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Archaeological Site of Chichen Itza, Yucatan (photo via JoseIgnacioSoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
The ruins of Chichen Itzá in Mexico are widely considered among the most popular, and most important, archeological tourist draws in the world.
Now it’s going to cost visitors a little more to visit the area.
The government of the Yucatan state, where Chichén Itzá is located, has announced that effective immediately the cost to enter the hallowed zone of the ruins is increasing from 242 pesos to 480 pesos.
In U.S. dollars, that’s an increase from $12.32 to $24.43.
And that’s not sitting well with businesses that cater to tourists, especially tour companies.
A letter has been drafted from the Tourism Business Council Yucatan by its president, Jaime Solis Garza, noting that the fee increase will diminish tourism to the area and cost businesses money, especially tour companies that have already booked excursions deep into 2019.
Chichén Itzá is just a two-hour drive from the wildly popular Mexican Riviera, including Cancun and Playa del Carmen, in the adjacent state of Quintana Roo. Solís Garza said that 90 percent of visitors to Chichen Itzá are foreign, and 90 percent of those tourists visit the ruins from Quintana Roo.
Because of its proximity, an abundance of tourists take a break from the beach and spend a day traveling to Chichen Itzá and touring the Mayan ruins. Chichen Itzá was the cultural and urban hub of Mayan civilization and is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The city acted as the center of the Mayan empire. Walking through the ruins gives visitors a glimpse into what life in this thriving metropolis must have been like between 750 and 1200 A.D. when Chichen Itza was at its apex.
Perhaps the most famous structure is the Temple of Kukulkan (also known as El Castillo), a towering stepped pyramid that has considerable astronomical significance: Each side has 91 steps leading to a top platform, making the total step count 365, one for each day of the year. Twice a year, during the autumn and spring equinoxes, a shadow resembling a wavy snake creeps down the temple steps, eventually meeting up with an intricately carved snake head at the base of the stairs.
Other notable sites include the Skull Wall, the Jaguar Temple, the Temple of Warriors and the Great Ball Court.
Solis Garza said in his letter that if the increased fee is not reversed, he fears that tour operators will switch their trips to the ruins of Tulum, a half-hour less drive from Cancun and, at 75 pesos ($3.82 US), significantly less expensive.
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