Fourty-eight miles south-west of Merida (about 1 and ½ hour by car) stands one of the most majestic mayan archeological sites of the peninsula. Many visitors miss it while they’re staying in town because they think that they can not see better than Chichen Itza, near Valladolid. Don’t make the same mistake !
Uxmal (pronounce « Ooshmal »), « the one that was built three times » in maya, was very famous between the 9th and 10th century. Its leaders even allied once with Chichen Itza’s, bringing the city to its height during 150 years. But the two cities ended up fighting each other.
Go practice your spanish and discover the history of this fabulous site. Listen to the story of Uxmal’s Dwarf, magician and seer, who, thanks to his intelligence succeeded in changing his fellow citizens’ minds about his differences and lead the entire city. The Pyramide of the Magician at the entrance of the site will leave you speechless. Various other buildings – the Cuadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor’s Palace, the Temple of the Turtles, the Palace of the Doves, the Ball Game – deserve your full attention and any explanation you will get from a guide, if you take one.
Uxmal is part of the Ruta Puuc, an itinerary you can follow from Merida in 1 or 2 days to visit Sayil, Labna, Kabha, Xlacah ruins and Lol-Tun caves.
From Merida, hire a car to get there or hop on a local bus leaving from TAME bus station on 69th street between 68th and 70th. Be aware that the entrance ticket for foreigners includes the light and sound show at night (7 p.m. in the winter and 8 p.m. in the summer) but that no bus comes back to town afterwards.