How did I get to be so lucky! I had the opportunity to go exploring once again as we were fortunate enough to have a return visit from Trish (she must really like our place). Her friend Diane accompanied her for her first visit to Mexico. I’ve been wanting to go to the ruins at Ek’Balam for quite some time and the time was now.
The trip started out with a bang as apparently I made a mistake booking our bus tickets. We arrived at the ADO bus station in centro in plenty of time only to be told our tickets were for another bus station on the other side of the city. Panic!
We were treated to an exciting taxi ride, weaving in and out through the busy streets of Mérida. Hats off to our driver. He must of smelled my desperation and delivered us safely to the proper bus station with only minutes to spare! He was compensated accordingly.
A mere 2 hour bus ride later we arrived into Valladolid. After the hustle and bustle of Mérida, Valladolid felt peaceful in comparison. We noted clean streets, colorful buildings and scores of restaurants to choose from. Also an abundance of tourists.
We ate at Le Kaat, a vegan restaurant. They had a huge menu and were fairly reasonably priced. My iced hibiscus with ginger was refreshing and the vegan burger made with beets and lentils was delightful. I sadly had no room for the avocado pie.
Well fed we had hoped to do a little exploring of Valladolid and possibly visit the cenote located in the city. There was nowhere to store our bags. Believe me we tried. It was just too darn hot to be lugging them around so we thought it best to head to the square to secure a taxi to our accommodation in the Pueblo of Ek Balam.
Wouldn’t you know it. Although there was hundreds (I exaggerate not) of taxis parked around the square, there was not a driver to be seen. Apparently they were on strike. What luck!
We did find a willing driver a few blocks away, with an old broken down taxi who agreed to take us to the Pueblo. Beggars can’t be choosers. Although his car didn’t feel or sound safe, he was a very courteous driver and we did have the virgin Mary on our side.
We were dropped off in the middle of Ek’ Balam. A tiny little village made up of dusty streets that were filled with kids playing happily and barking dogs. The streets were lined with maya houses where brightly made hammocks hung outside for sale. There were also a couple of small, dimly lit tiendas selling mostly pop and chips and a few other wares.
Later on we witnessed a taxi unloading its passengers. They were tightly squeezed into the front and back seats. Four came out of the trunk! I suppose you could say we arrived in luxury.
We booked into Genesis Eco-Oasis. My friend Jenny stayed here years ago and highly recommended it. Thanks Jenny. What a gem of a place. Click on the link to read more as the owner of Genesis has great vision and you can find out about all the projects that she is involved in.
The next morning we mounted our bikes and headed out early for the ruins of Ek’ Balam. It’s a pleasant easy cycle to the ruins. There’s a shortcut through the jungle, but that comes later on the way home.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed with these ruins. Do I have ruin fatigue? I don’t know. Although they were nice and you could climb to the top of all the ruins and the views were great, I felt the entrance price was somewhat steep for what was there. I think something like dancing monkeys would of made it better. Just kidding.
We were looking forward to visiting the cenote nearby to cool off and hired a bike taxi to take us there. This place was spectacular.
There’s a restaurant on site and a palapa covered rest area with hammocks for use. Next time I would skip the ruins and come spend the whole day here.
One last event to round out the trip involved learning how to make homemade corn tortillas at the home of Doña Guadalupe.
We sat on stools in her smokey kitchen watching as she ground the maize on a heavy stone, called a metate, handed down from her great grandparents to her grandparents to her parents and now her. The thatched ceiling of her kitchen was blackened with creosote from years of cooking.
She proudly explained to us that she gets up early every day to grind the corn for the days tortillas. When she’s not making tortillas she’s hand embroidering table cloths and clothes to sell. Or making hammocks. Her day ends at 11 o’clock at night. Mas o menos.
As we strolled back to Genesis in the dark, warm tortillas in hand, crickets chirping, I felt grateful for this experience and for all that I have in my life. I am so lucky.
Video of our trip using the power director app.