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?
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Tulum Tourism Off The Power Grid