Accommodations and Food
In the Maya village near the ruins, Genesis Ek’ Balam (tel. 985/101-0277, www.genesisretreat.com, US$50–62 d, family unit US$75– 100) has nine rooms and cabañas, set on a leafy enclosed property with a natural bio-filtered pool in the middle. Six units share a large clean bathroom, three have private bathrooms, one has air-conditioning, and all are different in style and decor. One of the favorites, the Birdhouse, has screen windows on all sides and a small balcony overlooking the pool and garden. A full breakfast is included, and lunch is open to non-guests as well (1–3 p.m. only, US$8–12). The mostly-vegetarian dishes make ample use of chaya, a rich spinach-like plant used by the Maya since before the conquest (and still today), and grown right in the Genesis garden. The hardworking Canadian owner offers tours of the village and local artisan workshops (US$7 pp, minimum 4 people) and can arrange guided excursions to the ruins, plus nearby cenotes, haciendas, and more. Be aware that a number of friendly pooches that lounge about the property—fine if you like dogs, but not everyone’s thing.
Much more rustic accommodations are available at Uh Najil Ek’ Balam (US$32.50 cabin), a community-run complex a short distance from Genesis Ek’ Balam. Eleven wood bungalows have very basic furnishings; a few have private bath, others share equally basic common bathrooms and showers. The concept is great—a cooperative of more than 20 local people share in the camp’s operation and profit—but the place could use a little better upkeep. Guests can use the kitchen here. The best feature may be the new observation tower (US$2.50) that affords a terrific view of the village and surroundings.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition