Published On: Mon, Mar 10th, 2014

Personal opinion upon my visit to Dzibilchlatun Archaeological Site

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When I politely asked if they have a credit card terminal, they gave me a look like “Are you stupid or what?” needless to say, without saying a word.

Last week, as a part of a college assessment, that I have with my fellow classmates, we went to visit the town of Dzibilchaltún which in Maya means “Place where there are writings on the stones” in allusion to numerous memorial tablets found in this place.

Located just 10 minutes away from the city of Merida, near the Anahuac University and the Country Club, the town is an ordinary Yucatecan town, but it has a considerably large archaeological site commonly known as “Zona Arqueológica de Dzibilichaltun”.

Seven Dolls Temple

Seven Dolls Temple


The main goal of the trip, was not to visit the archaeological site itself, which I had previously visited many years ago, but specifically the site facilities. Of course, the first thing the entire class did as soon as we arrived, was to go to the historical landmarks of the place, such as “El templo de las 7 Muñecas” (The temple of the 7 dolls) and the cenote which is a great attraction among tourists and locals alike, with its cristal clear waters.

Cenote Xlacah in Dzibilchaltun, Yuc.

Cenote Xlacah in Dzibilchaltun, Yuc.

Just as everyone finished taking pictures and exploring a little, the teacher told us to start the assignment previously appointed to us. We headed back to the main building thinking it was going to be a boring assignment (like many of the subjects that we have in school), but we were surprised to find it very interesting.


Although, the facilities are nice, clean and well organized, I did spot some irregularities, that I would like to point out:

  1. To enter the place you need to make two lines to pay two different fees INAH and CULTUR (just like in Chichen-Itzá) , I don´t quite remember the price correctly but i think it was around 57 pesos per person, if you have a valid student ID you have a 50% discount (only applies if you´re a national).
  2. Most of the people that work there don´t speak a second language, I´m sorry to say it so bluntly but I feel the necessity to say this. How in the world if you work in a place that is funded by the government and has an affluence of foreign people coming to visit the site, are you not expected to speak at least basic English? Even the idea is wrong if you ask me.
  3. They don´t accept credit cards… Some of us had to borrow money from friends because we stupidly assumed they would have a card terminal. Boy were we wrong… also if you ask politely if they have a credit card terminal, they give you a look like “Are you stupid or what?” needless to say, without saying a word.
  4. They do have security  and some staff, but let’s say you are from Russia (if you ask why I brought up this particular nationality, is because, there has been a significant increase of Russians  tourists coming to México, specially to the Yucatecan Peninsula due to new air routes between Cancun and Moscow). Now, as a foreigner the one thing you are looking for in one place that you don’t know is directions and signs at least in English, well, the place barely has some signs in English, besides the fact that the personnel, that I bet they are doing a great job, barely speak Spanish, how is anyone gonna help the tourists or indicate them in the right direction?
  5. The cenote has no lifeguard or someone looking after the people swimming there, it does say in Spanish “Nade bajo su propio riesgo” which means “swim at your own risk”. I know is pretty clear but still in my opinion they should have someone that, at the very least has a lifesaver device like the ones used on diving tours.

By now, probably some of the readers are asking themselves, should we go?

Even after all the things I have said, the answer is yes, totally!

It has a faulty management, to say the least, but if people keep visiting and pointing out the things they don´t like, maybe eventually the government will change many of the things there.

Mayan Estela in Dzibilchaltún

Mayan Estela in Dzibilchaltún

You could be part of this movement to improve the quality of the  service provided and change the way the archaeological sites are managed and who knows, maybe one day Chichen-Itzá could be free of all those local vendors inside the archaeological site, to mention an example.

Dzibilchaltún Museum

Dzibilchaltún Museum

Finally, I would like to state that, all previously mentioned is solely my opinion; but the point is that this article is not meant as simple criticism, but merely to point out things that could be changed, that could be improved in order to make these sites nicer places to visit.

by Jonathan Chim Barroeta

  • 7th semester Student of Touristic Enterprises
  • Universidad Marista
  • Mérida, Yucatán

Mexico Travel Care




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  1. What an unfortunate perspective you have Jonathan, hopefully it will change someday for the better. My Spanish is terrible, but I do make an effort to communicate in Spanish. I have found the people in Merida, Yucatan and Mexico in general, to be warm, friendly and helpful. And I appreciate having to be more self-reliant, rather than having big government do all of my thinking for me, and trying to protect me from myself. Life Guard, Credit Card Kiosk, English Speakers … REALLY? You’re not in Kansas anymore, you’re in Mexico. Enjoy the adventure … that’s what travel is supposed to be about. Good luck amigo.

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