Chichen Itza, Coba and the Archaeological site of Tulum are the most popular Mayan ruins in the area. Why not take a detour and head to a less popular archeological site that is off the beaten the track.
Ek Balam is closer to the Riviera Maya than Chichen Itza. Your travels take you through some interesting villages and can be combined with a visit to Valladolid, a small colonial city filled with local history and great restaurants.
This Mayan ruin is different from the others as it has a highly decorated and engraved main pyramid. Unlike Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum, visitors will see the true ability of the Maya less than two hours from the coast.
There are more than 5 reasons to visit Ek Balam but I think five may just convince you to venture out and give this archeological site a chance.
1. There is an onsite cenote to visit – This cenote is gorgeous! Bring your bathing suit and towel so you can hang out in this fresh water after your tour of the Ek Balam ruins. Note: there is an additional fee to enter the cenote.
2. The road trip is really fun – You need to pass through the small village of Temazon otherwise known as the smoked meat village. Stop at any of the stores in this village and try their amazing smoked meat! You are also very close to Valladolid, a historical colonial city worth visiting.
Get Your Guide Valladolid Written By Locals!
The History of this city will amaze you!
3. You can climb the main pyramid – Like Coba you can climb to the top of the main pyramid and see for miles! Have a good pair of walking shoes and climb the different levels not only to see the view but also the incredible engravings that make Ek balam so special.
4. It is a smaller site than Chichen Itza and Coba which lets you explore more areas close to the ruins. Average visit time is 2 to 2 and half hours.
5. The construction and design of the buildings are similar to Tikal and Uxmal – The construction of the main pyramid is very different from Coba and Chichen Itza. The rounded corners found on the buildings are very similar to Uxmal and Tikal, making this archeological site very different from others you will see in the region.
Check out our description and Ek Balam cheat sheet before you take this Mayan Ruin detour. We highly recommend combining this Mayan ruin adventure with a trip to Valladolid, a colonial city just 15 minutes south of the archeological site.
If you have been to Ek Balam, check out our list of all the Maya Ruins in the area! You just may be inspired to continue your Mayan ruin detours and visit more sites!