For years, we have been visiting Mexico and checking out different Mayan Ruins. On our last trip, we stayed in Valladolid, and made the trip out to see Ek Balam. Ek Balam is just over 30 miles from Chichen Itza, and about 30 minutes from Valladolid.
Ek Balam can be translated as “the black jaguar” or “bright star jaguar.” This city was built starting around 100 B.C., and continued to grow for many years before ultimately being deserted.
It is easy to get to the site of Ek Balam, as the roads are good and there were signs along the way.
We drove our rental car from Avant Car Rental, and took Google Maps to get there.
There is a nice big parking lot and plenty of signs.
The ticket counter is not far from the parking lot.
I love this beautiful mural that is near the entrance.
The prices were posted at the ticket counter. We visited in July 2021, so these were the prices. We also hired a guide, which we have done at other Mayan Ruins like Coba. Our guide spoke wonderful English and had a binder of photos to use as a slideshow. I definitely recommend hiring a guide, but if not, there are maps posted around the property as well.
There is a decent amount of walking here, but not like other sites like Coba. There are no bikes for rent or bike chariots like we have seen at other places. Once we were done visiting the archaeological portion, we visited Cenote X’Canche on the Ek Balam premises.
These were the first buildings that we saw, built along the walls that surround Ek Balam. To the right in the photo is the Oval Palace.
The ruins were not busy at all, especially compared to Tulum, Chichen Itza, or Coba.
We were able to explore the different structures at Ek Balam. This is one of the lower pyramids (not the main pyramid).
There are various stelae around the property. This one is thought to depict one of the rulers of Ek Balam, possibly Ukit Kan Leʼk Tokʼ (according to Wikipedia).
We enjoyed not only the ruins, but the surrounding jungle.
The Mayan ball courts are always a highlight of the Mayan ruins. This game is such a neat part of the history of the Yuctan, and it is interesting to see a display of this sport if you ever get the chance. These games were a very serious part of Mayan culture and religion, as there was often a lot of sacrifice as part of the game.
The main temple is El Torre, the main tower located in the Central Plaza. We were able to climb to the top, which is a great experience. It was quite hot, although it doesn’t look that hot in the photo below. I was definitely feeling it by the time I got to the top of the pyramid.
We were able to climb the temple, and the view is beautiful. This is a great place for photo opportunities!
There are a lot of wonderful carvings right on the temple.
We enjoyed visiting and exploring the Ek Balam ruins. The walk was comfortable and it was nice to be able to walk up the pyramids. This was not very crowded at all, and was easy to find with plenty of parking. The view from the main pyramid was wonderful! After visiting Ek Balam, we went to Cenote X’Canche right at Ek Balam, and it was a great way to cool off.
What to bring:
~ bug spray
~ swimwear & towels for the cenote
~ comfortable shoes
~ good camera
~ water and snacks
Check out our other Mexico blog posts.
About the Author: Marysa
Busy blogger and mom of two girls! We love traveling and the great outdoors, and are always looking for our next adventure!
I can’t wait to go on vacations again! Mexico is on our list because a beach is very much needed.
Wow this looks like an absolutely incredible place to go and visit! Such a fascinating place to explore and learn about!
Those ruins riival any in Mexico and it seems like it was a great day to explore them. I will keep this in mind if we get to Mexico.
What a cool place. There is so much to do in Mexico City.
This is the coolest. I am all about history so I would love to be able to explore ruins.
That is the kind of place that I would love to explore. I love the tropics and all of those historic places. I love all the ancient stuff.
Your photos make me want to visit Mexico! I have always wanted to see the Mayan ruins.
I want to go and see all of this in person. So much history there!
Such a nice place to explore, thanks for sharing about this, I didn’t know this place before.
The ruins look magnificent! I like a nice trip back to history plus a touch of mysticism.
Wow! I haven’t been to Mexico until now, but it is on my list. Ek Balam looks like an exciting place with lots of history and beautiful views! Thanks for sharing!
Nnniiiccceeeee….the whole place is stunning! I’ve earmarked Ek Balam and am getting myself a tour-guide for it!
Wow, that place looks beautiful. I would love to go there someday. Such amazing photos!
What a wonderful day of exploration and learning. It sounds as if you had a great time and I can definitely see why.
This is such a beautiful place to go see. I really would love to go exploring in Mexico. It has so many hidden treasures.
Wow so beautiful! I’m really hoping to go to Mexico next year if all goes well in the world haha
What a lovely place to visit! Those carvings are incredible.
What a fun place to visit. I love walking around and exploring places like that.
Wow, the tiger looks real for a moment haha. It’s an amazing place to visit and would love to visit it someday.
Will definitely add this to my travel bucket once the international flight will ease up here. Nice photos
EK Balam looks like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Arc! I would love to visit Mexico one of these days!
I have not been to Mexico in years. This place looks so fascinating. I would love to visit.
Wow! Ek Balam Ruins, Mexico looks so historic! Can’t wait to visit it after the pandemic!
I love visiting historic places like this too! I would love to go there someday.
This looks like such a great place to visit and explore. I love that mural at the entrance too!
What an amazing place to visit! I think it would be really cool to visit here, very educational for the kids as well. I love exploring and this place would be very fun! Thank you so much for sharing.
Wow! This post makes me want to visit Ek Balam Ruins, Mexico soon! It looks so peaceful and historic! Nice photos!
This place is amazing! All those history, every ruin tells a story.
Wow! This is such a really amazing and a wonderful place to visit! Nice photos!
After reading your story I think I will put Mexico back on my bucket list. Yes, took it off some months ago because of safety concerns.
Your pictures are beautiful! Thank you for sharing.