Located 50 miles south of Merida, Uxmal has some of the most spectacular ruins in all of Mexico and is a MUST SEE.
Located 50 miles south of Merida, Uxmal has some of the most spectacular ruins in all of Mexico and is a MUST SEE. I was more impressed with Uxmal than the more popular Chichen Itza. You can get here by bus or organized tour . . . While it is nice to get here early in the morning, there is also a nice light show for those who stick around after dark. The last time I was here, I the entrance fee was around $13 USD.
Most experts date Uxmal from 600-1000 AD when the city, along with most of the cities in the Yucatan suddenly became deserted. A mystery for many years, the mass desertions in this area have now been proven to have been caused by a cataclysmic drought which lasted for years. While the lush rain forest we see today would cause us to doubt the cause, the climate a thousand years ago took a dramatic swing and left even the largest lakes in the region bone dry. So consider the hundred fifty plus chac masks you see in the facades everywhere and why the god of rain was such an important deity to the people of that time.
While the site really deserves a book to detail its history, little is actually known about the history of this city as it had already been abandoned for over 500 years by the time the Spaniards found it.
Take note of the great pyramid as you enter the site. The pyramid of the Magician is actually 5 pyramids in one . . . literally! One pyramid built over the next and the next . . . and apparently, much of the pyramids which lie beneath are still relatively intact.
The Governor's Palace actually never was a residence for the ruler of Uxmal. Mayan astronomers and priests used this spectacular structure to make astronomical calculations to determine the times for planting, feasts, and celebrations when the planet Venus was to rise on the horizon.
The main body of the site is only about a half mile, but taking note of the thousands of carved stones in the facades, the phallic stones (a garden of large penis shaped stones), the huge buildings . . . it may take longer than you think to explore.