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Ek Balam

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Ek Balam is one of the largest Mayan ruins in Mexico and is what’s left of an ancient town. The ruins date back from 100 BC to 1,200 BC and are remarkably well preserved. Situated about 100 miles from the popular tourist destination of Chichen Itza, Ek Balam isn’t quite as popular as its massive neighbor, making it less crowded and giving you more of a chance to experience the wonder of the Mayan culture as it was thousands of years ago. The focal point of Ek Balam is the 96-foot-tall Acropolis, which served as the temple for the ancient Mayan village. Note the large monster at the entrance to the pyramid; this is said to be guarding the underworld. Climb to the top of the Acropolis for views of the surrounding jungle, and learn why Ek Balam wasn't discovered for so many centuries. Many more buildings are on the grounds and ready to be explored as well. The name Ek Balam translates to "black jaguar," and you can see motifs of the animal on the sides of some of the buildings.

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