Ek Balam Mayan Ruins
The Ek Balam Mayan Ruins are located in beautiful Yucatan, Mexico. The ruins are only a couple of hours away from the popular tourist hot spots of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. Surprisingly, the Ek Balam Mayan Ruins are still relatively untouched from the masses of people looking to take a day trip from their all-inclusive resorts. Chichen Itza seems to gets most of the tour bus traffic and heavy tourist crowds.
The structures at the Ek Balam Mayan Ruins are still open for climbing. This is in contrast to Chichen Itza and some of the other more heavily visited sites. You can really get up close to the beauty and mystery of this former seat of a Mayan kingdom. The Acropolis on the North Side of the site is the largest site at the Ek Balam Mayan Ruins. It is believed to contain the tomb of Ukit Kan Le’k Tok’, an important ruler in Ek Balam. (Ek Balam Wikipedia) This particular structure has 107 steps to the top and the stairs are quite steep. It is a decent climb and you have to watch your footing, but you are rewarded with a beautiful view at the top.
Valladolid is the closest city to both the Ek Balam Mayan Ruins, and Chichen Itza. This quaint city of around 50,000 inhabitants is a great jump off spot for both sites. Ek Balam is about 27 kilometers north of Valladolid and Chichen Itza is approximately 53 kilometers west of the city. Collectivo taxis operate a fixed route from Valladolid to the Ek Balam Mayan ruins.
There is also a cenote at Ek Balam Mayan Ruins which is perfect for cooling off after your climb. The cenote is a couple of kilometers away from the main archaeological sites. You can either walk or hire a local bicycle taxi. When I toured the site, there were many bicycle taxis available. My driver was friendly and helpful!
Many people would have trouble finding Merida, Mexico on a map but this city of around a million people in Yucatan State, Mexico is truly a hidden gem. You have to experience it yourself to really understand why, but the city is bustling with all sorts of activities like the Bici-Ruta (or Sunday bicycle route).
Merida’s main boulevard, Paseo de Montejo is closed to cars on Sunday mornings and turns into a fitness frenzy as the people of Merida (and some tourists) ride skateboards, bicycle, walk, or jog up this beautiful boulevard in the amazing state of Yucatan, Mexico. A map is not necessary either as the route is well-marked and most of it runs straight up the Paseo. There are many bike rentals as well setup along the Paseo on Sundays for the cycling route. I believe I paid around 20 pesos an hour to rent the bike and it was a new bike in great condition!
Find Merida, Yucatan On A Map Of Mexico And Get Ready For Some Sunday Cycling
If you want to see Merida, Mexico on Google Maps: Merida, Mexico on Google Maps
I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people used bicycles in Tulum, Mexico. They were parked everywhere in both the Pueblo (town) and down at la Playa (beach).
Tulum is really two different towns connected together by a 5 kilometer (ish) road down to the beach. The pueblo is where most people stay or live and where most of the restaurants are. La playa is where you can spend your days, enjoying the sun and the beautiful sand.
The road down to the beach has a well-maintained bicycle path that runs parallel to it, which was great! I did find though that once you got down to the water, it became a little dangerous for cycling. The bike path ends and you have to share the road with vehicles (often speeding).
In Tulum you see bicycles everywhere and they are (one) of the preferred methods of transport. Cabs were plentiful as well in the area and quite affordable, but I love the freedom and health benefits of a bike. Plus, it fits well with the idea of sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism. Our hosts provided free bikes to their guests, but there were also many places to rent bikes in town.
It took us approximately 20 minutes to cycle down to the beach and it was definitely refreshing to jump in the ocean after the ride!!
Do you have any other favourite travel spots around the world where bicycle travel is encouraged for both locals and travelers alike?
Previous Tulum post:
Tulum Tourism Off The Power Grid
Taking probiotics for healthy stomach bacteria is a great way to enhance your overall health.
This is even more important when you are travelling and being exposed to all sorts of new foods and unknown bacteria.
I often experience stomach issues when travelling to a new country and decided to try probiotics before and during a recent trip.
I was pleasantly surprised when I experienced no gastrointestinal problems during the entire trip even though I was indulging in plenty of local street food and drink.
I always have some pepto handy just in case, but the probiotics definitely seem to help by introducing some healthy bacteria into the gut.
The versatility of tea tree oil makes it a great travel companion. It can be used in so many situations and is like an all in one first aid kit.
Tea tree oil is anti bacterial and antiseptic making it a perfect substance to have on hand for cleaning small cuts and wounds. A possible life-saver especially if you are an off-the-beaten path style traveller. Hospitals or even basic medical care or clean water are quite often, out of reach luxuries in many travel locations.
Finding a clean washroom while traveling can also often be a challenge. Tea tree oil can be used to disinfect surfaces or clean your hands in almost any situation.
I always travel with a small bottle of tea tree oil…so many possible uses and so much better than packing a bunch of chemicals.
If you are looking to get more sunshine in your life and boost your vitamin D levels, your best bets all appear to be either in the southwest US or northeast Africa. These two areas have all ten of the top spots for most sunshine hours in a year.
Yuma Arizona, located in Western Arizona, near the borders of Mexico and California is considered to be the sunniest place on earth with over 4000 hours of sunshine each year. Phoenix Arizona is second followed by Asswan Egypt, Las Vegas Nevada, Dongola Sudan, Tucson Arizona, Faya-Largeau Chad, Kharga Egypt, Abu Hamed Sudan and El Paso Texas.
List of sunshine hours for top 10 sunniest locations: w0rld’s sunniest places and countries
#vitamind #lovemyvitamind #arizona #arizonasun
It came as no surprise to hear that Tulum, Mexico took the number one spot in Trip Advisor’s annual 2016 Top Destinations on the Rise list. Mexico has so much varied terrain, great weather and over 9000 kilometers of beautiful (warm) coastline, that there are probably dozens, if not hundreds of destinations in the country that could win this award.
What did surprise me though while I was researching Tulum is that many of the businesses in the area operate off the power grid. Tulum was up until recently a small fishing village without access to traditional city supplied power and water. Most, if not all of the hundred or so hotels that operate along the beach generate their own electricity with wind or sun. There are also no high rise, all-inclusive style resorts along this stretch of the beach.
To read more about sustainable tourism in Tulum and the use of solar energy throughout the country of Mexico see Mexico’s solar boom on solarenergy.net