The next day we were headed to the famous Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza where we would stay for two nights in a nearby hotel so we could get early access to the ruins site at 8am when they open, in order to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds. Initially the plan was to do a little detour to the Ek Balam ruins and a nearby cenote, as Ek Balam is less developed and visited than Chichen. This seemed like a great idea until our taxi’s engine overheated 50km outside Valladolid and we had to stop by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere to let it cool down and for our driver to try and fix the radiator fans, which had both apparently packed up. We attempted to call the ‘Angeles Verdes’ – apparently a country-wide initiative of mobile mechanics, maintained by Sectur, the Ministry for Tourism. As both their English and Spanish phone menus led to a dead end we would not recommend relying on them!
Eventually our driver got it bodged enough for us to limp into Valladolid, via a couple of additional stops and an encounter with the Policia Federal highway patrol (who were actually rather friendly and helpful), where he headed off to a garage for the relevant part and we enjoyed a rather splendid lunch at the Mesón del Marqués:
Panuchos con Cochinita Pibil mmmmmmm!
With the engine fixed, we made it to our hotel, the Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza with no further issues.
The main reason for staying here – although in generally it was very nice – was the proximity to the Chichen Itza archaeological site – a shady 10 minute walk along the quiet approach road.
This is where they played the utterly terrifying Ball Game. Losers get sacrified.