Visiting one of the Wonders of the World is bound to be a memorable experience. But spending the night on-site is a truly rare and unique opportunity. Mayaland is the only hotel complex located within the Chichén Itzá Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is comprised of two sister properties. The Lodge at Chichén Itzá is the resort’s luxe offering, and provides travelers with upscale accommodations in rustic-chic bungalows. Guests of the property can also take advantage of exclusive opportunities to access and explore the surrounding ancient ruins. Here’s what we saw when we stayed.
Budget Level: Upscale ($149 to $395 per night, depending on the season)
Lodging Type: Small (40 rooms across 14 bungalows)
What You Need to Know
A stroll through Mayaland takes you through a jungle paradise. The property features gorgeous tropical landscaping, and is home to a wide range of Yucatán flora and fauna. The bungalows are made up of either two or three guest rooms, each with its own private bathroom. Rooms feature incredible attention to detail, including doors carved with Mayan motifs, stained glass windows, mahogany furniture, terracotta tilework, and thatched roofs built from local materials. Each bungalow balcony is complete with a hammock that overlooks the shared swimming pools.
Laid-back resort life and the wilds of the jungle are seamlessly intertwined at Mayaland. Palm trees sway in the tropical breeze, while exotic birds sing sweet melodies. Follow one of the canopy-covered walkways to the property’s al fresco restaurant, El Mural, where guests can enjoy Yucatán pork specialties like cochinita pibil (a traditional braised pork dish) and poc chuc (grilled pork prepared with a citrus marinade), washed down with strong margaritas. At the nearby central swimming pool and gardens, a peacock holds center court.
Who Will Love It
While nature lovers and sun worshippers will enjoy a stay at The Lodge, history buffs and those who value exclusive perks — like a private entrance to Chichén Itzá — may appreciate it the most. It’s not every day that you can sleep within the urban center of an ancient civilization and catch sunrise at colossal pyramids, like the iconic Temple of Kukulcán. Mayaland offers guests the opportunity to access the ruins before 8:00 a.m., at which point the park opens to the public and crowds of tourists begin to arrive. With their admission tickets, guests can then leave and re-enter the park through the property’s private entrance as many times as they please, thereby completely avoiding the notoriously long general admission lines the site often experiences.
Who Might Not
Those who have trouble disconnecting. The property does not offer in-room internet connection, and although complimentary wifi is available in the lobby, we found that it was down for a good chunk of our stay.
Location. The beauty of Mayaland lies in its unbeatable position smack-dab in the middle of Chichén Itzá. The front lobby has clear views of El Caracol (the Mayan observatory), and is just a 10-minute walk from the monumental Temple of Kukulcàn, which can be accessed via the property’s aforementioned private entrance.
Complimentary breakfast is included at the hotel restaurant. (Note that there are four onsite restaurants throughout Mayaland.) And, a nice bonus: locally produced handmade coconut and honey soaps can be found in each of the rooms.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Although Mayaland sits within the Chichén Itzá Archaeological Park, guests must still pay the standard $25 entrance fee to access the ruins. However, the hotel’s concierge can reserve the tickets, as well as a certified bilingual tour guide (an additional $79 for two hours) — sparing guests the hassle of organizing this on their own. Tickets for the on-site Mayan Planetarium show cost $9 per person.
How to Get a Deal
The Lodge offers tremendous value for top-rated, luxe accommodations, considering that up to four guests can stay in one room. To secure the lowest rates (which start at $149 per night), visit during Yucatán’s low season (May through October).Alternatively, if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the comforts of The Lodge, you could opt for a stay at the neighboring Mayaland Hotel & Bungalows, which offers rates as low as just $80 per night.
In the Neighborhood
While Chichén Itzá might lack swanky restaurants and bars, it certainly makes up for it in ancient ruins. If the temples of the archaeological park have you craving more Mayan culture, you’ll be pleased to find yourself less than a mile from both Balankanche, the civilization’s most famous cave sites, and Cenote Ik-Kil, a stunning sinkhole filled with mineral water that makes for a great spot to cool off and take a refreshing dip. Cenote X'toloc is located on the grounds of Mayaland, and guests can visit free of charge; however, swimming is not allowed.
Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport in Mérida is a 90-minute drive from Mayaland. For a greater selection of flights, try Cancún International Airport (which is about a two-hour drive from the property).
The Bottom Line
A stay at The Lodge at Chichén Itzá is a must for the unique experience of being able to enjoy the comforts of luxe accommodations — while also being immersed in what was the heart of the ancient Mayan civilization.