Archive for June, 2010

Yucatan Postpones Chichen Itza Ticket Increase to 2012

June 27th, 2010 by ejalbright

Under pressure from the state’s tourism entrepreneur’s, Cultur, the state agency in charge of Chichen Itza, has delayed a ticket increase to 2012, the Diario de Yucatan has reported.

To pay for the $230 million (Mexican) purchase of the main archaeological zone of Chichen Itza, officials from Cultur announced it would increase ticket prices at Chichen Itza and Uxmal by more than 70 percent, but only on foreign tourists. The announcement met with widespread disapproval from various sectors:

— From the vendors who invade Chichen Itza every day to sell trinkets to tourists; they claim their business is already down 80 percent and that more than half of the 800 vendors who previously sold at Chichen Itza have now moved on to other locations such as Playa del Carmen, or the federal highway.

— From INAH, the federal agency that oversees Chichen Itza and which also collects a portion of the ticket revenue; Officials last week said it would allow no ticket increases, although it was unclear if it was speaking only about that portion that is responsible for;

— From tourist businesses, who said such an increase would be devastating, especially since admission to Chichen Itza and Uxmal have guaranteed rates through March of next year.

In a meeting closed to the press, Cultur officials met with representatives of tourism businesses, and by the end agreed to postpone the increase until January 2012. Also, the increase would be limited to 50 pesos, and not 60 as had been originally announced.

The current ticket price to enter Chichen Itza is $116 (Mexican), which is $9.16 US at today’s rates. Of that, 65 pesos goes to Cultur and 51 to INAH.

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States Seeks to Increase Chichen Itza Admission to $13.50 US

June 24th, 2010 by ejalbright

The state of Yucatan seeks to boost ticket prices at Chichen Itza to pay for the $230 million (Mexican) it plans to borrow to purchase the archaeological zone, according to the Diario de Yucatan.

Standard & Poor’s, the global company that rates credit risks of governments and corporations, has recommended to the state of Yucatan that it refrain from any more extensive borrowing. However, the state has committed by the end of September to pay Hans Thies Barbachano for property within the Chichen Itza archaeological zone and the only way to get those funds is to obtain loans.

To pay for the loans, representatives from the state of Yucatan have proposed double the portion of ticket prices that the state currently receives from Chichen Itza, Uxmal and other sites from 60 pesos to 120. When combined with what the federal government receives, this would increase overall ticket prices from $111 to $171 Mexican ($13.50 US).

This increase, however, would only be imposed upon foreign tourists.

Officials in the state of Yucatan estimate that this would return more than $100 million pesos annually from Chichen Itza alone, half of that new revenue, which would be more than enough to offset any borrowing.

At $13.50 per foreign admission, the price to enter Chichen Itza would be similar to what it costs to view the Colosseum in Rome, another “Wonder of the World,” officials said.

The proposal has been criticized by a leading tourism official in Yucatan. Manuel Valle Ojeda, president of Agencias Promotoras de Turismo de Yucatán. Wholesale tourism companies have been promised ticket prices at the current rate through March 2011, he said, so the state will have to accept tickets at the lower rate, at least through then.

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Chichen Itza Comes to Vegas in Magic Show at Hilton

June 11th, 2010 by ejalbright

Teaser campaign for “Triumph …” coming to the Las Vegas Hilton.

The ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza will be one of the settings for “Triumph …”, a magic extravaganza by LaRaf (Larry Fisher and Rafael Palacios), opening at the Las Vegas Hilton this fall.

According to Robin Leach, formerly of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and now a Vegas newspaper columnist, LaRaf promises this will not be “just another magic show.” Apparently the story behind the show is that the two magicians will be traveling back through time and one of the big production numbers will be set in Chichen Itza, complete with dancers dressed, Vegas-style, as preColumbian Maya.

The Chichen Itza setting is one of three big production numbers, according to Leach. Another will have the duo battling through the nine circles of hell (complete with fire effects) and another will be at the Columbian Exposition of Chicago in 1893, where a Tesla electric car will be “built” onstage and then float through the air before disappearing (don’t blink!).

LaRaf recently appeared on Craig Ferguson’s “Late Late Show” on CBS:

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World-Class Divers Attempt Cenote Near Chichen Itza

June 9th, 2010 by ejalbright

Last weekend the Cenote Ik Kil near Chichen Itza hosted the second event in the 2010 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Diver Gary Hunt of Great Britain won, but the real award went to the locale.

“It’s an awesome location, I think one of the best ones so far,” said diver Kent de Mond. “It’s such an unusual place.”

Unlike other locations of the six-event tournament, the Cenote Ik Kil had limited seating, so very few spectators witnessed the event as divers dropped more than 80 feet from the surface, through the cenote roof and into the cavernous waters below.

“The first dive is the main one and I thought I did okay,” said Mexico’s Fito Gutierrez. “You have to be nervous to get it right but, yes, I was a bit scared!”

For more videos and photos, visit the tournament website HERE.

Diving into the Cenote Ik Kil

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‘Amelia Earhart’ at Chichen Itza

June 6th, 2010 by ejalbright

That is, Amelia Earhart if she was reincarnated into the body of a curvaceous woman with a foreign accent. This woman apparently claims to be Earhart reborn, among other famous personages, and takes metaphysical adventures around the world.

She also met a very tall man with gray hair at Chichen. If you want to watch more, you’ll have to watch her Youtube video yourself:

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Another PAN Senator Calls for Expropriation of Chichen Itza

June 4th, 2010 by ejalbright

Another senator in the Mexican Congress is calling for the expropriation (taking) of those parts of the archaeological site of Chichen Itza that were not purchased by the state of Yucatan in late March.

Senator Blanca Judith Díaz Delgado yesterday called for INAH, the federal agency that oversees preHispanic ruins in Mexico, to take by expropriation some 500 acres surrounding the central archaeological zone of Chichen Itza. She joins Senator Hugo Laviada Molina of Yucatan who made a similar demand last week.

Both Diaz Delgado and Laviada Molina are members of the PAN party, which apparently is attempting to embarrass the rival PRI party, which currently controls Yucatan state politics and which successfully managed to buy Chichen after INAH failed in its attempt to expropriate Chichen Itza several years ago.

The property surrounding Chichen is currently owned by private individuals and by indigenous people in the area in collectives known as ejidos.


Senator Calls for Government to Take Rest of Chichen Itza

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No Chichen Itza in Yucatan Promotional Video?

June 2nd, 2010 by ejalbright

A beautiful promotional video about the state of Yucatan recently released has no sign of Chichen Itza in it anywhere. And it’s still good!

This surreal, lovely video, produced by the Spanish network Televisa, is the sixth of what will be many celebrating Mexico’s 200th anniversary as a nation (and 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution). Each short film portrays a different state.

This was produced by Pedro Torres and directed by Diego Pernia.

(A tip of the cursor to Debi Kuhn of “Debi in Merida” for bringing this to my attention)

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