Ek Balam is an ancient Mayan city located on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It’s a wonderful pre-Colombian archeological site to spend the day exploring.
The ancient stone structures at Ek Balam are some of the best Mayan ruins you can visit in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
To get there from Valladolid, I took a collectivo, taxi-vans that wait around until there are enough people going to the same place before it leaves. It’s the cheapest way to get around in Mexico.
On a typical day, I’d get asked 3 different times by collectivo drivers if I wanted to go to Ek’ Balam while out walking around Valladolid.
But for some reason this morning, when I actually wanted to go, I couldn’t find any!
Packed Valladolid Taxi Ride
I finally gave up and decided to find a taxi. I talked a taxi driver into cramming all 5 of us into his tiny 4 passenger car.
For $40 MXN each, he would drive me over to the ruins (a 30-minute drive), and wait there 3 hours to drive me back into town.
On the ride in I could see and smell the burning forest. Our driver told me they are clearing the land to build more tourist facilities in the area.
This is kind of sad, as I think the sites lose their mystery when they start adding giant tour bus parking lots and hotels all over the place.
Mayan Ruins Of Ek’ Balam
The ruins of Ek Balam were very impressive. It’s estimated they were built around 800 A.D. The name Ek’ Balam means “Black Jaguar” in the Mayan language.
The main Acropolis structure is 95 feet high, and the stairs are very steep. It was quite a workout to hike up it.
One of the great things about this site is that you can still climb on all the ruins. Another plus is that it isn’t as heavily visited as some other ruins in the area, and if you go early, you can often be the only people there.
Swimming X’Canche Cenote
Right next door to the Ek Balam ruins is a cenote called X’Canche, a sinkhole in the ground filled with fresh water.
This cenote is about 1 mile away though, and because it was closing soon, we had to rent bikes to get to it in time for a swim before it closed.
A roof opened up to the sky. We swam for 25 minutes before they closed it up for the day.
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Ek Balam Entry Fee: $413 MXN ($21 USD)
Opening Hours: 8am – 4pm
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I hope you enjoyed my guide to the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:
- Ready to party in Mexico? Here are my top things to do Cancun.
- Road tripping the Riviera Maya? Read my favorite things to do in the Yucatan.
- Save money on your vacation with my ultimate guide to budget travel in Mexico.
- Get adventurous and try some scuba diving in pitch black undgerground fresh water cenotes.
- Check out my complete guide to choosing the perfect lightweight travel backpack.
Have any questions about visiting Ek Balam in Mexico? Are you planning a trip? Drop me a message in the comments below!