Mexico to Close Its Famous Mayan Ruins After Tourists Violate Mask Policy

view of El Castillo pyramid in the ruins Mayan city Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

Tourists behaving badly on vacation in Mexico have driven officials to shut one of the country's most popular archaeological sites over the Easter holiday weekend.

According to the Associated Press, officials in Mexico plan to close Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula from April 1 through April 4 in hopes of curbing the spread of COVID-19.

"It is regrettable to see how undisciplined things have become," Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez, acting police chief in Quintana Roo — a state that's home to hot spots like Tulum, Cancun, and Cozumel — said, the AP reported. He pointed to tourists as the worst offenders, saying "It was truly frustrating to see hundreds of people walking around without face masks."

Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Mayans. Nowadays, it's Mexico's second-most visited archaeological site, typically drawing around two million visitors a year. The UNESCO World Heritage site is among the more popular day trips for visitors to Cancun, one of the limited vacation destinations open to U.S. travelers right now.

Mexican officials closed the Chichen Itza site in early 2020 as the world was shutting down borders and major attractions to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Chichen Itza reopened with capacity restrictions, temperature checks, and face mask requirements in September.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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