After driving for a few hours through the dense Yucatan jungle from Cancun, we arrive to the unassuming entrance of the Ek Balam Mayan ruins.
Ek Balam is translated to mean “Bright Star Jaguar”, a sacred animal to the Mayan people. Walking along the path listening to these stories of old I search for glimpses of the stealthy beast in the trees.
One can feel it’s presence.
As the jungle opens to a clearing, I see my first Mayan ruin, a very beautiful arch presents itself, being connected to a sacbes (ancient road) which would have led to other Mayan kingdoms. It is through this arch that one enters the city.
The main temple of El Torre here is impressive, one of the largest structures found in the Yucatan. To the Mayan it represents a portal to another world, and a place to connect to the Mayan Gods when at it’s summit.
I feel empowered as I climb the steps, sweat pouring off my brow the higher I ascend. The view is breathtaking, the wind cooling the nape of my neck as I rest on stones that supported a culture for a millenia, from 100 B.C to 900 A.D.
A good start to my days of exploring the Yucatan, and the Mayan culture.