chichen itza Mind the vendors.

Mayan ruins risk loss of 7 Wonders status

Travel agents' group head says there are too many vendors

Renowned as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World since 2007, Chichén Itzá, the complex of Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, is at risk of losing that distinction due to the number of vendors who harass tourists.

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The iconic step-pyramid that is El Castillo, or the Temple of Kukulcán, lies at the center of the Chichen Itzá archaeological site in Yucatán, and has become a popular symbol for all thing Maya and indigenous in Mexico and abroad.

It is that status that granted the Maya archaeological site the recognition as one of the New Seven Wonders, chosen from a list of 200 monuments through a worldwide vote that drew millions of people.

But he chairman of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (AMAV) has declared that the site is at risk of losing its Seven Wonders designation and its millions of visitors per year due to the hundreds of peddlers that have “invaded” it, as they accost tourists and create conflicts with tour operators.

Sergio González Rubiera said that the New7Wonders Foundation has already warned the government of Yucatán that if the peddling issue isn’t resolved, Chichén Itzá could be removed from the list.

“The situation is worrisome for us, as 70% of the 2 million tourists who visit Chichén Itzá do so through the travel agencies in Cancún and the Maya Riviera that I represent,” said González.

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He charged that vendors have assaulted travel agency staff on-site and have also imposed extra charges to allow tourist buses to enter the archaeological zone.

The state Culture and Tourist Board has granted permits for 600 vendors in that zone, but it acknowledges that the actual figure has exceeded that for several years, and currently more than 1,000 vendors share the grounds with tourists.

Last year, Chichén Itzá was the second most popular archaeological site in numbers of visitors, who totaled 2.1 million, second only to Teotihuacán in Estado de México, visited by 2.3 million people during the same period.

Source: El Economista (sp)

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  • monoloco

    When unlimited numbers of vendors are allowed at these sites it becomes very hard for any of them to make any money since they are all selling the same things, leading them to become more aggressive, driving tourists away. It’s a big problem at most of the popular sites in Mexico, no one likes to be followed around and pressured to buy cheap trinkets that they don’t want.

  • Herradura Plata

    When the state Culture and Tourist Board “grants” permits, it is likely not free of charge — it costs. And every additional permit “granted” lines the pockets, as often as not, of those same permit granters. No wonder the numbers are out of control. Good business for politically connected permit granters, no doubt, but bad for tourism.
    And it is not clear what authority curio venders have to “impose extra charges to allow tourist buses to enter the …zone.”

    • kallen

      Agreed. Crime and graft are Mexico’s #1 industry…..aside from the cartels.

  • i stopped a long time ago recommending or taking anyone to chichen itza,, its is disgusting and shameful what has been allowed. so many other wonderful sites to go that where there are no vendors,, UXMAL is a much better site to enjoy

    • Peter Hobday

      Absolutely right, Alfonso! Uxmal is wonderful. I also like Dzibichaltún, just north of Mérida, for the cenote, pyramids and solstice celebration. I can recommend an official guide – a Hungarian? or Czechoslovakian? woman — who speaks very good English and Spanish.

  • Peter Hobday

    Uxmal is a wonderful site, an easy trip from Merida, and some really great history stories from the guides. The museum is very interesting and I can recommend an official guide – a Hungarian? or Czechoslovakian? woman — who speaks very good English and Spanish.

  • kallen

    Nothing worse than being harassed by street vendors….this story has convinced me to take CI off my list of possible things to see in Mexico.

  • Beate Epp

    We still recommend to visit it if guests want to see it, but go very early when they open up. This way one has about 3 hours to see everything and gets a break from the vendors which have not set up yet. And I totally agree, the vendors should not only be restricted but cut in half or even lesser… It does not help anyone and sheds a bad light. Not a good thing, and how can anyone make money if there are so many to sell the same stuff… so of course they are under pressure… If people want to see it, yes, but go early, otherwise we do recommend Ek Balam, which is smaller but has a beautiful atmosphere and a cenote right on site. It has beautiful stone carvings and pyramids to climb on to. And I do agree with Peter, Uxmal is one of my favourite sites around! I do hope they will get this problem solved… Chichen Itza does not deserve this bad reputation. The new and improved light show is amazing!

  • Karl Riise

    Wish it could be returned to its original concept: climb the pyramid, visit the inside pyramid, no inside vendors. So happy I could do this in 1997 and 2000. What a wonderful experience. Now I don’t think I’ll ever go back. It’s ruined….

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