The following day we got up early and headed out to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, built around 300AD. Getting there early meant we could have the place relatively to ourselves before the tour busses from Cancun arrived
. We eventually left at 11AM as the crowds were arriving but enjoyed wandering around the site and enjoying the nature in peace. There were many stalls set up selling the typical Mexican souvenirs but they were horrifyingly expensive, catering to the resort and cruise ship crowds so we decided to save our shopping for another day.
Back in Valladolid we had heard from another backpacker there was a movie theatre in town which was showing Blood Diamond in English and so decided to catch it that night. Unknowingly we arrived prepared with popcorn from the street vendor only to be told we had to buy it inside, but the nice guy let us sneak it in anyway.
Oh yeah one interesting thing we learnt at Chichen Itza - evidently Mayan shamans reckon the end of the world is 2012! Only five years to go!
Out towards the centre of the Yucatan Peninsula there are two Mayan ruins, Ek Balam and Chichen Itza, so we headed to Valladolid a town which is conveniently located near both. Arriving in this picturesque place we easily found a cheap hotel for the night (180 Pesos) and found a collectivo out to Ek Balam. We enjoyed wandering around the ruins and took in a beautiful view of the surrounding area from the top of one temple/pyramid. Ek Balam built in the Mayan Pre-Classic era was still inhabited during the Spanish Conquest. One of the highlights is the jaw entrance with all its teeth leading to the tomb of the once powerful Mayan king Ukit-Kan-Lek-Tok. Eventually we took the bus back to town and had a beautiful and cheap meal at a great restaurant.