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Gran Juego de Pelota, or the Grand Ball Court, is the largest of several impressive playing fields at Chichén Itzá that prove how much the ancient Mayans loved ball games. Walk the length of this extraordinary structure and imagine the crowds of thousands who looked on when games were played here as much as 1,000 years ago. Consider how high the stakes were for the players, who often faced brutal consequences for losing.
Admire the enormous size of Gran Juego Pelota. The Mayans are believed to have played a game here that used a rubber ball roughly the size of a soccer ball, but other spectator sports were likely played here too. These would have included a variety of other ball games as well as wrestling. It is also likely that grand feasts and other community celebrations were held here.
Look for the carvings around the court. These depict the rules of the main ball game played here. Try to find the gruesome carving that shows a beheading. For some unlucky players, this was the consequence of losing. It is thought that Mayan ball games were not only a source of entertainment but were also used as a way of settling disputes and punishing criminals, with losing team members being executed and winners being spared.
Gran Juego de Pelota is just one of many impressive historic structures to explore in the ancient Mayan site of Chichén Itzá. Explore the two temples that are directly next to the ball court. These are named the Temple of the Jaguars and the Temple of the Bearded Man and, like the ball court, they feature fascinating carvings.
Buy a ticket for Chichén Itzá and spend the day exploring Gran Juego de Pelota and the many other Mayan structures here. Choose a guided tour to gain expert insight into these marvelous structures, or forgo the tour and wander at your own pace. Consider staying in the beautiful town of Valladolid, which is around a 45-minute drive away.
This family-friendly Chichen Itza resort is located in a national park, just steps away from El Caracol and Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza. Cenote Ik kil is 1.8 mi (2.8 km) away.
Situated in a rural location, this spa hotel is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Cenote Ik kil, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Court of the Thousand Columns and Pyramid of Kukulkan.
This family-friendly Chichen Itza lodge is within 3 mi (5 km) of Court of the Thousand Columns, Pyramid of Kukulkan and Cenote Ik kil. Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza and Cenote Xkeken are also within 25 mi (40 km).
This family-friendly hotel is located in the city centre, within 2 mi (3 km) of Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza, Pyramid of Kukulkan and Court of the Thousand Columns. El Caracol is 1.7 mi (2.8 km) away.
Situated in the historical district, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cenote Ik kil, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza and Court of the Thousand Columns. Pyramid of Kukulkan is 2.1 mi (3.5 km) away.
This family-friendly Chichen Itza hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza and El Caracol. Cenote Ik kil is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away.
Situated in Chichen Itza, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Court of the Thousand Columns and Pyramid of Kukulkan.
Situated in Tinum, this hotel is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Pyramid of Kukulkan and 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Court of the Thousand Columns. Cenote Ik kil and Cenote Yokdzonot are also within 12 mi (20 km).