humansHumanshumansancient ancestors

Tourist Pelted With Water Bottles After Posing On A Protected Maya Pyramid In Mexico

The ancient Castillo de Kukulcán has been out of bounds since 2008.


Rachael Funnell


Rachael Funnell

Digital Content Producer

Rachael is a writer and digital content producer at IFLScience with a Zoology degree from the University of Southampton, UK, and a nose for novelty animal stories.

Digital Content Producer

Castillo de Kukulcán
Trespassing onto the fragile of Castillo de Kukulcán can damage the Maya pyramid, and you. Image credit: Richie Chan /

A tourist was recently booed and pelted with water bottles after trespassing onto an ancient Maya pyramid in Mexico, which has been out of bounds to the public since 2008. The woman was filmed climbing the Maya pyramid’s fragile steps before posing at the top and dancing on the way back down, to the very apparent displeasure of everyone present.

The ancient Maya pyramid is located in Chichén Itzá (one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World located in southeastern Mexico). The Castillo de Kukulcán pyramid can carry fines of over US $5,000 for trespassers because its great age makes it vulnerable to damage, not to mention the risk of falling.


On her way back down, the tourist was reportedly met with chants calling for jail time to punish her for trespassing on the historic monument. Though the identity of the offending tourist isn’t known, according to The Independent she appeared to be wearing a t-shirt with a US flag on it.

The multi-layered monument, also known as El Castillo, or the Temple of Kukulcán, sits in a complex of Maya ruins in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. It’s structure has been described “like a Russian nesting doll” by researchers who worked on a new discovery about the structure back in 2016.

It was known that El Castillo contained a second pyramid, a discovery that was made back in the 1930s. However, it wasn’t until much later that it became apparent there was another hidden pyramid tucked inside the first hidden pyramid.

As for why the incredible example of Maya architectural design was built in this way, the researchers had a few theories. It could simply be a series of renovations built on top of older monument. Alternatively, it could have been a way of marking the arrival of a new leader, as if to erase the past from the city’s memory.


Many-layered pyramids have great precedent in Mexico, which is home to the biggest human-made pyramid on Earth, an architectural treasure trove of builds and rebuilds tucked inside of one another. Check out the wild story of the 2,000-year-old Great Pyramid of Cholula here.

[H/T: dmarge]


humansHumanshumansancient ancestors
  • tag
  • pyramid,

  • monuments,

  • Mexico,

  • mayan,

  • tourism,

  • Mayan civilization,

  • ancient ancestors