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The huge elaborate pyramid of the Acropolis, located inside the Maya site of Ek Balam, is a surprising sight after driving through the jungle surroundings. Explore this striking site on a tour from Holbox Island.

Ek Balam, the black jaguar, was at the pinnacle of its importance as a city during the Late Classic Period (600-900 BC). When the Maya left the site, it went unnoticed, literally, while the dense jungle of Yucatan concealed it. All the Maya pyramids were discovered when archaeologists and adventurers saw a hill or mound with trees and shrubs growing on top. When digging in the mounds, they found treasures of buildings and artifacts hidden for hundreds of years.

In Ek Balam, the restoration has been consistent since 1997. The Acropolis is the largest building, measuring 160 meters long (480 feet), 59 meters wide (180 feet), and 32 meters high (96 feet). The palace has six levels where the governors and the highest echelons of the population of the cities lived. Archaeologists believe that it was not built by one person or all at once.

At the entrance to the pyramid of the Acropolis there is a figure of a monster, which they say is the guardian of the entrance to the underworld. Under the thatched roofs to protect the facade, other statues and sculptures of angels, animals, and various figures are integrated into a complex and beautiful design.

Ek Balam, located just north of Valladolid, is special in another sense: there are never many tourists. And although it is less noisy and more peaceful than Chichén Itzá, it is not completely excavated, nor does it provide the same facilities and comforts for the traveler. It’s the ideal combination of nature and culture.

In Rio Lagartos, we take a boat tour to see flamingos, crocodiles, and various birds. After lunch, we continue to Ek Balam, where we visit the archaeological site, and finally we go to the cenote Xcan Ché to swim in its refreshing waters.

Rio Lagartos

This bird sanctuary is home to many species, including the pink flamingo. A tour of the lake takes you through the mangroves to see birds and crocodiles. We take a mud bath to rejuvenate the skin.

Ek Balam

This Maya site is characterized by its beauty. Its discovery is relatively new, and therefore it doesn’t have as many visitors. Research in this ancient Maya city still continues, and new discoveries are made every time. The stucco mural is unique and allows you to see how the Maya decorated their buildings.

Xcan Ché

Just 1.5 km from Ek Balam, we reach the cenote on bicycles. This paradisiacal place is ideal to cool off after touring Ek Balam. There are optional activities such as zip lining, rappelling, or kayaking (not included).