Mexico/Yucatan: Ek Balam Ruins

The archeological site of El Balam is another major Mayan site in northern Yucatan. Somewhat dwarfed by the more famous Chichen Itza, Ek Balam is quite different and spectacular. The site is completely surrounded by jungle and includes multiple pyramids, a ball court, and, most notably, an acropolis. The acropolis is famous for the spectacular massive mouth of the jaguar (Ek Balam actually means “the black jaguar”). stucco skulls, winged shamans, and more elaborate decorations and sculptures. Ek Balam existed for over a thousand years before being abruptly abandoned around 800AD. Only about 5% of the site has been excavated so far.