Chichen Itza is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. While it remains a favorite place to visit as a day trip from Cancún and the Riviera Maya, not many people know about the amazing light show offered at night. Here’s our complete guide to Noches de Kukulkan.
What is Noches de Kukulkan?
While Chichen Itza closes for day visits in the late afternoon, the site reopens in the evening for an event known as Noches de Kulkukan. At night, the pyramids are illuminated and a really cool light show is projected on the main pyramid – Pirámide de Kukulkan (also known as El Castillo).
Tickets for this event are sold separately from the day visit entrance. As there is reserved seating for the light show, you can book your tickets online to get the best seat selection.
TIP: The seats are not centered on the pyramid, so don’t seat in the center. Instead, choose seats closer to the right hand side to have a better view.
Bring a print out of your tickets and show them at the ticket window to gain entrance. You can also get your tickets at the door if you don’t book ahead. Credit cards are accepted.
As of February 2019, entrance fee is $510 MXN from Tuesday to Saturday and $250 MXN on Sundays.
An audio guide is included in the ticket price. Pick up your iPod in the desk across the ticket booth. A picture ID is required as a deposit. Bring your headphones – most people don’t and they miss out on the commentary. Also, the main light show is played on loudspeakers in Spanish. Simultaneous transmission in different languages is provided through the iPod.
When to go
The event is held from Tuesday to Sunday (no show on Monday). Looking at the online calendar, it seems that it runs year long, but you should confirm dates prior to your visit.
The doors open at different times during the summer and winter, so confirm the timings before your visit. Try to be there at least 15 mins before opening time so you can pick up your audio guide.
What to expect
The evening is divided in 2 parts: the self-guided tour and the light show .
First, you have about 45 min to walk around the site, enough to listen to the commentary in your audio guide. The only areas not open are the Cenote Sagrado and the Observatory area. It is quite a spectacle to see all the pyramids illuminated with background lights, constantly changing colors. The stars in the sky shining bright. The peacefulness of the site at night is indescribable.
Then an announcement is made and everyone takes their seats. The 25 min light show is displayed on the main pyramid. The history of the creation of the earth and Mayan life in Chichen Itza is shown in vivid colors. Truly mesmerizing!!!
After the show, the group is escorted out the main entrance. There are taxis waiting to take you back to the hotels around Chichen Itza ($80 MXN for the ride). Some people stay in the nearby town of Valladolid (40 mins away), but there are closer options in Piste (10 mins away). We chose the Mayaland Hotel, as it has a direct entrance to Chichen Itza (not open at night) and amazing bungalows for a very affordable price.
We love these light shows, and it was so much better than we expected! It was truly a magical experience, walking around the site at night, guided by a full moon. Spend at least one night in this area so you can live this experience. You will not be disappointed!
Need itinerary ideas to visit Chichen Itza and the Yucatán peninsula? Read our Ultimate Guide to Cancún for the Non-Beach Lover
Did you know about the light show on your last visit to Cancún? Would you like to go?
Let us know in the comments?