Chichen Itza
  Best Restored Mayan Site
El Castillo
The Yucatan, Mexico
If you can only visit one Mayan site, I believe it should be
Chichen Itza, a triumph of Maya restoration and
preservation.  Also very educational as to aspects of Mayan
culture we would both admire and be shocked at.
The star of Chichen Itza is El Castillo (The Castle), a lovely
pyramid that also performed astronomy.  My best picture of
El Castillo is on the highlights page, click
Here .     
Here I stand in front of El Castillo delivering one of my many
creative theories as to why the ancient Maya abandoned all
their cities.  Despite lack of any scientific support, these
theories are a major thread in the video, offered at each site.
Chichen Itza was deserted by the Maya in the 14th century.
Climbing El Castillo should not be taken lightly.  The
Maya placed narrow steps on their pyramids, and
even if you make it up, revel in the views, you still
have to somehow make it back down to the ground.  
After a tourist's death, climbing was banned.
Help is available, taking the form of a chain in the center of
this picture looking up.  The chain is placed inconveniently
on top of the steps, where it cannot be lifted.  Few people
use the chain on the upward trip.  Coming down is made
safer and easier by hugging the chain, despite the required
crouching position.  El Castillo has the best views of any
pyramid I climbed, which you will see on the next page.        
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip to Central
America and Mexico by clicking on:
Mayavision