We woke up early and Brad was busy preparing breakfast when I started packing up. After yesterdays swim in cenote X’Canche we wanted to visit the nearby Mayan ruins of Ek Balam. I was exited as they were the first Mayan ruins I would see.
The first sights of Ek Balam
We cycled back to the entrance of the cenote which was at the same time the entrance to the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam. After paying the entrance fee of MXN$ 202 per person we walked a short way to a Mexican guy who controlled the tickets. A map on the wall provided an overview of the ruins. The center of the ruins, lying within a double wall, is about 1,25 squarekilometers big.
A quick chat in Spanish and we knew that we were the first visitors of the day. At least for some time we would have the ruins of Ek Balam to ourselves. Let’s go!
The history of Ek Balam
Excavated since 1997 the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam, about 30 kilometers north of Valladolid in the middle of the Yucatán jungle, date back to about 100 A.D.
The name Ek Balam is Mayan and means “Black Jaguar”. Center of the ruins is a tall main building – the akropolis. Until today it is – with 31 meters – one of the tallest Mayan buildings on the northern peninsula of Yucatán. On the fourth floor of the Akropolis behind the stone mouth of a snake archaeologists found the grave of one of Ek Balams monarchs.
The whole area of the ruins includes many more buildings and sites like the usual ball court, an oval palace and many monuments.
Climbing the main pyramid of Ek Balam
After wandering around for a while Brad and I got to the main paramid, the Akropolis, and we started climbing. The stairs were quite steep and not made for people with short legs. Climbing up I could feel my fear of the heights awake.
We made it to the fourth floor and had a look at the ancient Mayan engravings and the mouth of a snake carved into the stone.
All the way up on the main pyramid we had a great look over the ruins still partway covered in fog which made the experience even more mystical.
Being the first Mayan ruins I’ve ever seen Ek Balam will always be a special place for me.
Back to the overview!