Playa del Carmen, Mexico's virtual guidebook written by locals

trip planning

anna and james ek balam valladolid tour

This itinerary is ONLY available for private tours. It is not on our tour calendar. Please contact us via the Private Tours page.

tour itinerary

• We leave Playa del Carmen no later than 7.30 am.

During the ride to Ek Balam, your guide will give you a briefing of the history of the Mayan people and the area we travel through. Before getting to Ek Balam we will have a sandwich to give us the energy we need to see this amazing ancient city.

On our visit to Ek Balam, a little gem of a Mayan City, you will learn more about Mayan life and traditions. During our tour of this important site, a local site guide specialized on Ek Balam will join us.

About half an hour from Ek Balam lies the small colonial town of Valladolid, which we will visit next. Valladolid is one of the first towns the Conquistadors built in the Americas and it certainly has an interesting history. By the quaint Zocalo (the main square) we will enjoy authentic Mexican food served with fresh fruit drinks.

• After this late lunch we visit the amazing cenote X’keken in the town of Dzitnup, just outside of Valladolid.

• On our way home there may be time to stop in one of the little Mayan villages to pick up some beautiful handicrafts.

• We will be back in Playa del Carmen at around 7.30 pm. tours - designed for people who 'don't do tours'

Ek Balam is one of the most fascinating Mayan sites in the area. Not only does it boast some of the most monumental Mayan buildings on the Yucatan peninsula, it also features a wall of stucco unique in the world, which you just have to see to believe.

The Ruins of Ek Balam
Until fairly recently, Ek Balam was an obscure site that not many people had ever visited. A few years ago, a team of achaeologists here found an amazing treasure - a tomb containing thousands of ancient artifacts and surrounded by a wall of stucco art. These treasures were hidden behind walls for hundreds of years, untouched by weather and wind. This is a one-of-a-kind example of ancient art in general, and Mayan art in specific. You can read more about Ek Balam in our Ek Balam article. The site also features several monumental buildings with many interesting architectural details.

After our visit to the ruins of Ek Balam we head to town. Founded in 1543, Valldolid is a one of the very first Colonial cities in the Americas and there's still a lot of seriously old buildings in town, some with crests of old Spanish families. The cathedral on the main square is one of the oldest churches in the New World. We'll have time to stroll around a bit after our authentic Yucatecan lunch, which we have at the food market by the main square. We'll serve you a variety of traditional Yucatecan antojitos - tostadas, panuchos, salbutes, tacos, quesadillas and the Valladolid specialty, a sausage called longaniza. This is a real Mexican experience and super tasty!

Amazing cenote
The day is rounded off with a plunge in one of the most spectacular cenotes in the Yucatan, cenote X'Keken in the village of Dzitnup. A cenote is a sinkhole that works as an entrance to a cave system. It's often waterfilled with cool and amazingly clear water. X'keken is one of the grandest cenotes on the Yucatan peninsula.

This itinerary is ONLY available for private tours. It is not on our tour calendar. Please contact us via the Private Tours page.

The Details

What's included
all entrances; expert guiding; air-conditioned transportation with driver; sandwich before the ruin; snacks throughout the day (chips, cookies, nuts, granola bars); lunch; water, soft drinks and juices throughout the day; beer starting at lunch.

What to bring/wear
comfortable shoes/sandals, hat, sunglasses, sun protector, swim wear, towel, maybe an extra t-shirt, camera, personal belongings and some cash so you can tip your guide and driver, and in case you want to pick up some handicraft in one of the villages we pass on our way.

Group size
Our tours are limited in size since we use only a van, never a bus, so booking early is recommended.

Tour schedule
This tour is only offered as a private tour for the moment, and can be done any day of the week.

Is this tour for me?
Ek Balam is a highly interesting and unique Mayan ruin, well worth a visit. Chances are there won't be many other people there. The spectacular cenote of X'Keken and the colonial town of Valladolid are added bonuses.

The tour starts and finishes in Playa del Carmen. If you stay north of town, we'll meet you at a central pick-up location. We pick up at most hotels in and south of Playa del Carmen and Playacar.

Adults: 107 usd
Children 12 yrs or younger: 95 usd