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Cancun Private Guided Tours {Exclusive}

Lopez Family Special Mayan Tours
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Lopez Family Special Mayan Tours
Post Last Modified – May 01, 2023 ¦

Cancun Private Guided Tours – Special Mayan Tours

Mayan Site Ek Balam

My wife and I recently returned to the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, after first visiting 10 years ago. On our first visit we had the pleasure of taking our 🚗 Cancun Private Guided Tours with 🏵 Special Mayan Tours.

We had an outstanding private personalized tour back then, and couldn’t wait to join them once again for another great adventure.

Be sure to check my full 🚙 Mayan Expeditions by Special Mayan Tours 🚙 review and photos on our amazing day spent with owner Pepe Lopez Jr, on our first tour years ago.

About Special Mayan Tours – Mayan Expeditions

Special Mayan Tours Owners
This is a family-owned and operated tour company and one of the most long standing tour companies in 🏖 Cancun, Mexico.

Since 1980, they have established themselves in the industry, as one of the premier tour operators in the region, offering exceptional personalized Cancun Private Guided Tours, to various destinations around Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Today, they offer multi-day packaged journey’s to various parts throughout this beautiful and historical region in Mexico.

“Our love and passion for Mayan history is something we always want to share with our traveler’s”

Ek Balam & Río Lagartos Private Tour

Ek Balam Mayan Ruins

On our first tour years back, we were so amazed by the Ancient Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam, that we definitely wanted to return to this beautiful and hidden historical site once again.

As we also enjoy being away from the crowds and love to experience nature as much as we can, Pepe Lopez suggested a private tour visiting the beautiful natural reserve of {Ria Lagartos}, together with Ek Balam.

What a great choice it was and what a wonderful day we spent with him and his superb driver.

Below, is a sneak peak and a few 📸 photos of our full day tour.

Ek Balam Mayan Historical Site

Ek Balam Jaguar Mural

This historical Mayan City is located about 12 miles/19 kms north of the City of Valladolid, on Highway 295, then east on a marked secondary road.

Ek Balam {Black Jaguar}, dates back to the Middle Pre-Classic (700-300 B.C). During this period, it was the capital of a {Classic Period Kingdom} known as Talol.

Ek Balam Yucatan Peninsula

Today, there are over 40 visible structures located within the defensive walled enclosures. Presently, the site is undergoing new controlled digs to uncover new hidden structures within the city.

Ek Balam Mayan City

It is an absolutely amazing historical site that simply must be seen in person to fully appreciate.

Pepe Lopez Jr Mayan Expeditions

As you enter the grounds, Pepe will give you a detailed history of this Ancient City and its visible surrounding outbuildings you can walk around and explore.

Mayan City Ek Balam

There are a total of 40 structures within the walls of the city visible at this time.

Mayan Historical Site Ek Balam

On the {North Plaza} is the enormous and spectacular structure known as the – Acropolis. The structure is 480 feet/127 meters long and over 90 feet/30 meters high.

Ek Balam Acropolis

Most fascinating about the Acropolis, is that it contains a number of structures within each other. This is as a result of continuous construction done in phases, which was a common practice during this period.

Ek Balam Architecture

Within, there are numerous; rooms, passageways, courtyards, temples and stairways, covering six levels.

Ek Balam Acropolis Structure

Visitors are still able to climb the steep steps to the top, where you find a view like no other!

Ek Balam Acropolis Steps

“On the fourth level is a self-contained structure unparalleled in the Maya world. This temple has an intricately worked stucco façade that is near perfectly preserved.”

Ek Balam Ancient Wall Paintings

It’s like stepping back in time, as you view what this enormous city must have looked like centuries ago.

Special Mayan Tours Pepe Lopez Jr

Pepe is filled with volumes of knowledge and his passion for the history of the Mayan people and empire is so evident.

This amazing historical site of Ek Balam, is one of the least busiest of Mayan attractions, with neighboring {Chichen Itza} following.

Mayan City of Ek Balam

If you are interested in history and visiting more remote historical sites when traveling, then both of these destinations are a must when visiting the Yucatan Peninsula.

Ek Balam Mayan City Grounds

Our morning started at 🌅 07:30 am for our pickup at our 🏨 hotel in Akumal, as Pepe wanted us to be the first to the site to enjoy the peace and quiet before others would start arriving.

It was absolutely perfect, having this amazing site almost to ourselves during our visit!

Rio Lagartos Natural Biosphere Reserve

Rio Lagartos Welcome Sign

After enjoying our tour and walking around the grounds of Ek Balam, it was time to make our way to the 🦩 Rio Lagartos Natural Biosphere Reserve.

Rio Lagartos Google Map

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is a {UNESCO Biosphere Reserve}, forever protected in this part of Mexico.

For more detailed information on this reserve, I’ve listed the official UNESCO webpage below for your convenience.

🦋 UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 🦋

Briefly, Ría Lagartos reserve is known for its unique pink lakes (also called Las Coloradas), and for the many pink flamingos that arrive, knowing this site to be a safe nesting and mating location.

Rio Largartos Sign

This protected nature reserve consists of over 230 square miles, being one of the richest ecosystems in all of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

This nature reserve has a total of 8 ecosystems consisting of; enormous mangrove forests, coastal dunes and even Mexico’s first Ramsar site.

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve Boat Tour

Ramsar Definition {WorldAtlas}:

“A Ramsar wetland is a wetland placed under protection due to its international and ecological significance.”

This unique ecosystem consists of a variety of birds, reptiles, fish, fauna and flora.

Pelicans Rio Lagartos

Your journey into the Reserve starts on the docks of the town of Rio Lagartos. Here, you will board your boat with your Captain and in our case, with our private Pepe as well.

Special Mayan Tours Guide Pepe Lopez Jr

As you make your way deep into the Bio-Reserve, your Captain will point out and explain the importance of this protected reserve to the region and its inhabitants.

Pelican Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

Heading deeper into the reserve, you start to feel like you are truly escaping into a natural untouched and peaceful environment, enjoying the surroundings and the wildlife present.

Boat Tour Ria Largartos

Your experienced Captain knows exactly where to go for the best viewing, including some of their favorite places to just sit and take in nature at its best!

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve Black Hawk

We enjoyed a peaceful stop at one of our Captain’s favorite hide-a-ways, surrounded by immense Banyan Trees.

Cancun Private Guided Tours Guide

As we took in the beautiful surroundings, our Captain explained in detail the different types of trees and how they grow and thrive in this protected environment.

Banyan Tree Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

After a peaceful stop, it was time to head further into the reserve to hopefully, view the 🦩 Pink Flamingos feeding!

Pink Flamingos Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

☘ Luck was on our side this day!

When we arrived at their favorite feeding grounds, a group of 🦩 flamingos were indeed feeding.

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve Pink Flamingo

Ría Lagartos Reserve, is also known for experiencing an all natural beauty treatment. Along the banks of the reserve, your boat Captain will make a stop for you to cake your bodies with enriched mud and/or white clay.

Boat Captain Ria Lagartos Reserve

Visitors can enjoy the spreading mud or white clay, extracted from the sand on the beach and all over the body.

Ria Lagartos Reserve Natural Beauty Treatment

This fun treatment is said to be excellent for the skin, as the sand contains rich amounts of; sulphur, salts, algae and minerals that exfoliate and soften the skin.

Ria Lagartos Wildlife

If you love nature and want to experience the absolute beauty of a protected reserve site in Mexico, then you will love visiting Ria Lagarto and this boat excursion!

Crocodile Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

The boat tour takes at least an hour in length, and on our tour after arriving back at the dock, it was time to enjoy an amazing freshly prepared lunch.

Our lunch was served at a well known waterfront hotel and restaurant in Rio Lagartos right at the docks, known as … Yuum Ha.

We enjoyed our lunch on their small covered deck located right over the water.

Rio Lagartos Yuum Ha Restaurant

A superb lunch in a picture perfect setting!

Yuum Ha Restaurant Rio Lagartos

Final Thoughts Banner

Cancun Private Guided Tours

The Lopez family do their utmost to make your Cancun Private Guided Tours, as enjoyable and memorable as possible.

Their years of expertise in the industry and passion for what they do, definitely shows in their superb customer service and experience.

They offer a variety of private individual and/or group tours for your party, ranging from single day to multiple day tours. They will also put together the perfect personalized tour for your individual wants and needs.

It was 10 years since our first visit and tour with Special Mayan Tours and on this recent adventure with them, our day was even more enjoyable than the first.

If you are searching for a very professional and reputable private tour company when visiting the Yucatan Peninsula, then I strongly suggest contacting the Lopez family and discussing your tour wishes with them.

You will not be disappointed!

For more detailed information on their tours, prices, live contact and secure online booking, I’ve listed the link to their official website below for your convenience.

Special Mayan Tours Logo

🏵 Special Mayan Tours {Mayan Expeditions} 🏵

😎 Safe and Healthy Travels!

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at


Although our tour was in collaboration with Special Mayan Tours, rest assured all content and opinions are that of the author and reflect my personal views only.

All personal 📸 photographs on this post are the property of and are copyright protected.
Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. 🚫

✨  Did You Know …

“The Maya lived in a place called {Mesoamerica} which included Mexico and parts of Central America..”

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A Blogger Since 2012, Robert has a {Passion for Travel}, having worked in the industry for over 35 years. He enjoys sharing special moments & tips on; Travel, Health & Wellness, Book Reviews and much more!

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