Was surprised to find out (when the concierge called to confirm) that pick up time was 0430! I had read "early access" as 0700. Yes, that is about the time you get there! But, it was well worth it! By the time we were leaving, it was starting to get VERY hot and there were PEOPLE everywhere. When we arrived, there were only about 5 buses. Marco is an EXCELLENT guide and Ramon (driver) got us there safe and sound. Very much enjoyed day...even if it was early!
Marco was our guide, and he is as good as all the reviews say he is. No doubt that it is not fun waking up at 4 am to catch your ride to the tour bus. However, you get to rest on the bus for a while, then Marco starts describing some of the history of the Maya. He sets the stage for truly appreciating the moment when you see the grounds. You get a nice stop to pick up some souvenirs as well as your lunch, and I recommend taking a look. The quality and prices of the souvenirs tend to be better than those you can buy at Chichen Itza. Also, you want to minimize your time shopping with the vendors when you are at Chichen Itza so you can look around the grounds, which is the whole reason you are there. Once on the grounds, Marco gives a great tour with a description of the engineering features of the buildings, especially El Castillo. Instead of just looking at everything, you get some details that I was able to find on Wikipedia, but I would have had a hard time seeing them just walking around on my own. By the way, while you are walking around, there are substantially fewer people walking around compared with when we were leaving. Since I love to take pictures, this was great for getting some shots of El Castillo and the other buildings with no people. The line to get onto the grounds was huge as we were leaving, while we waited no time to get in. I suspect it was much less frustrating than sleeping in and coming later. At any rate, we got back to the hotel early enough to relax and have some drinks. It's a 12 hour day, but you will end it with a smile and an appreciation for the intriguing Mayan Empire. Highly recommended!
The confirmation email for the tour pick up came about 24hrs before the tour. It said we would be picked up at 450am and sure enough, the bus showed up at 450am. After that, we went along to pick up a few more people from other hotels in the area. Our tour guide Marco was very informative and had a great sense of humor. It was a long drive out to Chichen Itza, but thanks to all of his anecdotes, time flew by. He also did an excellent job at switching between English/ Spanish without losing the message or sense of humor. I'm personally not a morning person and believe me, getting up so early in the morning while on vacation doesn't sound very inviting, but this excursion was worth it. We were the first tour bus there and none of my pictures have other people in them.
My bf and I booked early access to chichen itza for our thanksgiving cancun trip. Originally they said they will send out the confirmation email about meet up time 24 hours before the trip. But I did not hear from that so i wrote an email to follow up and then I received the email after that. The bus was pretty on time and our tour guide was Marco. He was the best tour guide ever. He was knowdgeble, humorous and authencitic. He gave us about 1-2 hours for sleeping and then started introducing to history of Maya in Spanish and English. I felt super educated. We had restroom break, small souvenir store trip and then chichen itza. We stayed in chichen itza almost 3 hours. Marco gave us 2 hours detailed introduction and went through all the details on the wall. We were very impressed the wisdom of Maya people and the story of the temples, walls, and “echos”. Then we had 1 hour to walk around. We left around 11:20. Yeah, it’s hard to imagine to stay there later. It was just too hot, so early access is definitely very worthy and less crowded. Overall, it was a very educational tour about Maya chichen itza. My bf and I had a blast!!! Highly recommend it.
If you are going to visit Chichen itza - do an early access tour. It really just means that you get there as soon as the attraction is open. It is an early pickup but worth it. When you get there you are a few of the tour parties there and have a great chance of getting photos of just yourself and maybe a couple of others in the photo. You give it another 1-2 hours and it is teeming with people. You can hardly move.
We loved getting to Chichen Itza early while it was cooler and not as many people. We did get up very early and it was worth. Just to help the next person we did get picked up at our hotel at 4:20 am (we stayed in the hotel zone in Cancun) in a van then made a few other stops before we got transferred to a large tour bus. Marcos our Archaeologist was so knowledge and fabulous. Our group walked around with Marcos and he talked about the history and showed us the majority of the buildings at the site. We had about 45 minutes to walk around on our own. I believe that we got back to our hotel around 3:30 pm.
While the trip started off a bit confusing, as we had to switch shuttles/busses 2x, once settled in the tour bus, all was well. Our tour guide, Freddy, was VERY knowledgeable about Mayan History and culture, and we really learned a lot. Once we arrive at Chichen Itza, Freddy stayed with us the entire time, explaining everything in detail. It was amazing!My only complaint would be that we were encouraged NOT to shop amongst the vendors on site, and wait to go to a store on the way back. Not only was the store MORE expensive, the lack of a selection of unique souvenirs , compared to onsite, left me feeling VERY regretful that I waited. A few unique items I would have loved to buy were not there, and I'll never get back again...not to mention there were a TON of employees who followed you around and watched you like hawks....very uncomfortable. Overall, though, I would highly recommend the trip-just use your own judgement when shopping!