Mexico’s Best Maya Ruins

Visiting The Ruins At Uxmal

Visiting The Ruins At Uxmal
By Susannah Rigg

Known for its rotund structures, the World Heritage site of Uxmal is steeped in myths and legends.

Take for example the 130ft high Pyramid of the Magician, which greets you at the site’s entrance. The myth is that it was built in a single night, however, sadly archaeologists disproved this, believing instead that it was built in five stages between the 6th and 10th centuries.

Clap your hands in front of this temple and the echo of a bird call rather magically comes back to you. The Nun’s Quadrangle offers up impressive latticework that snakes around its four walls in the form of a serpent and the Governor’s Palace is another beautiful example of the Puuc architectural style found at this site, which was built around 700 CE. You can climb some of the structures at Uxmal too, giving you a sense of just how vast and majestic the city was in its time.

What really marks Uxmal out is its Maya artwork. The Governor’s Palace is covered in stone mosaics of serpents, astronomical symbols and depictions of ancient gods.

Uxmal can be visited as an easy day trip from Merida, or as part of the Puuc Route that takes visitors on a day trip to the Puuc Maya sites of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak, and Labna as well as the caves of Loltun.

Details on the governors palace in the ancient Mayan ruins of Uxmal Mexico

Intricate details on Uxmal's Governors Palace

How to get to Uxmal

Uxmal is roughly 50 miles from the Yucatec state capital, Merida. The most economical way to get to Uxmal from Merida is by taking the bus which runs roughly every two hours from Merida’s TAME bus station and takes 1.5 hours. It is also easy to hire a car and drive (which also allows you to arrive early, to avoid the crowds and the peak sun). There is parking at the site. Tours, which run from Merida and take in other sites such as the Loltún caves with its ancient cave paintings or other sites nearby, start at around $70/£50.

Entrance to Uxmal costs $413 pesos ($20/£15). Guides, who you can hire at the entrance to the site, charge around $500-600 pesos ($30/£20) and tours from Merida, including a visit to the archeological site of Kabah or the Loltún caves, start at around $70/£50.

Two to three hours is a good amount of time to explore Uxmal well.

Uxmal is part of the Puuc Route, a group of archeological sites in the region that all boast Puuc architecture. Therefore, you might want to consider taking a Puuc Route tour to see Uxmal and the other sites over one day. The tours, which often also take in the Loltún caves at the end, start at around $110/£80.

Visiting The Ruins At Uxmal

Susannah Rigg

Susannah Rigg is a freelance writer and Mexico specialist based in Mexico City. Her work has been featured by Condé Nast Traveller, CNN, BBC Travel and AFAR among others. She has visited 26 of Mexico’s 32 states and is captivated by Mexico’s rich Mesoamerican history.

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