This weekend I went to Valladolid, a small city between Merida and Cancun. The city itself is small, but I think it is popular with tourists because it is close to a few of the popular pyramid sites so it is a good place to stay to visit them.
They had some Christmas decorations in the main square, but these were the only ones.
I bought something in the park called a Marquesita. It’s kind of a like a thin crepe that turns crispy when it cools, with cheese and a caramel sauce.
The first site I visited was Ek’balam, about 20km north of Valladolid. There are no busses there so the only options are a taxi (M$160) or a colectivo, which is basically a taxi that you share with 3 other people so the ride only costs M$40 each. The taxi driver just waits until he has 4 people before leaving. When I got to the street where the colectivos leave from there was one with 3 people already waiting, so we left straight away.
I got to the Ek’Balam early, about 8:45am, so the site was pretty empty, just two other people there. The site isn’t particularly large, but there are several buildings on the site, and you can see a few small ‘hills’ covered in trees that are actually buildings that haven’t been excavated yet. The advantage of visiting smaller sites like this is that we can climb on all of the ruins. There was a Dutch lady visiting the site with two young children and they were very excited to be able to climb on the ruins, and although I don’t know any Dutch, I’m sure I heard the boy say that he wanted to climb all of the buildings.
The main pyramid is about 32m, and as usual, is the highest thing around so you can see for miles. Only the front of the pyramid has been restored, the back just looks like a hill with lots of trees. The front of the pyramid has some temporary shelters covering the more fancy stone work, to shelter the works from the sun while the are restoring it. The pyramid has some really impressive stone work, though I’m not sure how much of it is original and how much is new.
When I left the site there were no collectivos there, just a regular taxi, and I didn’t want to pay the full M$160 to get back to town so I decided to wait for a collectivo. I waited for half an hour but none showed up. Then a German girl left the site and didn’t want to pay the full price for the taxi so she waited for a collectivo too. I think the taxi driver was eager to have a fare and to get back to town so he said he would take us both for M$140, so we shared the taxi back to Valladolid. The taxi driver was an absolutely crazy driver, he drove really close to the cars in front and overtook whenever he could. When he overtook a bus, he got so close he nearly hit it. Definitely an interesting experience.
The guy in the hostel recommended a place to eat in town called La Yucateca that serves Yucatan food. I don’t remember the name for what I got, but it was really nice.
There was a Taco place near the hostel so I ate there a couple of times and managed to order my food in Spanish, although I ended up with flour tortillas instead of corn the first time.
These ones were the best, Tacos al Pastor on corn tortillas, and Horchata to drink.
I also visited Chichen Itza while I was there. This is one of the most popular sites since it is the most famous and was recently made one of the new wonders of the world. I went there on the first bus so that I could get there early and it would be less crowded. I also got hassled less by the sellers too since they were still setting up their stalls.