The Chichen Itza light show
Chichen Itza is great to visit for the day but did you know there is a show at night? The Chichen Itza light show will bring history alive as it illuminates the main temple. Part of the history and beliefs of the Mayas are explained during this show. You will see things like what the temple was like before it got built over and features of the main Temple of Kukulkan.
The light show is about 25 minutes long, but the ticket includes access the ruins for a self guided walking tour. You have about 45 minutes to take a self guided audio tour to the central points of the Chichen Itza. You do not have access to all of the ruins, but the main points around the central temple (pyramid).
Our video of the night show at Chichen Itza
Like everything on our website, we go to experience it so we can tell you exactly what it is like. Here is our video of the show at Chichen Itza.
How to buy tickets to the light show at Chichen Itza
If you are going to drive yourself to the area, you can purchase your tickets on the official website here. you are able to buy them at the arrival at Chichen Itza, but it is better to buy them in advance since you can choose your seats online when you buy your tickets. During the lower seasons like October, most seats are available a few days before the show date. Tickets are refundable if the conditions do not permit the show to go on.
Tours from the Riviera Maya for the Chichen Itza light show
If you don’t want to drive yourself to Chichen Itza, here are a few tours that you can book to see this show. Click the reserve now button to see all the details of the tours and what is included.
- Here is a tour coming from Cancun if you are staying there.
- Here is a tour that leaves from the Riviera Maya including Playa Del Carmen.
- If you are staying in the Merida area, this tour will take you to see the show at Chichen Itza and also a visit to a local community.
Tips for going to the show
- The parking for Chichen Itza is paid parking. It is currently about $4 USD for a car.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking around the grounds. It is not all level ground.
- You can bring a bottle of water with you, but large bags are not allowed in.
- Bug spray can be good to have since it is at night and there can be bugs.
- Arrive at the scheduled time, so you can walk around with the audio tour.
- Don’t substitute visiting Chichen Itza at night for the day. We still like the daytime because you can see more and it is a different experience.
- Charge your phone so you can use it as a flashlight for the walking tour and taking photos. No flash video or photos are allowed during the Chichen Itza light show.
- Check the times for the show because there are different hours for winter and summer. Also note that Yucatan State and Quintana Roo State are not always the same hour.
What more can you see in the area?
Of course the most likely thing you will want to see in the area is Chichen Itza. This is the major tourist attraction in the area, but there are other things worth seeing in the area.
Other cenotes to see
- Cenote Ik Kil. This is one of the most visited cenotes on the peninsula because it gets many bus groups stopping after a visit to Chichen Itza. It is beautiful but often crowded.
- Cenote Chihuan. This cenote is close to Tsukan. It is an enclosed cenote with clear water. If you are a little Closter phobic, this might not be for you.
- Tsukan Cenote. This is a newly open cenote that gives people a more authentic look at the local culture.
- Cenote Chan Dzonot. If you don’t want to deal with crowds, this cenote is more off the beaten path yet still in the area. It is a little bit of a drive into the wood but when you arrive you will find a tranquil open cenote.
800 year old cave
Balankanche Caves are an interesting place to stop if you are interested in history and culture. This is one of the touristic attractions near Chichen Itza that you can visit. The caves themselves are not that spectacular, but there is something special you can find here. The caves contain artifacts from the Maya that were used in ceremonies over 800 years ago.
Other Mayan ruins in the area
Yaxunah is a place not many people have heard about. It is a town and ruins located near Chichen Itza. These ruins are in a state of ruin and are just next to the road. If you want to go there, it is good to enter the town and ask for a local guide to show you around. It is a totally different experience than going to Chichen Itza.
The best hotels to stay in the area
Since the Chichen Itza light show is at night, you might like to stay in the area. There are two good options for hotels, one is in Valladolid and the other is the area surrounding Chichen Itza. Below are recommended hotels.
Hotels in Valladolid
Valladolid is a charming colonial city that is about 45 minutes east of Chichen Itza. Valladolid is much more charming than Piste, the town closest to the Chichen Itza area. In Valladolid you have more options for eating also. See our guide here on restaurants in Valladolid. For hotel recommendations we have a whole article here with photos the best places to stay in town.
Good places to stay close to Chichen Itza
There are not that many hotels near to Chichen Itza compared to the amount of tourists that visit everyday. Many people arrive by tour group and leave the same day. There are some roadside hotels in the area and some larger, more upscale hotels that are right next to the ruins.
- Hotel Chichen Itza. This is an older hotel in the center of Piste. It offers good value and more of a budget friendly option. Even though it is older, it has been updated. There is a pool, bar and restaurant on site. The restaurant is not the best, but it is convenient.
- Mayaland Hotel and Bungalows. This is a very popular hotel because it has a beautiful property, pool, and views of the ruins from the hotel. Some of the rooms are modern and basic but the grounds are very beautiful and there is a selection of restaurants on the property.
- The Lodge at Chichen Itza. Here you can find some romantic rooms and large gardens. This is a great place for a couple that wants a romantic location.
- Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza. This is a good hotel that has a local/Mexican feel. It is close to the ruins, but not as close as Mayaland or the Lodge at Chichen Itza.
- Hacienda Chichen Resort and Yaxkin Spa. This is perhaps the most upscale and culturally engaging hotels in the area. The main building will take you back to the charm of old world Yucatan and the time of haciendas. Enjoy the lush gardens and restaurant here.
Thank you for reading our article about the Chichen Itza light show. We hope if you go you have a great experience. Let us know if you have questions or comments below.