We decided to stay a few days in Valladolid, a city close to the famous archaeological site of Chichen Itzá. The city is rather small but nice, very authentic with quite a few things to do around as Juan-Antonio, the cheerful owner of our hostel explained to us.
We visited both Ek Balam and Chichen Itzá sites. Ek Balam was beautiful although we visited under the rain. This ancient Mayan city in the jungle is peaceful and not to heavily visited from tourists. Plus, it is still possible to climb to the top of the main Acrópolis on the steep stairs which give an amazing view on the surrounding tropical forest.
On a another day we visited Chichen Itzá, the main site of Yucatán, the most impressive one. It is so impressive that the main temple, Templo de Kukulcán, has been classified among the word’s 7 wonders in 2007. We were lucky to stay in Valladolid which allowed us to visit the site early in the morning and avoid the mass tourism crowed that arrived around 11AM from Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Tulum… What we found unfortunate is that local souvenir sellers are allowed to enter the site and set up their little exhibition stands. As a result, all the walkways and absolutely filled with vendors, turning this amazing historical site more into what looks like a tourist souvenir market which is a pity.
But disregarding this, Chichen Itzá is worth a visit. The main temple is a beauty itself, and wandering around the remains of this ancient powerful Mayan city just leaves you with a taste of the Maya culture and what this population was capable of.
On the same afternoon, we borrowed 2 bikes from Juan Antonio at the hostel, and biked few kilometres to Cenote Xkeken and Sambula. The Yucatán region of Mexico count many cenotes which are natural pits or sinkholes of groundwater usually found in cave formations underground. It was nice and refreshing to bathe in cool water (a change from the 28 degrees water in Holbox!) and among the fishes. Something different! But if you ask, I prefer sitting on the beach than in a cave!