Ek' Balam
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The Black Jaguar
The hidden and unknown pyramids: Ek' Balam
Chicken Coop, Learning AFAR
Bug Net, Learning AFAR
Ways to Stay Cool, Learning AFAR
Giving Back, Learning AFAR
Beans, Tortillas, tomatoes and onions sauce, Learning AFAR
The Black Jaguar
The hidden and unknown pyramids: Ek' Balam
Chicken Coop, Learning AFAR
Bug Net, Learning AFAR
Ways to Stay Cool, Learning AFAR
Giving Back, Learning AFAR
Beans, Tortillas, tomatoes and onions sauce, Learning AFAR
The hidden and unknown pyramids: Ek' Balam
Visitors to the Yucatán and the Riviera Maya never miss Chichen Itza, but there is another hidden and almost unknown archaeological Mayan ruin called Ek’ Balam. Set in jungle, the site is not well known because it was discovered much later than other ancient sites in the Yucatán and restoration only started 20 years ago. As such, this great ruin is not yet on the tourist circuit and currently visited only by those in the know. Located 30 minutes drive north of Valladolid, the ruins cover an area of 10 square miles. With only the center of the site excavated, there are currently more than 40 buildings and pyramids to explore. The “Plaza Norte” is the biggest and oldest of all the plazas and it hosts the Acropolis with six levels, vaulted ceilings and over 72 rooms. On the fourth level you can find one of the most impressive construction feats of the whole mayan culture: "La Casa Blanca de la Lectura". Ek’ Balam was inhabited by the Mayas between 600 BC and 1600 AC, which makes it a site with one of the longest continued occupations by this ancient culture. There are plenty of tour agencies in Merida that can arrange the trip for you or it's an easy two hour drive by car from Merida. Visit now before it becomes the latest tourist discovery and you’ll have the whole place to yourself.
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The Black Jaguar
Between Cancun and Chichen Itza is another fascinating Maya archaeological site, called Ek Balam. It lies just north of the toll road and since it's overlooked by most tourist and day trippers, you'll likely have the place to youself. The site has plenty of temples and raised platforms to explore, along with elaborately incised stelae and a ballcourt. However the main draw is the massive main pyramidal structure that features a plaster facade of a toothed jaguar mouth surrounded by hieroglyphic elements and other mythological beings featured in Maya lore.
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Beans, Tortillas, tomatoes and onions sauce, Learning AFAR
In America, the usual appetizers are bread and butter. In Mexico, these ubiquitous appetizers were in every restaurant. They consisted of seasoned, smashed beans with cheese shredded on top of it, a type of sauce with chopped onions and tomatoes and sprinkled with lemons and tortilla chips to dip into the concoction. The food portions were generous in every restaurant and the appetizers alone would fill you up if we had not eaten family style. It was also interesting how everything in Mexico was so very colorful, including the food. Learning AFAR, in partnership with Global Explorers, promotes cross-cultural exchange by sending students on trips to experience other parts of the world. Sponsorship assistance from the Pearson Foundation, Schlumberger, and Wimmer Solutions makes the trips possible. Donate at afar.com/foundation.
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Ways to Stay Cool, Learning AFAR
In the Yucatan area the best thing to do is to stay in the shade and avoid the sun because the heat can cause headaches or heat strokes. You should also always stay hydrated and have a hat and sun glasses handy because the sun is very strong, especially since Mexico is close to the equator. Being prepared makes your trip so much more worth wild. Learning AFAR, in partnership with Global Explorers, promotes cross-cultural exchange by sending students on trips to experience other parts of the world. Sponsorship assistance from the Pearson Foundation, Schlumberger, and Wimmer Solutions makes the trips possible. Donate at afar.com/foundation.
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Bug Net, Learning AFAR
One of the hotels we visited in Ek Balam, had nets above the beds. We were happy to see the nets because there were many mosquitos and these nets kept us safe from any bites. There are many different bugs that can bite you or sting you, so if you are indoors or out make sure use something to protect your skin from all types of bugs. Learning AFAR, in partnership with Global Explorers, promotes cross-cultural exchange by sending students on trips to experience other parts of the world. Sponsorship assistance from the Pearson Foundation, Schlumberger, and Wimmer Solutions makes the trips possible. Donate at afar.com/foundation.
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Giving Back, Learning AFAR
In Ek balam the Global Explorers visited a traditional Mayan family. While we were there we got to experience the way the Mayans lived and made a living. They showed us the dresses they made by hand and explained to us how long it took to make a dress. After talking with the Mayans we donated 12 books to the children of the family. When the children received the books they were happy and joyful because they didn’t have any books of their own, having only used them in the town library and at school. Learning AFAR, in partnership with Global Explorers, promotes cross-cultural exchange by sending students on trips to experience other parts of the world. Sponsorship assistance from the Pearson Foundation, Schlumberger, and Wimmer Solutions makes the trips possible. Donate at afar.com/foundation.
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Chicken Coop, Learning AFAR
The Global Explorers and I met a Mayan family in Ek Balam that raised animals in their backyard for food. We saw this big hut that was miniature in height that had some weird noise coming from it. It was a chicken coop! There were about 10 chickens in the coop that the family was raising. In the backyard there were a lot of insects and a lot of bugs that we've never seen before, bug OFF spray and sunscreen is a must when exploring the outdoors! Learning AFAR, in partnership with Global Explorers, promotes cross-cultural exchange by sending students on trips to experience other parts of the world. Sponsorship assistance from the Pearson Foundation, Schlumberger, and Wimmer Solutions makes the trips possible. Donate at afar.com/foundation.
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