Continued from week 1
(To see details of itinerary click here)
It took us more than 10 hours to travel from Cozumel to Ek Balam which is located 150 km away! It has been many years since we have traveled short distances like this in such long periods of time. Traveling with a 3 year-old definitely adds some challenges to the trip!
We got to Valladolid at 7pm after being 8 hours on the road (and in buses) and we took a taxi to Ek Balam which is situated 28 km North of Valladolid. The next morning, when we woke up, and went for a walk, I felt I was in a different country… From bikinis, paragliding, Pina Colada and 14$US meals (per person), we were now in a remote village with no tourists, where people still live in bamboo houses with dirt floors, no furniture in their home & some even without electricity (see pictures). Women still weave traditionally the hammocks, which they sell to the occasional tourists wondering in the village. We walked to the Ek Balam ruins, a 4 km walk through pumpkin fields. The ruins were not impressive at first, but the view from the temple was fascinating and the swim to the cenote (pool of clear mineral water) next to the site was well worth it.

We also took a day trip to Chitzen Itza, one of the most famous Mayan sites in Mexico. The herds of tourists were really a downer, but the site was phenomenal and well worth it. (I guess that’s why so many of us were there!) To stand exactly where the end of the world will begin December 21, 2012 (according to the Mayan prophecy) was kind of cool.
After visiting Valladolid, Ek Balam and Chitzen Itza, we took an express bus to Mérida on December 29. That was fast! 2h15min for 157 km.
Mérida is another pretty colonial town, with a Nice Zocalo (Plaza de Armas) which is very popular with Mexican tourists. We spent four days in Mérida, taking several day trips out of the city.

New Year’s Eve in Mérida was rather quiet and nothing like Times Square New York, but hey, with the full moon rising over the cathedral at midnight, it was very unique. The huge plate of nachos with a gigantic margarita added even more to the beautiful sight! Alixe was happy to see people lighting dangerous firecrackers everywhere.
On January first, I had a bad headache in the morning, probably due to the bad Tequila in my strong Margaritas the night before… but we managed to get out of bed by 11am and we drove to Uxmal, stopping in two old haciendas (old plantations where they used to grow agave plant for its fiber usage).

Uxmal was another amazing Mayan archeological site. At 3pm in the afternoon, there were little tourists and with the sun setting down on one side and stormy clouds on the other, the experience was unique. The rock carvings and the details into the temples make Uxmal fascinating. As the day was ending, we drove further south to see Kabah (more ruins!), but the site was closed as we got there at 5:10pm. We still managed to see the temple from the road.
On our last day, we stopped at Dzibil Chaltun (Myan sacrificial site) and had a look at the cenote (pool of clear mineral water) and temples. We drove to Progresso to see what the ocean looks like in the Gulf of Mexico: nothing very impressive. The water was very brown and the wind was strong, so it wasn’t really hot. Progresso can’t be compared to Cozumel (or even Playa del Carmen), but it is still a very popular place with Mexicans.

Our two weeks in Cozumel and Yucatan were relaxing, hot and very interesting. The food was really different than in Northern Torreón. From panuchos to venado, the food was various and very good. People looked different than in Northern Mexico and even their language sounded different.