Are your parents making you leave the beach in Cancun to take a tour? I feel your pain. But this place was cool and worth a break from the sand and surf! Instead of going to Chichen Itza, we visited the more recently excavated Mayan ruins called Ek’ Balam. My mom said that these ruins would be closer and cooler because you can climb on most of the ruins, including the big pyramid in the center!
It took us a while to find it, and you pretty much have to follow your nose until you run into it. Our first attempt ended in almost running out of gas and driving for five hours, never seeing anything but jungle, and our second try took some educated guesses, but at least we made it!
Once we finally arrived there, we asked for a guide, who turned out to actually be Mayan himself. His name was Casimiro, and he was a GREAT guide! Compared to most people in Mexico, he spoke very good English. He says that he learned much of his English by watching his favorite show and movie, Stargate. This cracked me up! Also, he had a lot of good information to give on almost everything. Without him, we would have had no idea what we were looking at.
As we entered, Casimiro showed us where the city wall used to be. It turns out that the Mayans had very good security. They had guards on duty 24/7, and they could see for miles from the top of their towers and tomb/temple. He also showed us these two square plates on the ground that supposedly matched the king’s footprints, so I decided to try it out!
Well, not a perfect fit, but still a really interesting fact to know!
My favorite part, of course, was climbing to the top of the Mayan tomb/pyramid. It was really cool to be walking where the ancient Mayans used to walk. At the top, where there used to be a small temple, we could see nothing but jungle and the other ruins. VERY COOL! And about halfway down the temple, Casimiro showed us a carving of the Mayan’s perspective of heaven and hell. The carvings were so well preserved that it looked like they were not very ancient at all! You could see almost every detail. Here are some of my pics:
During the trip, we also saw a memorial stone for the king, the Mayans’ version of a basketball court, other smaller buildings that once housed over 1000 people over 1000 years ago, and other ruins that used to made up a once-powerful city.
Ek’ Balam is a must-see for all people vacationing in Cancun, and it is a great stop for the whole family!
Wanna hear about our Cancun zip line tour and see our fun video? Check out my report!