A jewel in the crown of Yucatan's queen, colonial Merida
Another adventure with Roberto? Porque no?
Ek Balam, the ruins and its cenote, and the colonial city of Valladolid
This is a trip that only makes sense if the authorities continue to permit visitors to climb the Acropolis pyramid of Ek-Balam (“black jaguar” in Mayan and the name of the city’s founder).
Ek-Balam is a unique and exhilarating piece of archeology.Just your basic, second-drawer pyramid complex until by happenstance in the 1990’s a workman removing vegetation loosened stones.The stones fell and there, up about 70 feet, having been hidden for a thousand or so years, a drop-your-jaw elaborate throne/altar/tomb adorned with multiple, near life-sized and very naturalistic three-dimensional human figures.And how about a supersized serpent’s mouth as a doorway?The effeminate male on the cornice is a puzzler and you’ll love the guide’s explanation, if you hire one.It is supposed that when the city was thought soon to be under attack, the then ruler caused this amazing part of the pyramid to be covered with rubble and cut stone to hide it from the expected invaders.The only way to appreciate this wonder called El Trono (the throne) is to mount the steps of the pyramid. You cannot visualize it fully from the ground.If you cannot mount the steps, whether because of your acrophobia or the government’s issuance of new rules, a visit to Ek-Balam is not an Indispensable to the living of the good life.Supposing that you can climb the pyramid to see El Trono, you really ought to climb to the very top of the pyramid and enjoy a breathtaking view.
Now you’re done at Ek-Balam.The other structures at the site are all very nice to be sure, but are not as nice as what comes next.
Right outside the Ek-Balam archeological site, there is a place to rent a bicycle to ride on a little private dirt path to a cenote (an underground river whose roof has collapsed) about 1.25 miles away. You can walk and save a nickel, but life is short.The cenote is privately owned.It is enormous as cenotes go.It has a diameter of about 75 feet.It is crystal clear and if you rent snorkeling equipment, you can see black, blind cave fish that are just as surprised as you are that a collapsed cave roof has brought them into contact with you.They live in the underground river system and hence, the absence of working eyes.There is a set of stairs that takes you down from terra firma about 25 feet to the water.There are life preservers.
Roberto will now take to the nearby colonial town of Valladolid for lunch at Casa de Paha.It is not touristic.The food is great Yucatecan and is inexpensive.The people who work here are very nice, but at this point, you may well be observing that almost all the Mayans are very kind and sweet.
Roberto will get you back to Casa Santiago in the latter part of the afternoon.
Roberto’s charges for this day trip do not include lunch or the admission fees to the ruins and the cenote.
casa santiago 562 Calle 63 x 70 y 72, Centro (Santiago), Merida, Yucatan 97000
or 517 Calle 70 x 63 y 65, Centro (Santiago), Merida, Yucatan 97000
(The property is L shaped and hence has two addresses)
Skype (US number that rings in Merida) 1 314 266 1888 Sergio the manager's cell if you call while in Mexico: 999 997 4058 Sergio's cell if you call outside Mexico: 011 521 999 997 4058