Rise early for your full-day tour on the Yucatán Peninsula, starting with pickup from your hotel in Playa del Carmen. You’ll visit the archaeological zone of Ek Balam (about a 2-hour drive west) and enjoy outdoor activities in the nearby Cenote Maya Park, located in the Valladolid area. Depending on the day’s schedule, your guide will determine which site to kick off your morning.
Spend about 90 minutes wandering through the more recently excavated and restored ruins of Ek Balam, meaning "black jaguar," an ancient city located in the northern lowlands about 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Chichen Itza. Dating back to 100 BC, Ek Balam thrived as a Maya city and ceremonial center until 1200 BC before being suddenly abandoned. Pass by jungle-covered temples and note the well-preserved statues, while hearing more history and lore from your guide.
Pass through a ball court, an arch typical of Maya architecture, and arrive at the base of the Acropolis pyramid, 105 feet (32 meters) tall. Come upon a massive sculpture of a jaguar’s mouth, along with figures of winged men; they are said to be guarding the entrance to the underworld. Learn about the gallery of rooms inside the base, and then make your way up the pyramid and take in beautiful views of the jungle.
Spend the rest of the day at the nearby Cenote Maya Park, home to one of the area’s most impressive swimming holes, 262 feet (80 meters) in diameter. Descend a wooden staircase made using Maya techniques, reach a natural pool and enjoy a cool dip here from the hot weather. Afterward, try a number of optional activities offered in the park, including more swimming, diving, rappelling and ziplining.
You’ll also partake in a blessing ceremony with a Maya shaman, and have the chance to visit a colorful market selling handcraft items made by Maya artisans. For lunch, dig into a traditional Maya buffet, featuring dishes like lime soup, chaya tamales, beans, vegetables, rice, chicken, handmade tortillas, fruits and flavored water.
Your tour concludes with drop-off at your Playa del Carmen hotel.
Cenote Maya Park
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