Uxmal

The Pyramid of the Magician

Uxmal is an archeological site in the state of Yucatan in Mexico, and a UNESCO World Heritage List site.

Understand

Uxmal (OOSH-mahl) means "built three times" in the Mayan language. As a World Heritage site, it is one of the best restored and maintained ruins in the Yucatan. Its architecture, some of the most dramatic of the Yucatan ruins, is characterized by low horizontal palaces set around courtyards, decorated with rich sculptural elements and details.

History

Uxmal was the greatest metropolitan and religious center in the Puuc hills in the late classical period. It thrived between the 7th and 10th centuries CE and its numerous architectural styles reflect a number of building phases.

Recent studies have suggested that Uxmal was the capital of a regional state that developed in the Puuc region between 850 to 950 CE. Other evidence suggests that Uxmal collaborated politically and economically with Chichen Itza, located between Mérida and Cancún.

Get in

Uxmal is located about 85km southwest of Mérida, and will take a few hours to explore thoroughly. There is a small museum at the entrance, as well as a snack bar, gift shops, restrooms and various local vendors. Be sure to bring a hat, some sunscreen and good walking shoes. A camera is probably a good idea as well, as the buildings at Uxmal are very photogenic. The site is open every day to the public from 08:00 to 17:00.

ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) offers buses from Mérida that leave at 06:00, 9:05, and 10:40, and return at 15:20 and 17:00 (also one around 12:00). Buses depart from Terminal de Autobuses Mérida (the main 2nd class bus station), $55 MXN one-way. Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies.

Fees/permits

Uxmal admission: $135 MXN (Yucatán State) + $64 MXN (INAH), payable at two separate windows for separate tickets.

See

Nunnery Quadrangle

Other buildings at Uxmal include the   House of Turtles (Casa de las Tortugas), decorated with turtle sculptures associated at that time with rain; the   Dovecote (Palomar), a building with many separate chambers; the   House of the Old Woman (Casa de la Vieja); and more. Uxmal also has a large   ballcourt (Juego de Pelota), enclosing a playing field that is 34m long and 10m wide.

Do

Light and sound show

INAH offers a nightly light and sound show (luz y sonido) that is far more interesting than the one offered at Chichen Itza.

Buy

  Casa de las Artesanias, a government-run craft shop, is located in the visitor center.

Eat and drink

An overpriced   restaurant is located in the visitor's center past the ticket counters, and an espresso bar is located in the central courtyard. Several   snack booths are located outside the main entrance by the parking lot.

The   Lodge at Uxmal also operates a full-service restaurant.

Sleep

Add 17% to room rate for taxes.

Go next

Several somewhat smaller Maya sites are a short distance south of Uxmal, and can be easily visited from here. The most impressive are Kabah, Sayil, and Labna.


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