Ek Balam

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Ek Balam: Our most recommended tours and activities

Ek Balam & Cenote Maya: Full-Day Tour

1. Ek Balam & Cenote Maya: Full-Day Tour

Explore the archaeological site of Ek Balam, a top regional attraction that has been recently restored. You’ll also visit the mysterious Cenote Maya, a natural pool that features beautiful rock formations. Your full-day tour begins at the Cenote Maya Park, where you’ll descend into the region’s most impressive cenote by a large wooden staircase built using ancient Maya techniques. Experience a range of optional adventures at the park, such as swimming in the cenote, diving, rappelling, swinging on a Tarzan vine, and more. Visit a small, colorful handicraft market, where your purchases of locally made items benefit Maya artisans. See a Mayan ritual, and be part of an authentic blessing ceremony performed by a shaman. Enjoy a Mayan buffet of traditional dishes such as lime soup, chaya tamales, beans, vegetables, rice, chicken, handmade tortillas, fruits, and flavored water. Next on the itinerary is visit to the Ek Balam site. Dating from the 11th century, this is one of the most impressive ceremonial centers of the Yucatan peninsula. Admire the temples and plazas and unique high-relief sculptures.

Cancun/Playa del Carmen: Chichen Itza, Hubiku & Ek'Balam

2. Cancun/Playa del Carmen: Chichen Itza, Hubiku & Ek'Balam

Benefit from pick up at your hotel in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Then, journey towards the ancient city of Chichen Itza to learn more about the Mayan civilization. Discover the magic of the Yucatan on this day trip from Cancun to visit two Mayan ruin sites and a stunning cenote. Your expert guide will lead you throughout the day, sharing fascinating facts and folklore of the Mayan civilization. Get ready to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza, one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the world. You’ll also visit Ek Balam, an off-the-beaten-track site with incredible carvings and a soaring Acropolis pyramid you can climb.  To refresh from the Yucatan heat, you’ll immerse yourself in the crystalline waters of Cenote Hubiku.

Cancún: Chichén Itzá, Ek Balam, Cenote & Lunch

3. Cancún: Chichén Itzá, Ek Balam, Cenote & Lunch

Go see some sights while visiting the Cancun area with this day trip to Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. See an ancient wonder and take a refreshing swim in a cenote. Be among the first visitors of the day to explore Chichen Itza. Let your guide broaden your knowledge of archeology and Mayan culture. Imagine how the Mayans once lived in this city. Stroll through the well-preserved ruins as your guide tells you about Mayan mythology, philosophy, and cosmology. Gain a deeper understanding of the meanings behind the stone sculptures and platforms. After admiring the views, take a break in the Cenote Saamal. Get a break from the heat with a refreshing swim right next to its waterfall. When you're finished with your swim, savor a Mexican buffet lunch. To finish off your tour, visit the Ek Balam archaeological site and explore the Mayan ruins. Climb the pyramids for a panoramic view of the Mayan jungle at your feet. Have some free time to explore on your own afterward.

Yucatan: Self-Guided Mayan Ruins Walking Tour Bundle

4. Yucatan: Self-Guided Mayan Ruins Walking Tour Bundle

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. About the Chichen Itza Tour Chichen Itza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the Seven Wonders of The World and is famous the world over. Its iconic pyramid-shaped temple is the poster-child for the Mayan civilization, explaining why the Chichen Itza tour is on most travelers’ bucket lists. I know it was on mine! The only way to do the Chichen Itza tour is to go there by yourself, either in a car or staying in a nearby town. About the Tulum Tour Ah, Tulum. This ancient walled city perched on the edge of a cliff in Quintana Roo overlooking the Caribbean ocean in Mexico is quite a sight in person. Tulum’s greatest attraction is its location. It stands on a bluff facing the rising sun looking out on views of the Caribbean that are nothing less than spectacular. The Tulum ruins site is compact and easy to explore independently in only an hour or so. The self-guided Tulum tour takes you through the rise and fall of the Mayan empire. About the Ek Balam Tour Ek Balam: Ancient Maya’s Best-Kept Secret and often overshadowed little brother to uber-crowded Chichen Itza, is a special place. There are Mayan Ruins scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula, but few rivals the intimate experience available here. Between getting there, exploring along the way, and eventually scaling the massive temple, you are guaranteed a fantastic day at one of Cancun’s favorite ruin sites yet. The word Ek Balam means “black jaguar” in the Yucatec Maya language, and carvings of jaguars can be seen on the structures and ruins throughout the site. Ek Balam is a compact and fascinating ruins site with impressive ancient pyramids and structures with exciting architecture. About the Coba Ruins Tour Not a lot is needed to explain the popularity of the Coba Ruins. If you want to experience the ruins independently, on your own, the Coba Ruins tour is what you should book. Enjoy the sights without the group tour rushing you.

Cancun: Ek Balam Self-Guided Tour

5. Cancun: Ek Balam Self-Guided Tour

The adventure begins near the Ek Balam visitors center. Head deeper into the site while learning about the fascinating pre-European history of the Mayan civilization. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Listen as thousands of years of history are narrated by a professional voice actor. Hear stories about the arrival of the Spanish, and learn how their conquest forever changed the continent and its people. Cross through the remnants of an ancient defensive wall and arrive at a ball court: the site where the ancient Mayans played an intense and sometimes dangerous game that was something like a cross between soccer and basketball. The catch? They used a ball that weighed about 20 pounds! Next, enter the Circular Steam Bath, a site used for religious ceremonies and to heal the sick and wounded. Admire the ancient Mayan architecture and discover why they built things in the way that they did. After, admire Acropolis, the largest standing structure on the peninsula. This immense building is King Ukit Kan Le'k Tok’s most enduring legacy. What’s more, you can actually climb the stairs to the top. Along the way, admire a pair of hieroglyphic serpents, which the tour will help to explain. The Mayans used a great deal of animal imagery in their art, and everything had a specific meaning. After that comes the tomb of Ukit Kan Le'k Tok’. It is considered the best-preserved tomb of any Mayan king, and it fittingly impressive for such an effective ruler. Finally, you will reach the top of the pyramid. From here, you can see for miles in every direction. You’ll even be able to see the outline of Chichen Itza on a clear day! The tour concludes here, after detailing the plaza visible below.

From Quintana Roo: Ek Balam Mayan Ruins and Cenote Day Trip

6. From Quintana Roo: Ek Balam Mayan Ruins and Cenote Day Trip

Take a day trip to the Ek Balam Mayan ruins and explore its impressive structures. Experience a spiritual Mayan ceremony and enter a cenote, sacred to Mayan culture. Rappel and slackline through geological formations and swim in picturesque waters. Depart from your hotel in Cancún or Riviera Maya and head to Ek Balam, an ancient Mayan complex thought to be a sacred city. Visit the "White House of Reading," constructed by the Maya ruler Ukit Kan Le'k Tok'. View its symbolism with themes relating to the underworld. Experience a shaman-led Mayan ceremony to ask for permission to go inside the cenote. Enter the cenote and enjoy activities such as rappelling, slacklining, or swimming. Have fun with Tarzan-like vines and cool off in crystalline waters.

From Merida: Visit to Ek Balam Community & Cenote Tour

7. From Merida: Visit to Ek Balam Community & Cenote Tour

Start the tour with an 8:30 AM pick up from your hotel in Merida. Set off on a 2-hour drive towards the small village of Ek Balam where Mayan is the most spoken language.  First, enjoy a relaxing visit to the town in the company of a local guide. See how this community brings together traditions and modernity, using tourism in a new way to reinforce its identity and improve the quality of life of its community while safeguarding the natural and cultural richness it possesses. Get to know the traditional way of life and households of the Yucatecan Mayan population. Participate in workshops as you learn how to prepare handmade tortillas, how to weave hammocks, and make machine embroidery.  Then, continue on to the X-Canché Cenote, located within the archaeological site of Ek Balam, making it the ideal place to rest before or after visiting it. To reach the cenote, take a 2-km ride by bicycle or trici-taxi (tuk tuk) through the jungle. Refresh yourself and rest while appreciating the biodiversity that revolves around the body of water. At the end of your visit, enjoy a traditional Yucatecan dish at the cooperative’s restaurant. Visit the archeological site, recognized for its entirely Mayan architecture. Finally, at about 5 PM, return to Merida where your tour concludes.

Yucatán: Ek' Balam and Cenote Hubiku Tour

8. Yucatán: Ek' Balam and Cenote Hubiku Tour

Walk through the jungle that saw the Mayan people blooming. Ek' Balam has the perfect experience of avoiding the crowded sites and the Acropolis, the main building, is still open for you to climb. Ek' Balam is one of the latest findings of the Mayan world, the main pyramid and the stelae located on the bottom of the monument count the story of this important city and its emperors. The different buildings surrounding the area include the Oval Palace, the twin pyramids and a beautiful arch marking the entrance to this ancient city. Head to cenote Hubiku, a sacred entrance to the underworld on the Mayan beliefs, this natural pool has a semi-open cave letting the sunbeams to light your swimming. The Don Tadeo Tequila Museum will guide you through an interactive experience to know the process to make one of the most popular beverages in the world made in Mexico.  You will experience an example of the Mayan type of house where you will see the traditions of this culture, have a taste of Cochinita Pibil, the emblematic dish of Mayan people. Then head to the completely natural shade provided by the same trees of the jungle and the hammocks hanging, the most relaxing part of the entire trip, feeling the wind pampering you. A buffet lunch is served, local cuisine of a variety of dishes cooked with pork, chicken, and beef. One soft drink is included with your meal

From Mérida: Farming, Cenote, and Ek Balam Pyramids Tour

9. From Mérida: Farming, Cenote, and Ek Balam Pyramids Tour

Discover fascinating Mayan culture and history on a full-day ecotour from Mérida. Start with pickup at 6:30 AM and drive to Ek Balam, a village where Mayan is the most-spoken language. Enjoy a delicious breakfast to build your strength, before setting out on a bike ride to explore local farming practices. Visit a milpa, a Mesoamerican crop growing system, accompanied by a local guide. Taste traditional pozole and sweets made from regional crops, as you learn about the Mesoamerican agricultural system. Enter the k'áax, or jungle, to learn about traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and trees used in the construction of houses. Afterwards, start the 2-kilometer journey by bicycle or tuk-tuk through the jungle to get to Cenote Xcanche. Refresh yourself in the cool waters and appreciate the biodiversity around the crystal clear cenote. Before leaving, enjoy a traditional Yucatecan lunch at the cooperative’s restaurant. The final stop on the tour is at the Ek Balam archeological site, famous for its stunning Mayan architecture and its importance in pre-Hispanic times. Admire the incredible views from the top of the pyramids. Return to Merida, where you’ll be dropped off at approximately 7 PM.

Other Sightseeing Options in Ek Balam

Want to discover all there is to do in Ek Balam? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Ek Balam

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 44 reviews

The excursion was great. We stopped at the Maya Cenote. We first experienced a sacred ritual ceremony before continuing to the Maya Cenote, where we were able to repel into the water. It was a once in a life time experience. We then had a wonderful lunch before proceeding to the Ek Balam Ruins. The guide walked us through the entire experience explaining all of the sites and what life would have been like when it was a city. We had a amazing driver who answered all of our questions and made sure our vacation excursion memoriable. The only problem we had was we had a 2 hour pick up delay due to our driver having a flat tire. It was a Sunday morning and he had trouble getting it repaired. However he made up for the time throughout the day.

Great cenote, manageable EK Balam, enough time and the tour guide can finally tell something interesting. In addition, in English that is understandable. Of our many trips to the Yucatan, it was the best in terms of quality. We were even picked up on time - not a matter of course in the Yucatan. The only negative thing was the price policy for the photos (US $ 50-65) and souvenirs. Those are really nice moon prices, beyond the pain threshold. But it's your own fault, then nothing is bought from the photos and "original Maya handicrafts".

Wow!!! Let me tell you something ! Ek Balaam should be on everyone’s archeological sites list. It’s up there with Chichén Itza and Uxmal! It’s hard to get to but we’ll worth it !! Israel our tour guide was amazing !!! Jack of all trades kinda fellow ! The cenote to end it’s absolutely amazing !!

The tour guide Pastor and the driver Miguel really went out of their way to make everyone happy and comfortable. Pastor is part Mayan and knew a ton of history about the locations. I also really, really appreciated the Covid adherence policies during the trip. Worth every penny.

A nice blend of adventure and culture, including ancient and modern. The cenote is incredible. Ek Balam is preserved so well, it's hard to believe it was excavated only 20+ years ago. The Mayan ceremony and tour of the neighboring towns was an added bonus to the two highlights.