Uxmal Maya Ruin
Uxmal is located about an hour’s drive south of Merida in the northwest corner of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. It is four hours from Cancun on the east coast. That makes a one round trip drive from there possible with the new limited access toll road 180D, but I would recommend an overnight (or two) to see more of the other beautiful sights in the area. There are several around Uxmal, including Mayapan, Kabah, Sayl, Xlapak and Labna. If you are on a longer road trip, see Uxmal before or after you stay in the nice colonial town of Campeche on the west coast. Campeche is also the town you would go through if you take the longer ride down to the excellent site of Palenque.
Ruta Puuc Loop
You could do a great, long one-day self-drive out of Merida yourself and see many sites in one loop around the Puuc route (Ruta Puuc). Other sites available nearby is Mayapan, Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna. Edzna is another nice site that is closer to Campeche.
Where to stay
Merida is a modern town with plenty of hotels and restaurants. Campeche is equally modern but retains more of an
old colonial town in places. There are also hotels right next to Uxmal. If you overnight near Uxmal, nightly at sunset, there is a sound a light show at Uxmal. If you are there at that time, it is well worth your time.
If you don’t want to drive yourself, there are tours from Cancun that will take all day. Better options for guided tours originate in Merida and will likely include stops at other sites (like Kabah). Merida also has numerous cenotes in the area that are worth your time if you visit Merida.
The land where Uxmal sits if pretty flat, but there are ancient steps that you will need to navigate to visit most of the ruins. The site is fairly large, so you will walk a mile or more while exploring. There is some accessibility for the handicapped, so a visit is still worthwhile. The steps up pyramids are steeper and narrower than you are used to, so take care climbing them. People have died falling down stairs at Maya pyramids.
It will cost nearly 200 pesos total to enter Uxmal. There are actually two separate tickets that have to be bought (no, I don’t understand it either) – one that gets you in and another required for CULTU. You may have to pay another fee to use a traditional video camera, but not a cell phone camera or DLSR video camera. I don’t understand this discrimination, but they are serious about it (we got chased down once for not having a pass and had to buy one after we entered a site). Photography is not charged.
You can hire a guide to take you about and speak to you if you like. If you don’t do this, make sure to get some good information before you go so you can read a bit about what you are seeing. It will heighten your appreciation for what you experience.
The entrance court has some food and drink available as well as a few shops. Wear a hat and make sure to bring plenty of liquid, especially in the summer season. Mosquito repellant is also a good idea, although on the day we visited we didn’t need it.
To read about what it is like to visit Uxmal, go here.
Pictures from my visit are here.
To see where I rank Uxmal in my list of favorite ruin sites in Mesoamerica, go here.