Roadtrip into Mexico its history – Uxmal and Mayapan – Part 1

For our stay in Merida I have planned a few small roadtrips. One of which took us south to the fancy Uxmal ruins and the not so fancy Mayapan Ruins. The last few Mayan ruins we’ll visit for… Well, maybe ever. Going further into Mexico other tribes and peoples inhabited those parts. So the next archeological site is probably not Mayan.

Anyway, we headed out from the hotel at around 8AM, courageously following the route I had prepared. And at the edge of Merida we ran into some trouble. Some dudes thought it prudent to do road maintenance in the morning amidst heavy traffic and closed the one highway exit heading out that end of the city. Sending everyone off to take the next retorno (U-turn) and approach the cloverleaf intersection from the other side. Furiously waving his orange flag and pointing down the road.


This of-course means the first turn-around point, right? Nope. And so half an hour was lost going back and forth over a 12 kilometers stretch of highway to figure out the unmarked exits, poorly indicated shortcuts and crossings.

Jeanette caught the right u-turn eventually. I missed it and illegally turned around at the nearby underpass. And off we went, searching for the exit that would take us to that intersection. Having finally found it, only to see cars coming from the exit they had closed but just re-opened? Errr… what?

A few kilometers down the highway the outer lane was closed as well, prohibiting us from exiting onto the next road. I ignored that and we took the exit anyway. Which went fine of-course since there was no visible reason for the closure. And off we went, out of the city and into the jungle. Immediately the chaotic traffic and stress stopped – yay!

Uxmal is nice

About an hours drive later we arrived at the Uxmal ruins. Flashed our resident cards and got a discount on the entry fee. Paying $210MXN instead of the regular $461MXN. Our victory for the day! Entering the archeological site we were surprised with how nice it was. The main pyramid is massive, decently preserved and is very tall. Not only that, but pretty much the whole ‘city center’ seemed to be represented. With a large open court, playing fields, plazas, a residential zone and of temples/palaces in decent shape.

Uxmal main pyramid

Due to the Irrational Flu a lot of the rooms and some plaza areas were closed off and they put some sort of walking route into place along with a bunch of guides to yell “Hey, Cubreboca!” at tourists. Behind the huge pyramid there is an elevated court with tons of stone carvings. And down a bunch of steps is the rest of the old city.

Uxmal open court

As you may know, Mayans invented Minecraft before bread got popular. So everything is made of blocks, steps, stairs and slabs.
Having visited over 10 of these ruin sites it dawned on me that Mayans use entirely too many steps and not enough slopes…

Uxmal has too many steps

I caught this lazy dinosaur enjoying some sun and being totally ignorant to any of the millions of blocky bits… Iguanas are littered around every archeological site I’ve been too, scurrying away as you approach. Not this one. Not a single care in the world.

Finishing the route set out around the Uxmal complex, tourists began to arrive by the busload. So we made our escape and continued on our way to find some lunch. Which we figured would be available in a town called Tical. We found some nice food in a local restaurant and made our way to the second attraction of the day – The Mayapan ruins.

This was Part 1 of our road trip visiting the Uxmal and Mayapan ruin sites. Continue reading part 2, click here.

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