Court sides with 25 tour guides banned from Chichén Itzá

Tourists have begun to return to Chicén Itzá in larger numbers over the past few months. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Tourists have begun to return to Chichén Itzá in larger numbers over the past few months. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Yucatan’s third district court ruled in favor of 25 tour guides who had been repeatedly denied the ability to enter Chichén Itza for work.

The judge found that the INAH had unlawfully denied them access and ordered that they be allowed to return to work.  

Tour guides at historic sites administered by the INAH are required to be licensed and complete a series of history, culture and language examinations. Enforcement of this and other rules is extremely tight and has in the past even led to violent clashes. 

Chichén Itzá reopened to the public last September after months of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Although admittance to the archaeological site is still lower than it has been in past years, in recent months the number of visitors has steadily increased. Still, many tour guides complain that there is not enough work to go around.

Earlier: Authorities give OK to open new sections of Chichén Itzá

The question of who is allowed to enter Chichén Itzá for work purposes has been a controversial one for a long time. 

Because archaeological sites in Mexico are considered to be “the property and inheritance of the Mexican people,” there is a great deal of controversy regarding who should be allowed to generate income from them. 

Several indigenous, artisan and mercantile organizations all argue that they have a right to make a livelihood inside the archaeological site. 

Although some of the crafts being sold at Chichén Itzá are produced in nearby communities by local artisans, many others are imported wholesale from factories in China. 

There is no precise count of exactly how many people regularly work at Chichén Itzá, but as anyone who has ever been to the site can tell you, the number is at least in the hundreds.

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.