New Museum in Chichén Itzá Promises to Dazzle Visitors

After years in the making, Chichén Itzá’s new museum is finally ready for its debut. Photo: Courtesy

Chichén Itzá’s new museum, just next to the main archaeological site, opens Friday, March 1.

An official press release did not say whether or not entrance to the museum is included in Chichén Itzás’s already steep admission cost, which already exceeds 600 pesos. 

The Pyramid of Kukulkán, or El Castillo, is Chichén Itzá’s most iconic structure but is only the tip of the iceberg regarding this impressive site. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The museum features nearly 1,000 original artifacts, many of which have never been seen before by the public. 

Chac Mool figures, rain god masks, and stelae are displayed at Chichén Itzá’s new museum. Photo: Courtesy

Several of these never-before-seen artifacts were uncovered during both excavations at Chichén Viejo, a recently opened section of Chichén Itzá, and the construction of the Tren Maya

The museum also features scale replicas of many of Chichén Itzá’s most famous structures, including the Pyramid of Kukulkán, as well as the famous red jaguar throne, which lay in its interior and has now been off limits for well over a decade. 

For over a decade now the only way to see the jade-studded jaguar throne housed inside the Pyramid of Kukulcán has been through photographs. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Video: How to avoid scams, hazards and getting kicked out at Chichén Itzá 

“This is truly a monumental step for archaeology in México and a wonderful tribute to our country’s rich cultural heritage,” said INAH director Diego Prieto Hernández.

The museum covers nearly 30,000 square feet and is equipped with a visitor’s center and state-of-the-art museography, which includes exhibits and headphones for virtual guided visits.

Still under construction is Chichén Itzá’s new visitors’ center, as conflicts between the federal government and local artisans unhappy with being denied access have caused major setbacks. 

Also beginning operations on the same day is the Tren Maya station serving Chichén Itzá in the community of Pisté. But as the Tren Maya station is a handful of miles from the archaeological site, shuttles will run passengers between the station and the entrance to Chichén Itzá and its new museum. 

Though Chichén Itzá’s Tren Maya station is scheduled to open on March 1, a few kinks are yet to be sorted out. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The ancient city of Chichén Itza is also the engine of Yucatán’s tourism industry, bringing in an average of a million-plus visitors yearly over the past couple of decades and more than 2.4 million tourists in 2023 alone. 

Chichén Itzá is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World from a selection of over 200 sites voted on by people worldwide. 

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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