The Majestic One
This one-day trip is doable if you are coming from Mérida, Cancún, Playa del Carmen or Tulum. It combines two majestic treasures of Yucatán: the Mayan ruin site of Chichén Itzá and cenote Hubiku eco-park. For me this is the most elegant combination of a natural wonder and culture. Prepare yourself for a long day.
Chichén Itzá (Ruins)
Chichén Itzá (the 'Well of the Itzá people') was the initiation city where the adepts were taught and prepared for death and for giving their heart to the spirit, represented by the eagle. Look carefully at all carvings at the Great Ball Court and all the temples as they tell a very complex story of how and why this game was played (which was the purpose of the Ball Game). The pyramid of Kukulkán represented the complex Mayan calendar and astrological knowledge and it is truly stunning. Clap in front of it and listen to the quetzal bird chirping sound. You may not manage to see both north and south parts of the city but make sure you see the 'Sacred Cenote', the place of human sacrifice. You can have your lunch at the village of Piste but I strongly recommend the restaurant in Hubiku, if you can wait until then. You will reach Chichén Itzá on highway 180D.
The truly elegant cavern of Hubiku looks like a cathedral and the local Maya still use it as a temple. It is a semi-open cenote, with a ray of light cutting through from the collapsed ceiling and 'touching' the turquoise water of the deep pool below. The water is usually 20°C, in dramatic contrast with the 30-35°C temperature of the outside environment, perfect for cooling down after a hot walk at Chichén Itzá. The eco-park is also elegant and well maintained, with clean restrooms (which can't be said about most cenote parks), a great restaurant (cheap and cheerful, with a buffet and Mayan dances), a hammock place for putting your feet up, a turkey zone, a Mayan village zone with traditional palapa houses, a craft shop, a tequila and mezcal museum. Hubiku is located in Temozón, 10km north of the city of Valladolid.