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Ek' Balam

Yucatán State & the Maya Heartland

The fascinating ruined city of Ek' Balam reached its peak in the 8th century, before being suddenly abandoned. Vegetation still covers much of the archaeological site, but it's well organized and has a lovely, lush setting. Interesting features include a pyramid-like structure near the entrance, as well as a fine arch and a ball court. Most impressive, though, is the gargantuan Acrópolis, whose well-restored base is 160m long and holds a ‘gallery’ – actually a series of separate chambers.

Built atop the base of the Acrópolis is Ek’ Balam’s massive main pyramid, reaching a height of 32m and sporting a gaping jaguar mouth. Below the mouth are stucco skulls, while above and to the right sits an amazingly expressive figure. On the right side stand unusual winged human figures (some call them Maya angels, although a much more likely explanation is that they are shaman or medicine men).

The turnoff for the archaeological site is 17km north of Valladolid, and the ruins are another 6km east from the turnoff.

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Nearby Yucatán State & the Maya Heartland attractions

1. X'Canché Cenote

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From the Ek’ Balam parking lot you can visit the X'Canché Cenote. From the entrance it's a 1.5km walk, or you can rent a bicycle (M$120) or pedicab (M$150…

2. Mercado Municipal

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Locals come to this good, authentic Mexican market to shop for cheap clothing, produce and what-have-you, and to eat at inexpensive taquerías. The east…

3. Iglesia de la Candelaria

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The Virgin of Candelaria, the Patron of Valladolid, is celebrated at this church on February 2 (Candlemas).

4. Ayuntamiento

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The upstairs section, the Salón de Los Murales, has an interesting series of murals of figures that illustrate the history of the region.

5. Museo de San Roque

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6. Casa de los Venados

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7. Iglesia de San Servacio

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8. Templo de San Bernardino

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