shadow on the equinox, so that was a happy accident!). I am working on details of our trip and wondered if you could weigh in on best tour options? We will be renting a car, but my husband only wants to use it for short excursions (we will be staying in PDC). We do not want to spend a fortune, but definitely want to be there for the 4-4:30 time frame. Do you happen to know if any tours stay that late? Just in the preliminary reading i have done, it seems that most are back on the coast by 5 pm...Any info you can share would be much appreciated!! Thanks!!

Cape Cod
Level Contributor
2,131 posts
4. Re: Chichen itza spring equinox

I would look for a tour that specifically states it's going to the equinox.

Even though you didn't ask, I don't recommend driving around Playa. In fact, I would drive to Chichen from Playa before I would drive around Playa. There are highly organized gangs of thieves (stole everything out of my locked trunk last time I was there). It was pulling teeth to get the police to do a report, which I had to do to get reimbursed by my insurance.

Tennessee
Level Contributor
17 posts
11 reviews
5. Re: Chichen itza spring equinox

Thank you for your quick reply! And I actually did make the decision last night to skip the car rental. I decided based on things ppl have posted that it would not be the wisest choice, plus I realized how easily we could get around without. Thanks again!!

Newton...
4 posts
6. Re: Chichen itza spring equinox

I am also planning to go to Chichen Itza during the spring Equinox and I am concerned about tickets and arriving and not getting in because it is too full. Does anyone have a suggestion on the best time to arrive in the morning to ensure we are allowed in? And I do plan to drive to Chichen Itza from Playa. We will mostly park the car at the hotel and do not plan to leave anything in the car. This allows us the flexibility to do some other touring (I speak Spanish fluently too). Your thoughts are appreciated.

Cape Cod
Level Contributor
2,131 posts
7. Re: Chichen itza spring equinox

In 15 years of traveling to Chichen, including witnessing a half dozen or so equinoxes, there has never been an instance where you couldn't get admission, even though thousands of people fill the site. You'll get a ticket provided you arrive before 4 pm..

Hopefully you watched the video I made: https://www.youtube.com/watch…

I shot it between 1pm and 6. As you can see, there are a lot of people early but the crowds are still relatively sparse. It fills up quickly.

I've spent entire days at Chichen, from opening to closing, during the equinox. I don't recommend it because it is very hot, there is little shade, and that's a long time in the Yucatecan sun.

If you are staying at a local hotel, that is perfect. If you are staying at the Hacienda Chichen, Mayaland, or Hotel Villas Arqueológicas, even more perfect, because you will have a guaranteed place to park and the entrance to Chichen is a short walk away. If you are staying in Piste, that works, but it is a long walk to the archaeological zone. If you are staying at the Hotel Oka'an or Hotel Delores Alba, don't plan on walking because the highway is very dangerous there. The hotels have transportation.

I have never parked in the main lot during the equinox, so I don't know when it fills up. I suspect if you arrive by 1, you will get a parking space, but have no direct knowledge that's true.

The best places to sit to see the equinox do fill up quickly. It's like attending a rock concert with open seating. However, I find the experience of the equinox is the crowd, not what's going on with the monument. So being in the midst of the crowd is what I prefer.

I hope this was helpful.

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