Chichén Viejo was supposed to be open to the public by now. What happened?

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Chichén Viejo remained closed to the general public after officials had announced otherwise. Photo: Courtesy 

Despite its official opening last weekend, visitors to Chichén Itzá have reported being denied access to Chichén Viejo.  

The newly restored section of Chichén Itzá runs along roughly a half mile through a recently created path. And apparently, it’s still off-limits.

It could boil down to a feud between the federal government and the owners of a hotel who argue the path runs through their property.

Another reason likely is a lack of new ticketing policies and facilities. INAH announced in 2020 that access to Chichén Viejo would require a separate ticket.

It is not true that Chichén Viejo has never been open to the public. Around 35 years ago, it was still accessible through a narrow path. 

A circular turtle platform is visible at Chichén Viejo. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Chichén Itzá does not currently have enough security guards to adequately safeguard such a large area, sources have told Yucatán Magazine. 

“Sometimes we, the guides, are also forced to serve as security, as remote parts of the Chichén Itzá National Park are much larger than most people realize, and most security is concentrated around its busiest sections,” said a source.

Earlier: Chichén Itzá adds new feather to its cap as one of the world’s 10 most Instagrammable heritage sites

The archaeological site of Chichén Itzá is large, but during antiquity, the ancient metropolis extended for several more miles in every direction, with mounds being visible in virtually every direction. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

There is also a worry that Chichén Viejo will become just as overrun with vendors as the rest of Chichén Itzá, which lends further credence to the idea that, eventually, it will have its own entrance and ticket booth.

Regardless, photos of the newly renovated section of Chichén Itzá have become plentiful on social media — so at least some tourists are being allowed in.

This would not be the first time accusations arise of authorities granting special access to some visitors, especially after hours  —  for a price, of course. 

Visitors are caught climbing Chichén Itza’s famed pyramid while the archaeological site is closed to the general public. Photo: CIOA
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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