Exploring the Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam

We love exploring Mayan Ruins. We recently took a trip to Valladolid, and a visit to the nearby ruins of Ek Balam was an attraction we couldn’t miss. They’re much more off the beaten track than some of the more famous ruins in Mexico like Tulum or Chichen Itza, and the fact that you don’t share the experience with as many other people – and has a pyramid you can climb – make this place something you should add to your bucket list.

Ek Balam means ‘black jaguar’ in the Mayan Language and the city was prominent from 300bc until the end of the Mayan Empire.  It was once the seat of an important Mayan Kingdom and the site has many well-preserved examples of Mayan architecture, especially the tomb of Ukit Kan Lek Tok, the tallest pyramid on the site. For the best views of Ek Balam, hike to the top of the staircase to see the city ruins surrounded by the dense jungle of the Yucatan.

This was a great spot for exploring, and we arrived on a day when the sun was shining with minimal clouds and blue skies, which is perfect for ruins pictures (and more important, it was a little less humid). The excavated portion of the ruins isn’t too big but has some very nicely preserved temples in the main square. There are two tall pyramids on the site waiting to be unearthed by future archeologists.

The highlight of any Mayan Ruins exploration is when there is a tall pyramid that you can climb, and Ek Balam has the tomb of Ukit Kan Lek Tok, which allows for great views of the surrounding landscape.

Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam. 2018.

There are many impressive buildings that have been uncovered here, surrounding the main plaza, including the Entrance Arch, the Oval Palace, and ball-court, and includes a defensive wall surrounding the complex.

This was a really great experience, and the fact that it’s so close to Valladolid, and the nearby Chichen Itza ruins, means that you should be able to stop by here to explore on a day trip from most Riviera Maya destinations. You will not be disappointed.

Exploring the Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam:

The Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam is a small Mayan city located just outside of Valladolid, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. Ek Balam means ‘black jaguar’ in the Mayan Language and the city was prominent from 300bc until the end of the Mayan Empire.

It was once the seat of an important Mayan Kingdom and the site has many well-preserved examples of Mayan architecture, especially the tomb of Ukit Kan Lek Tok, the tallest pyramid on the site. The best place to experience the city is at the top of the staircase, where you can see the entire city from above, surrounded by the dense jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Exploring the Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam. 2018.
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