What happened in Chichen Itza on 12/21/12?

December 29, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

It’s been over week since the predicted Mayan apocalypse had past. There was no doom on doomsday.

I was curious to see first hand what was going to happen in Mexico so I ventured to the Mayan empire. I only had less than four weeks to plan the whole trip so everything I did was spontaneous. There were several festivals in the Yucatán to celebrate the new era, but I really wanted to be in Chichen Itza for the winter solstice on December 21, 2012.

This trip wasn’t like my past adventures because an event like “the end of the world” has never happened before. Usually, large festivals like carnival, running with the bulls, or even Burning Man have a predictable element to them because they occur every year. However, on this trip there were a few variables to deal with since I didn’t know if all hell would break lose in Chichen Itza. After all, I was headed straight into the eye of the storm. The odds of encountering madness was a high probability.

All I brought with me were clothes that I could fit in a 30 liter backpack, my canteen, and emergency survival food.

On the evening of December 20th, I stayed in Valladolid which is about 40km from Chichen Itza. It was a good location that was close enough to the ruins, had affordable accommodations, and was a charming town that other travelers recommended to experience the real Mexico rather than touristy Cancun.

Here is a photo essay of the events that I experienced on Friday December 21, 2012.

5:30 a.m. It rained in the morning. I went to a fire ceremony at Cenote Zaci and heard a reading from a Mayan shaman. It was so early that there may have been less than 75 people there. Many were tourists rather than locals. It was quite and peaceful as everyone watched the fire burn.

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7:23 a.m. I hopped in a collectivo near the bus station. We rode with few tourists and employees who worked at the ruins. It cost less than $3 USD for the 40 minute ride from Valladolid to Chitchen Itza.

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8:15 a.m. We arrived at the back entrance of Chitchen Itza. There was a massive line of tour groups that spanned several blocks long. I thought it was going to take forever to get inside, but it took us about 30 minutes because we bypassed all the groups and headed straight to the ticket office.

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As we entered the park, many of the vendors were still setting up there tables.

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8:47 a.m. CNN was onsite interviewing several tourists.

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9:21 a.m. The site started to fill up as mobs of tourists started to trickle in.

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This guy was being interviewed. I wasn’t sure who he was.

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The Mexican Red Cross and Scouts were all over the place to provide assistance if needed. The government did a great job to ensure the safety of visitors.

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10:52 a.m. A line of people start to wrap around El Castillo, the main pyramid. While I was at Cenote Zaci earlier in the morning I had heard that there was going to be a ceremony in the front of El Castillo at 11:11 a.m., but I may have missed it.

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A family recharges their energy.

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Lots of group hugs. Many people wore white because it supposedly absorbs the most energy.

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There were many circles of hippies meditating, dancing, singing, chanting, and setting their intentions.

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More chanting.

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12:30 p.m. I exited through the front entrance of Chitchen Itza. There was a massive line of people waiting to get in!

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2:45 p.m. I had lunch in Piste Pueblo to celebrate my morning visit to Chichen Itza.

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Obviously, the world didn’t end. There were tons of people at Chichen Itza, but nothing catastrophic happened. Just peace, love, hugs, and hippies.

  • What did you do when the world was suppose to end?
  • If tomorrow was your last day on earth, what would you do?

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  1. Joshua says:

    Thanks for the photos! My friend left Chichen Itza at 7am having been there since 2am for a special ceremony, and estimated there were 50,000 people lined up to get in.

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