After researching all the tour options available, I soon decided I wanted a tour that included Ek Balam. Mayan Explorers was one of the few that offered that option, and the only one that included a guide, admissions and lunch. Most other private tours don't include a guide for when you get to Chichen Itza or Ek Balam, so you have to figure that into your price when comparing tours and worry about finding a guide on your own. I don't know why so many don't include that. I liked that it was a private tour because I thought traveling with a bus load of others, would limit my experience. When I booked, I was asked if it would be OK to share with a few others. Sharing would make the price more reasonable, so I said yes. No one else had booked a tour on the day I wanted, and I was offered other days where sharing could be possible. I let them know, that I would stick to the original day, and if someone else joined us, that would be fine. Every time I had a question, it was answered promptly in an email. On the day of the tour, we were picked up promptly and informed that two others were going to join us, and that a refund would be issued shortly. That was a nice surprise.
Now to the tour. It was great. On the way, our guide, Alex explained what we would be seeing and pointed out things of interest. We drove straight to Chichen Itza and were able to enjoy it before many of the bus tours got there. Alex took us around all of the site, explaining the history, and culture along the way. When we left there, we went to a Cenote next, We were allowed to decide if we wanted the Cenote or Lunch first. The Cenote is a big underground swimming hole that was very refreshing. Once again, Alex explained how they were formed and then he watched over our things while we swam. Our driver went down to the water with us, brought fins and masks, held our towels and took pictures for us with our cameras. Next we headed to a great Lunch Buffet. There were plenty of choices for even the pickiest eaters, and we were entertained with some Mexican dancing. After lunch, we headed to Ek Balam. While others in the tour loved the Cenote best, I loved Ek Balam. It was peaceful, beautiful and you can still climb up on the ruins. Had I realized that they closed early, I would have hurried lunch up. The temple is in great condition and truly spectacular. That is a must see. Our last stop was to the town of Valladolid, where we saw the oldest church in Mexico and walked around a park in the center of the town surrounded by colonial style buildings. Very pretty. Then back to our hotel. It was a long day, but far from boring. The guide and driver made the trip so interesting and easy for us.
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