Yucatan trip: extra night at Valladolid or Ek Balam?
June 1, 2022 11:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning a trip in mid-October, flying in and out of Merida (monkeypox permitting). The way my current plans are shaping up, I'll be able to spend 2 nights at Valldolid or at an eco-lodge outside the Ek Balam site. People who have visited these places before, which would you pick?

Valladolid seems like a good place to stroll around and take in the local color. On the other hand, staying in a jungle-adjacent place is also appealing.
posted by orrnyereg to Travel & Transportation around Mexico (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Valladolid is a really beautiful city. I always avoided spending time there because I figured it would be nothing special, but I stayed for a few nights in 2020 and really enjoyed wandering around the city center in the evenings. Lots of street food, car free public spaces, beautiful architecture.

That said, staying in the jungle also sounds cool! I think it's hard to judge which would be better without knowing much about the ecoresort. I feel like they're both great options, just different!
posted by geegollygosh at 12:04 PM on June 1, 2022

Vallodolid was our favorite town in the Yucatan. I'd lean toward spending an extra night there. If you can, visit the monastery complex at the San Bernardino de Siena Cathedral; it is historic and beautiful.
posted by marguerite at 1:09 PM on June 1, 2022

I am a big fan of Valladolid since I visited it this summer so another vote for that option!
posted by smorgasbord at 2:09 PM on June 1, 2022

Where else will you be going?
posted by lunasol at 6:04 PM on June 1, 2022

I did both and recommend staying in Ek Balam pueblo. It is an experience that is truly off the mainstream tourist route.

Ek Balam pueblo is small. People speak Maya as their first language, leading to some interesting and friendly Maya to Spanish to English communication.

I stayed for one night at Unajil Ek Balam. It's a cooperative village enterprise. I wish I had stayed for two nights and toured Ek Balam ruinas with a guide from the cooperative (instead of solo without a guide) and done some of the other activities offered by the coop. As it was, I recognized the village teens dressed as classic Mayan warriors coming home the back way from their jobs at the ruinas. You can also buy hammocks that are made in the village. I think the eco-resort you are considering works with the coop to offer the coop activities.

BTW, Ek Balam ruina is lots better than Chichen Itza. You can climb the Ek Balam ruinas and then go for a swim in a nearby cenote and have lunch there afterwards.

You can catch a 30 peso shared colectivo from Valladolid to Ek Balam ruinas. Ask the driver to continue on to the nearby Ek Balam pueblo. It might cost a few more pesos.

Valladolid is a splendid small town. Ek Balam is a Mayan village in the dry jungle that is connect to the nearby Ek Balam ruinas by a sacbe - an ancient Mayan road. It depends on whether you want to be a town mouse or a jungle mouse.

WhatsApp is the best way to contact Unajil Ek Balam.

memail me for more info
posted by jointhedance at 7:01 AM on June 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just got back from Valladolid two weeks ago! I liked it so much I changed plans to spend more time there, even though it was about 100 degrees out every day. Its beautiful, calm, small, and when the sun sets the sky becomes the most incredible shifting pastel gradient. I went out every night to sit in the little square by my hostel and watch. The only drawback is that the in-town cenote zaci is being renovated and is (as of 2 weeks ago) closed.
You can get a bus or colectivo to Ek Balam from there, it only takes about 45 minutes. I don't know what what staying in the village would be like, but I bet it would be incredible too- Ek Balam was beautiful and I loved the day I spent there.
I suppose I'd make this decision based on wether you prefer being in cities or in nature, and how much of each you'd like to do on this trip. Its always good to have a change of pace.
posted by velebita at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

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