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“This place was the most BANG for your buck in Mexico! Don't miss!”
Review of Ek Balam Cenote

Ek Balam Cenote
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Ek Balam Tour from Cancun Including Cenote Maya Park
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Chichen Itza, Ek Balam and Cenote Hubiku Tour from Playa del Carmen
Ranked #2 of 41 things to do in Valladolid
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 22 July 2013

The Cenote is beautiful. It is well kept and run professionally. We had been in Piste/Chichen Itza and decided to spend an extra night in Valladolid to explore more ruins and the cenotes. We took a taxi from the taxi stand next to the main bus station in Valladolid(3 blocks from the central plaza). the taxi ride cost 150 pesos(about $12 us) each way. We explored the Ek Balam ruins first and were very ready for a cool dip in the Cenote after the ruins. We were a little short on time (and very hot) so we paid for the entrance including the tricycle taxi ride to and from the cenote(30 pesos each). There are "locker rooms" for changing clothes and showering before entering the Cenote. There are lockers available for free but you have to have your own padlock. We just laid our belongings on a ledge on the side of the cenote and kept an eye on them but felt we had nothing to worry about. The Cenote is one of mother natures gifts to us. Truly splendid. There is a zip line across the rim and a rappel down into the cenote(100 pesos each). They rent masks, fins, and life jackets but I am not sure how much as we had brought our own for diving in Cozumel. There is a rope swing and a couple dive platforms(low and high). I only wish we had left for Ek Balam earlier so we would have more time to play in the water. 2 hours was not enough. Speaking of leaving earlier...there is a collectivo that leaves from the bus terminal in Valladolid at 8:30am that is only 50 pesos each way(I believe it returns at 1pm but forgot to check). Save yourself $130 per person that the tour charges and take a bus to Valladolid from cancun or playa del Carmen then make your way to the ruins and Cenote from there. We stayed at Hotel Maria de la Luz on the central plaza in Valladolid. It had a great view of the church and plaza at night but the rest was only okay(breakfast buffet = okay, bed was uncomfortable, and it is noisy being on the main square).

3  Thank salty_dog_68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 July 2013

One of the best things about Ek Balam is it's relatively empty of tourists who flock to better known sites like Chichen Itza nearby. It's worthwhile to climb to the top of the castillo (the large structure with a zillion steps) for a magnificent view of the surrounding jungle and Chichen in the distance. Mid-way up the stairs are some excellent carved figures worth a look and a few photos. El Balam is distinctive in that it's a "walled city," unusual in Mayan sites. It's located close to the main highway that runs between Cancun and Merida.

Thank Chelsea42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2013

We toured Ek'Balam and it was magnificent! The Acropolis is stunning and huge. The cenote at Ek'Balam was used for sacrifices.

Thank nelllang507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2013

We booked this excursion through another company that then books directly with local tour companies. Our actual tour guide was Thomas from Alltournative Tours. He was excellent! Our tour was given in both english and french. It was a little strange at first as we were the only ones in our small group of 12 that spoke english. As the day went on, Thomas was wonderful about translating and making us all feel comfortable. It was amazing to see how much could be communicated without speaking. An experience like a cenote is one to be shared!

The car ride was a little rough. Lots of erratic swerving and quick braking and acceleration.

The ruins were amazing! It was really neat to be able to climb them. We purchased biodegradable sunscreen, it was awful! Turned us all white and then ran off of us! They never checked so we would have used normal sunblock. Thomas was great about keeping us hydrated and had a great relationship with the locals. I felt like we really got an inside tour with him.

The Cenote really was spectacular! I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life! Thomas again was really fun. He was riding the zip line and swimming with us. One of our party was a little boy who was scared to ride the zip line, when he finally did we all cheered. Thomas did a great job of cultivating friendships.

After the Cenote we were treated to a traditional Mayan meal. Tamales, empanadas, tomato soup, fresh fruit, chicken cooked in banana leaves and more. It was delicious! For the less adventurous there was also spaghetti.

When we come back we will be booking another tour with Altournative tours and we will be requesting Thomas!

3  Thank chlsmiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2013

WE took the day trip to see the Ek Balam ruins and the afternoon visit to the cenote organized by Alltournative. Our guide was named Frederic who was Belgian and he did about 90% of the explanations in French because 4 of our group were from Quebec and 2 were Belgian. I was not expecting that in Mexico but it's all the same to me since I'm fluent. The ruins were pretty impressive but it began raining right after we reached the top. My wife and I stayed under an overhang for about 25 minutes waiting for a break but we got soaked. No big deal, it added to the fun. Fortunately we went to the cenote in the afternoon so we were going to get wet anyway. The cenote was really beautiful and we were both at a loss for words. We could not believe we were there, doing something this cool. To top it off, the photos taken by the staff were great so we bought them even though it's a cash grab. There is some comfort knowing that the locals are benefiting. The meal prepared for us was off the hook, never had anything quite like it and it was prepared slowly over charcoal with love.

An important experience for us was driving through the Mayan villages. Because the drive is 2 hours each way it was eye-opening to say the least. The landscape is already pretty bleak with its rocky terrain but to see how they live was surprising. I wanted to add this review to the Alltournative page but they don't let you review the different excursions separately. This contributed greatly towards making our week truly memorable and it is well worth the asking price! I'd give it an easy 4.5/5 the only drawback is the long drive (which itself was educational).

1  Thank Nathan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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