Visiting the Mayan Ruins of Dzibilchaltún in Mexico

Updated on May 29, 2020
Chad Claeyssen profile image

Chad is an avid traveler who loves to share his tips and experiences to help others get the most out of their travels.

Me atop a Myan structure at Dzibilchaltún in Mexico
Me atop a Myan structure at Dzibilchaltún in Mexico

Dzibilchaltún is a relatively small Mayan archeological site on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It's about 45 minutes from Progreso or Merida. Although the site is smaller than Chichén Itzá or Uxmal, it was a bustling trade city during its peak between 600 and 900 AD.

Dzibilchaltún was the longest continuously inhabited Mayan city, founded sometime around 500 BC. It was still inhabited when the Spanish arrived around 1540 AD. The Spanish took over the city and built a church in the center of it.

Our tour guide showing us the Spanish church at Dzibilchaltún.
Our tour guide showing us the Spanish church at Dzibilchaltún.

Tour the Spanish Church and the Temple of the Seven Dolls

Several Mayan structures as well as the Spanish church can be explored today. One of the most interesting and popular is the Temple of the Seven Dolls. The temple got its name when seven clay figures were found in the structure during excavation. The temple was built so that the sun shines through the doors and down the main road of the city on the spring and fall equinoxes. There are also times when the moon can be seen through both doors.

People swimming in a cenote at Dzibilchaltún in Mexico
People swimming in a cenote at Dzibilchaltún in Mexico

Swim in the Dzibilchaltún Cenote

A popular and fun thing to do at Dzibilchaltún is to swim in the cenote, a sinkhole that exposed water underneath. The cenote is filled with clear blue-green water full of fish and partly covered with lily pads. One end is shallow and the other is said to be 140 feet deep.

Other cenotes have been found in the area. Many of them were filled with human remains, probably put there after human sacrifices. Our tour guide assured us that the swimming cenote at Dzibilchaltún was not used for this purpose.

Temple of the Seven Dolls at Dzibilchaltun, Mexico
Temple of the Seven Dolls at Dzibilchaltun, Mexico

Our Experience at Dzibilchaltún

We arrived in Progreso, Mexico, on a cruise ship. It's possible to book an excursion through the cruise line, but we opted to go with a local tour from Progreso. It was about half the price at $32 each for the bus ride and tour of Dzibilchaltún. It saves money, but the downside is that the cruise line won't wait for you in the event that something makes you late from a private tour like they would if it was purchased from them.

From Progreso to Dzibilchaltún

We took the free bus from the cruise dock into Progreso. The bus dropped us off at the market area. Here you can book tours to several places or just shop and people watch. There are lots of vendors in Progreso and everyone is aggressively trying hard to sell their wares, including bags, dresses, and jewelry.

Our bus ride from Progreso to Dzibilchaltún was about 40 minutes. The tour guide spoke English well and was very nice and well informed. He was actually of Mayan descent. I thought that the Mayans were completely gone. It surprised me to learn that there are still Mayan villages and many Mayan languages are still spoken.

An iguana at Dzibilchaltún in Mexico
An iguana at Dzibilchaltún in Mexico

A Guided Tour and Plenty of Time to Explore

When we arrived at Dzibilchaltún, we first had a guided tour of the site. After that we were given over an hour to swim in the cenote or explore on our own. We did a little of both. We went swimming, climbed to the top of one of the pyramid-like structures, and checked out the Temple of the Seven Dolls. Visitors to Dzibilchaltún are allowed to climb structures, something that's prohibited at larger archeological sites.

While waiting for the bus, we had a beer and looked around the gift shop. After buying a few pictures and postcards, our time at Dzibilchaltún was up. If you're into history and culture, a tour of Mayan ruins is a no-brainer. It's relatively easy, inexpensive, and short enough to check out during a cruise.

Have you been to Dzibilchaltún or other Mayan ruins? Let me know in the comments!

A
Dzibilchaltun:
Dzibilchaltún, Yuc., Mexico

get directions

B
Progreso:
Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

get directions

© 2020 Chad Claeyssen

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Chad Claeyssen profile imageAUTHOR

      Chad Claeyssen 

      6 weeks ago from Colorado

      Thanks Bill. It's pretty convenient from the port city of Progreso.

    • Chad Claeyssen profile imageAUTHOR

      Chad Claeyssen 

      6 weeks ago from Colorado

      Liz, the DIY tour was much cheaper. There are some downfalls of doing it that way. If it's a tour by the cruise line and there's a problem, the cruise line will help you out and make sure you get back to the ship or to your next destination.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      6 weeks ago from UK

      This sounds amazing. I was interested that you did a DIY tour instead of one organised by the cruise company.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Nice tour, Chad. We have not been to Dzibilchaltun, but it looks fascinating and easy to visit. If we ever find ourselves in that area of Mexico we'll be sure to check it out.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)