I visited Uxmal many years ago with my husband – almost 20 years now! We decided to revisit the ruins with our kids this year. Uxmal is an impressive archaeological site, and generally less crowded than sites like Coba or Chichen-Itza. It is a UNESCO World heritage site, and a great place to put on your Yucatan bucket list.
Uxmal is easy to find, and makes for a nice day trip from Merida.
We drove there with our rental car from Avant Car Rental in Cancun, and it took just over an hour from our AirBnB in Merida.
There were plenty of signs along the way as well, and it made it easy to navigate to the ruins.
There are plenty of signs near the entrance to the ruins, and ample parking.
We headed to the ticket office but were informed we couldn’t bring in our backpacks (only small bags). I don’t know the rationale behind this, but I had to walk all the way back to the car to re-pack everything. My backpack had my daughter’s medication, sunglasses, sunscreen, water, hats, and bug spray. After going back to the car, I left a few items in the car and repacked the items in a smaller bag. It was a little bit of a hassle, and I managed to forget my sunglasses, which was aggravating.
After getting our tickets, we stopped at the bathrooms. The bathrooms here are nice, and it was nice that they have good facilities especially since Uxmal is out of the way for most people to get to.
There are no maps for visitors, and I felt that there was minimal signage when it came to the ruins. There is a mural map and a few signs, but for the most part, you are going to be doing a self-guided tour. I don’t know if the lack of signage is an attempt to get tourists to hire guides instead.
We have hired tour guides before, which was a good experience. Generally, they speak good English and are prepared with binders full of pictures and information. However, we wanted to go on our own schedule, so we skipped the guide for Uxmal.
This site dates back to 800 B.C., and there is a lot of space to roam. While it may not be as large as a site like Coba (where we used bikes and bike taxis), there is a lot of space to explore.
The first thing you see as you enter the site is the main pyramid – Pyramid of the Magician. It measures over 100′ tall, and guests cannot climb the temple.
The largest pyramid in the Yucatan, Nohuch Mul, is at Coba, reaching 138′, and the pyramid at Chichen-Itza is 98′. The Pyramid of the Magician is also an impressive height, and in great condition. It has a unique elliptical base, and the shape is noticeably different from other temples (such as Chichen-Itza).
The Temple of the Columns is a neat structure, and also a nice place to pause for a moment in the shade.
The House of the Governor at Uxmal is an impressive structure, and it has a two-headed jaguar throne in front. This platform was a place of performance.
There is a traditional Mayan ball court here, which is a must see when you check out ruins in the area.
Many of the structures had protruding carved birds or other decorative elements.
We had a great time wandering around the ruins and checking out the different structures.
Uxmal was far less crowded than other large ruins, which was a nice change.
You can visit Uxmal online at https://www.inah.gob.mx/zonas/110-zona-arqueologica-de-uxmal