The Trials of a Busy Mom

Chichen Itza and Ek Balam

On Monday we got up early to meet our tour guide by 7:30. He was a man named Lemuel who we had met at church the day before who is a tour guide. He arranged everything for the 3 couples who wanted an LDS guide for Chichen Itza. When he got here to pick us up, we climbed into the mini van, and set out on our two hour drive. It wasn’t so bad, although the roads are a bit bumpy and I was fighting car sickness by the end of the drive. On the way, Lemuel told us a bit about his family and his history (he has brothers named Moroni, Helaman and Nephi, and sisters named Alma and Zarahemla). He then brought out a notebook with pictures and maps and talked to us about the history of the Mayan people as it relates to the Book of Mormon. When we got there, we were instantly hot and sweating. He got our tickets and we went in. We were amazed by the ruins. The sheer size of the temples is astounding enough, not to mention how well they have been preserved and restored. They no longer let you climb all the steps to the top of the pyramid, but that was ok. There is a place where you stand right in front of the temple and clap, and the echo sounds like a bird. We did lots of clapping. Of course there are many many people with little carvings, replicas and trinkets to sell. They line the paths like a mobile gift shop. We managed to get out of there buying only a t-shirt and two little stone animals for the kids. After seeing everything there, we were hot and tired and guzzling our water.

(Sorry these aren’t in the text or anything special, I only have 15 minutes of Internet time for 30 pesos ($3)… Ryan)

Lemuel took us to a little place for lunch that had once been a Spanish palace, and there was a buffet there, too. The thing that set it apart from our buffet here at the hotel, though, was the entertainment. Three girls and three guys, all in their Spanish outfits, came out onto the stage and danced for us. Not terribly impressive, but entertaining. After the stomping dance, they put bottles on their heads and danced, then whole trays with a few cups and bottles on their heads. They then did a may pole dance, and we decided it was time to go. Lemuel had been doing a good job of keeping us ahead of the crowds, and we wanted to keep it that way. We were the first group to arrive at the restaurant, and as soon as we sat down, one large group after another came in and sat down.

We went next to a sink hole called ? I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a large sunken well, with vines and tree roots hanging down. The others in our group had said that they didn’t really care to swim, so we just went and looked at it, but I was wishing we were going swimming. The water was cool and clear and beautiful. It was about 200 ft below the surface and incredible.

On a recommendation from someone we met at church (who coincidentally happens to be the brother of one of the members of the bell choir–what are the odds of that?) we had asked our guide if he could take us to Ek Balam, which we had been told was another great ruins and we should see it if we could. So, off we went. We drove through little towns and when we got there were again hit by the heat of the day. No crowds at this one, though, and only one little roadside souvenir vendor. There were a couple of sad hungry looking dogs, though. We started walking and came to an entrance, climbed up and were impressed with the size of the city. there were many ruins, but the most amazing one was the temple. I can’t believe the carvings that are still intact! They still do let you climb this one, so we climbed all the way to the top (well, almost all of us went to the top. Phillip, the pilot who is afraid of heights, only went up half-way, then went back down). Ek Balam, although it may not be as high as Chichen Itza, was more impressive to us because of the carvings and statues that have survived. We were red faced with sweat running down our backs, but glad we had made the trek.

By then it was about 4 in the afternoon, and we had to get going. The drive seemed to take forever, especially when we finally reached Cancun, and then had to fight the traffic. We all had to use the bathroom and Sharon was feeling very car sick. We were very grateful to Lemuel for our tour and for giving up his whole day. We all paid him, and from what I can figure out with the admission prices and lunch and everything, he still probably made around $200 dollars profit from his day of work.

We made it back here just in time to use the bathroom and then meet some of the other winners for dinner at the Mexican restaurant. They are a funny group and seem to be getting along well. Two sisters, Vicki and Kathy are the “life of the party” and we sat by them. They would probably be loud and obnoxious even if they weren’t drinking, but when they are–wow are they loud! We laughed a lot and had a fun dinner. After the sisters left and we were leaving, one of the ladies thanked us for sitting by them. “We think they are entertaining,” I said. She said she could handle them in small doses, but can’t be around them for too long, as they are just so obnoxious. I second that. Dickie, the KODJ DJ, gave us our “welcome gift” of $50, and we were excited about that one, for sure.

The food here is good, mostly buffet, and I keep seeing deserts that look like they would be chocolate but aren’t. There are also a lot of disappointing cheesecake imitations, but we keep trying them. So, the entrees are good, but the desserts are not so great.

A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE

UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.


  1. Janice from Book Club

    I’m jeolous! Janice

  2. Lisa Adams

    Man does that family get around. I’m sure our tour guide at Tulum was Alma and her brother Helaman. What a small world.

  3. mich's little sis rachel

    I’m sorry, did you say a pilot that is afraid of heights? That’s like a doctor that doesn’t like needles or gets queasy at the sight of blood. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time!

  4. Administrator

    Yeah, apparently, it’s more a confined heights vs. a ‘free’ height.


  5. Jenni

    Hi! Your website popped up in a search I did for “Mormon tour guide cancun”…I’m heading to Cancun in Nov 2007 and am trying to get in touch with a Mormon tour guide…do you have any idea how I can get in contact with Lemuel? Also, do you remember what the approx. cost of the excursion was? My email is (removed by Ryan). Thanks for the help!!

  6. Cindy


    We are heading to cancun in May 2008 and want to do the Chichen Itza tour with a Mormon tour guide. Do you know how I could contact Lemuel? Thanks for your help!

  7. Ryan is their website.

  8. Helaman Petlacalco

    This Helaman, Lemuel´s brother.
    I was reading your web. and it seems to be that because of the heat or I don`t know what. But you din´t enjoy very much your tour.
    Next time come in winter is way less hot and you will enjoy better your expirience in this archeologycal site.
    Sincerly Helaman Petlacalco.

  9. Superpaige

    Helaman, I must say that we LOVED the tour, and we give Lemuel’s information to anyone we know who is going to Cancun. We aren’t used to the heat, but we had a FABULOUS time and thought the tour was GREAT! Thank you again.

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