The nightly light-and-sound show at Chichén Itzá has been free since it launched two years ago. That ends Nov. 1.
Earlier this week tourism authorities in Yucatán State announced that the show will cost 434 pesos (approx. $22.50 USD) beginning Nov. 1, 2016.
This isn’t the first time that officials have said they would begin charging for the show, but this time they called a large press conference. As reported by the Diario de Yucatán, the new fee was revealed at a joint press conference of federal and state authorities.
The announcement was made by representatives from the Secretaría de Fomento Turístico (Secretariat of Tourism Development) of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History or INAH), the federal agency that oversees Chichén Itzá. They were joined by representatives from two state agencies: Patronato Cultur (the state agency known as CULTUR) and the Agencia de Administración Fiscal (Agency of Fiscal Administration).
UberTOUR, the vacation wing of the Uber car service, is offering roundtrip transportation from Mérida to Chichén Itzá for 850 pesos (slightly less than $50 US) for up to four people. If you are a first-time Uber user, you can get a discount of 150 pesos by entering the code “UBERTOURCHICHEN.”
I have yet to know anyone who has done this, but Uber’s recent launch into Mexico has been popular among expatriates living in Mérida. The convenience of ordering and paying for a car service via the Uber ap on a smartphone is winning over locals as well.
For the Chichen Itza UberTOUR (ordered through the same ap), the driver will pick you up in Mérida and drive you to the entrance of Chichén Itzá. Admission and guide fees will be the responsibility of the passengers. The driver will wait up to four hours, which is plenty of time to see ancient city
For the return trip, the passengers text or call the driver (therefore must make certain they get his or her number before leaving the car), who will meet them at the entrance for the return trip to Mérida
If a report in the Diario de Yucatan is correct, federal officials will be charging visitors to Chichén Itzá and Dzibulchaltun an extra 45 pesos ($2.50 US) on March 21, the day of the equinox.
The fee is for shooting video and, according to the Diario, will be imposed on everyone, presumably because everyone has a smart phone or similar device that can shoot video.
If the Diario is correct, the admission fee for foreigners will be the normal 232 pesos plus the camera fee for a total of 287 pesos or slightly more than $16 US.
According to the Diario, the fee violates federal law, which states the fees can only be imposed on professional photographers and videographers who will use the images for commercial purposes. Violation or not, it appears that the federal government will be collecting the additional 45 pesos on the equinox.
Ticket prices to Chichén Itzá went up Jan. 1, 2016 to 232 pesos, but thanks to the weakening peso, the entry price is less for U.S. visitors than it was a year ago.
Visitors to Chichen pay for two tickets, 65 pesos to the federal Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) and 167 pesos to the state CULTUR. The INAH fee increased 1 peso and the CULTUR fee jumped 9 pesos, according to a report in the Diario de Yucatan.
The state of Yucatan, without warning, increased entrance fees to its archaeological zones on Monday.
According to a new report in the Diario de Yucatan, a ticket to Chichén Itzá for foreign visitors now costs an additional four pesos. Thanks to the weak peso, U.S. visitors will barely feel the increase, which is the equivalent of an American quarter.
The new fee to enter Chichén is $210 Mexican (slightly less than $14 U.S.). Of that, the state of Yucatan receives $156 Mexican and the federal government $54.
For Mexican citizens and legal aliens, the fee increased two pesos from $145 to $147. Of that, the state receives 83 pesos and the federal government 64 pesos.
The ticket fee for the new Chichén Itzá light-and-sound show was slightly reduced from 206 pesos to 201 ($13.30 U.S.).
Uxmal, the other major site in Yucatan state, now costs foreign visitors $203 Mexican. Mexican citizens and legal residents are now charged $143 Mexican.
Protesters from Pisté, the town next to Chichén Itzá, blocked the entrance road into the archaeological zone one day last week.
The Maya, who represent the ejido of Pisté, are protesting what they believe is unfair distribution of proceeds from tickets and concessions at Chichén, namely that the government and businesses get it all and the local people get none.
The protesters were stopping cars and buses going into Chichén and collecting 10 pesos per head or 300 pesos per busload. They managed to collect 20,000 pesos before authorities convinced them to stop.
This issue is not resolved, although there are no specific plans announced for the “toll collecting” to resume.
If you are stopped just outside Chichén, my advice is to pay the toll. This is a non-violent protest. Also, this issue probably will be resolved and there will be no more protests.
Don’t get involved in what is a local dispute. It is illegal for non-Mexicans to participate in anything that smacks of politics. Though rare, gringos have been arrested and deported.
These type of protests happen occasionally, and this should blow over in a day or two. But if it doesn’t, I will post additional information here at americanegypt.com.
Before anyone gets too excited about this development, the announcement by the federal Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) does not mean that tourists can pay the entire ticket price with a credit card. To get into Chichen Itza requires two tickets, one purchased from INAH and one purchased from the state of Yucatan’s CULTUR.
On Feb. 1, the INAH ticket booths at the two ancient cities will accept credit cards as a form of payment, which represents 64 pesos of the admission price; the announcement, however, contains no word about what the state of Yucatan intends to do, which in 2014 charged 129 pesos to enter the site.
It took more than two years, numerous delays, and blew out the original budget of $40 million Mexican, but according to dignitaries and others that attended last night’s premiere, the new night show at Chichén Itzá is worth it.
And for now to Dec. 19 the nightly program will be free. After that there will be a separate admission, the price of which has yet to be officially announced but earlier reports put it at 198 pesos ($13.60 U.S.).
Today the state agency for tourism, CULTUR, will hold a press conference announcing details of how to get passes to the free shows.
In the movie “Field of Dreams,” the mantra was, “If you build it, they will come.”
When it comes to the nightly Chichen Itza light-and-sound show, it’s “If you build a website, is it open?”
With zero fanfare, the office of the Yucatan Secretary of Tourism Promotion (SEFOTUR) launched a website promoting the long-in-development nightly show at Chichén Itzá. Secretary of Tourism Saúl Ancona Salazar last week promised the program would launch before Dec. 19. The website does not state if the show has begun or how much it costs, but it did publish hours of operation (see below).
The website and associated media give us the best look so far of the new program, which is called “Noches de Kukulcan” (“Night of Kukulcán,” referring to the Maya’s feathered serpent god, for whom the great pyramid at Chichén Itzá is named). There is a video that contains spectacular footage from the show and behind-the-scenes footage of the show’s creation (see the top of this post).
Unlike the previous show, which consisted of colored lights flashed on the great pyramid and the nearby Temple of Warriors, this new program consists of a computer-animated story projected on the pyramid. That portion of the program is 25 minutes, according to media reports, and will be combined with a night stroll by many of the site’s monuments, as outlined by this map:
Hours of Operation
“Noches de Kukulkán” consists of two parts, a walk through the illuminated monuments of Chichén Itzá and then the animated program projected against the pyramid. The walk will run from 7 to 7:30 p.m. during the winter, and 8 to 8:30 during the summer/daylight savings time. The computer animated show will be from 7:45 to 8 p.m. during the winter, and 8:45 to 9 during the summer/daylight savings time.
The new light-and-sound show at Chichén Itzá will premiere before Dec. 19, promises Yucatán’s leading tourism official.
Secretary of State Tourism Development Saúl Ancona Salazar announced earlier this week said the state had set a “probable” premiere date for the long-delayed night show, called “Night of Kukulcan,” but declined to tell reporters what that date was, only that it would be before Dec. 19.
“We have probable date for the premiere of ‘Night of Kukulcan,'” Ancona Salazar told the Diario de Yucatan. “On Sunday we sent letters with the proposed date to members of the Tourism Ministry and INAH [the federal agency in charge of Chichen Itza].”
The popular attraction was halted more than two years ago when lightning destroyed the equipment. While the old show consisted of colored lights projected on the giant pyramid El Castillo and the nearby Temple of Warriors, this new show will consist of animated images projected onto the pyramid telling the story of the Maya.
The new show will also include a nighttime walk by several of the monuments which will be illuminated.
Before anyone rushes out and buys tickets, the premiere of the light-and-sound show has been delayed three times over the past year.