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“New but old and cool.”

Ek Balam Mayan Ruins
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Ek Balam and Valladolid from Tulum
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Owner description: Recently excavated and restored Mayan ruins.
Bowling Green, Ohio
Level Contributor
154 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“New but old and cool.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2013

It was raining all week during my trip but on the one sunny day we had I made it to these ruins.
I knew the site was a recent excavation and smaller than other sites BUT it was slammed with mass tourism to the point it almost ruined my visit. It was still interesting to see the ruins and know that excavation is still ongoing but constantly bumping into other tourists was not fun. It won't remain a sustainable tourist site if they can't control the crowds. I suggest charging more $$$ and attracting fewer tourists. The others can go to the beach....unless it is raining....again.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Dr T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Very interesting site”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2013

We didn't know what we were in for as this site is relatively small and not completely excavated yet. The site excavation began in the late 1990's. There are still several pyramids close to the main temple that are still covered in jungle. This is interesting as you can see what the archeologists have to work with. The site is impressive never the less. You can climb up the main pyramid and the site from way up top is fantastic. The interesting thing about Ek Balam is that a wall of carvings was found behind another wall and are now exposed. Also the remains of one of the leaders was found so we know that it was a burial chamber. The main pyramid is huge in length.
Ek Balam is a 2 hour ride from Playa del Carmen.
After the tour we visited a cenote. Before going to the cenote you participate in a Mayan ceremony where a shaman gives his blessing for your safety. In our case he also gave a special blessing to someone with a birthday. It was very interesting to hear the Mayan language spoken. You could walk down the stairs to the cenote or repel down in a harness. Once a the bottom there was a variety of water activities that you could do in the cenote. Lockers are provided for your belongings. You only need to wear your swim suit. Towels are also provided. Afterwards you enjoy a Mexican buffet lunch before your 2 hour ride home. We watched a movie in the van on the way home or you could have a nap. This was a full day excursion. Our guide Rebecca was very knowledgeable about the Mayan culture. We drove through several little Mayan villages and she was able to explain what we saw. She also talked about efforts to conserve the way of life for these people and what we could do to help the Mexican's. We left our resort at 7:30 and did not return until 7:00. Even though lunch was provided, if you get hungry you may want to bring a snack with you.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Helen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jersey City, New Jersey
Level Contributor
52 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Overrun with tour groups”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 15, 2013

We heard that this site was among the smaller, more laid-back sites, so we didn't head out so early in the morning to visit, which was a huge mistake. By the time we got there, around 10:30ish, the place was PACKED with tour groups. We ended up seeing the site in a very haphazard manner, trying to avoid groups of people in swimsuits and flip-flops bumping into us, cutting us off and stopping in front of us to take pictures. As we were coming down the main pyramid, one of the tour guide must have just released their group to start climbing, as this wall of people started tearing up the pyramid without any consideration for those already there, and we saw a nasty collision, as well as some near-misses. The site itself is pretty small and, aside from the restoration work being done on the carvings, doesn't have much going for it that you can't see elsewhere. I wouldn't recommend making a special trip to see it, but, if you're in the area and want to go, make sure you go early.

Visited August 2013
Thank parslane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Illinois
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Not big but beautiful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 8, 2013

I have been to many Mayan ruins.. This one is not so spread out and as large but well worth the trip...It is amazing how well they preserved The main temple ...It still has the original Plaster on parts of it..You can still climb all of the ruins here..which they have stopped most of that at the other ruins Our guide was outstanding.....You have to go...

Visited September 2013
1 Thank JoeH_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“so much fun!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2013

Ek Balam from the beginning sounded like the best place to go to. You got to go to the Cenote, the ruins and have a Mayan buffet. My favourite part was the Cenote- we had to rappel into the 25m deep cave down into fresh water it was terrifying but such a great experience! Once you got down into the fresh water there were diving boards and zip lining, soooo much fun! After the Cenote was the Mayan buffet where they had soup, fruits, rice, chicken, tamales, empanadas and more. It was delicious! Once the lunch buffet was done we made our way to the ruins, they were awesome (and tiring to walk up haha). The view from the top was amazing. Overall, it was a great experience and I'm glad I got to go to Ek Balam!

p.s: it was a whole day out, bring snacks and drinks for the ride on the bus and wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Andrea P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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