2 days - December 2017
Another day another Mayan ruins !
Valladolid is perfectly located in the middle of Yucatán to have all the Cenote, ruins and colonial towns on your doorstep.
Unfortunately we won't be able to do all of them (the region having maaaanyyy cenote and ruins) but we still had a good taste.
Ek balam means "black jaguar" in maya and has been discovered recently (in 1994) and archeologists assume that 70% is still to be discovered. Everything was buried or covered by vegetation following its defeat against Chichen Itza. Hence a lot of rare artefacts like plaster sculptures are surprisingly well preserved.
We spent 3 hours climbing pyramids, discovering Mayan arts, relaxing on top of the pyramid (like our new friend the iguana), looking for birds, parrots and monkeys (none saw unfortunately!), learning on their history and way of livings (a lot of sacrifices again).
The view from the top pyramid (31 metres, impressive but we will climb a 71 metres pyramid in Tikal 2 weeks later ) offers uninterrupted views on the preserved jungle. A bit like Tulum with its great views on the Caribbean beaches they knew how to pick their spots to enjoy life ;)
We again spent hours trying to figure out how they built these pyramids, how they carried rocks, put them on top of each other, all of this without our modern skills.
At the exit of Ek balam , 2 kilometres further there is the best Cenote we visited: X'Canche. Feeling like Tarzan or Indiana Jones, we jumped into the water, from the liana, the platforms, into a crystal-clear water (but so cold !)
We were a maximum of 10 people in the Cenote so not as touristy as Tulum and co and we loved it. Cedric made a lot of different jumping figures including one phenomenal falling flat on the back making everyone laugh!
We then decided to head back to Valladolid. The day before we tested a nice Mexican restaurant (for locals) and discovered la sopa de Lima ( a nice light soup with chicken, spices and lemon). Unfortunately we haven't been able to test it as just in front of the restaurant a dog arrived from nowhere and attacked me... few seconds later my hand was covered in blood, I didn't know if I had been bitten or scratched only and thought straight away about rabies...
I was good to test Mexican, Belizean and Guatemalean health system to get my 5 anti-rabies injection in the next month...
3 weeks from the attack, I have a nice souvenir from Valladolid that will be on me for life: a scar on my left hand ! Good news rabies still haven't declared so I think we can say I'm safe! what an adventure. (Amanda you wanted adventure stories, this is one I think ;) )
Except the wild dogs Valladolid is a nice little town with colonial building, a nice church, many museums about cacao and a magnificent street : calzada de Los frailes with gorgeous Colonial houses. The San Bernardino Covent is also beautiful and you have a light show every weekend (that we missed due to the dog attack...)
Another great couple of days with culture, ruins, relaxing time in the Cenote and great architecture and food. Valladolid is not really on the touristic map but deserve a couple of days as perfectly located and with an authentic atmosphere!
# Valladolid is the perfect spot to get around the region and discover Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Rio Largartos, Coba, Ek Balam and many Cenote
# Try the Sopa de Lima del Restaurante de la Selva. Yummy and cheap!
# Be careful of the wild dogs…
# Make sure to be at Ek Balam at 8am to avoid the tourists (170 pesos per person)
# We only did the X’Canche Cenote and we loved it! There are many in Valladolid though and apparently they are good as well (50 pesos per person)