Uxmal is an archeological site and a UNESCO 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.
To See & Do
The most impressive structure and the tallest at 100 feet, is the House of the Magician which you will find just beyond the entrance. According to ancient legend, this pyramid was built by Itzamna in one night. It actually appears to have been built in five phases, and it was situated so that its western stairway faces the setting sun at summer solstice. Note as of October 2009, tourists are no longer permitted to climb the House of the Magician.
The Nunnery, another large building on the site, was named by the Spaniards as it reminded them of a European nunnery. It was probably used as a school for training healers, astrologers, shamans and priests.
The Governor’s Palace is an excellent example of stone mosaic work probably created by hundreds of masons and sculptors. It occupies five acres and contains many beautiful sculptures of the rain god Chaac, serpents and astrological symbols.
Other buildings at Uxmal include the House of Turtles, decorated with turtle sculptures associated at that time with rain, the Dovecote, a building with many separate chambers, the House of the Old Woman, and more. Uxmal also has a large ballcourt, enclosing a playing field that is 110 feet long and 32 feet wide.
Uxmal offers a rich architecture of the Puuc Style, a city full of palaces, temples and a unique pyramid “El Adivino”. INAH offers nightly a “Light and Sound Show” that is far more interesting than the one offered at Chichen Itza.
Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies.
Fees/Permits – Entrance fee : $166 pesos (about $16 USD)
How to Get There
Uxmal is located about 50 miles south-west of Merida, 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 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Kingdom of the Maya • Locations & Activities