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All about Uxmal in Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Day Trips

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Author: Tobias

The 9th century Maya site Uxmal is similarly large and impressive as Chichén Itzá, but much less known. Uxmal is about 85km away from Mérida. The journey by car takes about 60min from the city center of Mérida and the place is most of the time bustling. The admission fee for foreign adults is about 495MXN. Different prices may apply for residents or children.

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Address:

Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexiko

Website:

Category:

Trip

Phone:

+52 999 944 0033

Distance:

85km from Mérida

Travel Time:

60min from Mérida

Admission:

Mex$ 495

Price Level:

High

Since:

Around 700 AD

Google Rating:

average rating is 4.8 out of 5, based on 18473 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Thursday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Saturday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Sunday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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Uxmal

Uxmal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, one of the most important excavation sites in México and widely considered to be one of the most beautiful Pre-Columbian sites.


The sprawling Maya site consists of various plazas, buildings and pyramids. The Mayan city of Uxmal was founded around 700 AD and had around 25,000 inhabitants.


It is similarly large and impressive as Chichén Itzá, but much less known and accordingly there are much fewer tourists.


In recent years, the entrance fee has more than doubled to about 500 peses per person. There is 80 pesos parking fee and if you want to use a camera, you pay another fee of 45 pesos (cell phone cameras are exempt). You are not allowed to bring any bags or backpacks, not even a camera tripod.


However, the fantastic and well restored site makes up for it. As with all of these places, it is recommended to be there in the morning when the first visitors are allowed in. So you can enjoy the surroundings relatively undisturbed for as long as possible.


Speaking of "undisturbed": Unlike Chichén Itzá, no merchants are allowed inside. And there is another advantage: Except for the large pyramid, the structures can be climbed.


The world of archaeology


Some interesting figures about Mayan archaeological sites on the Yucatan Peninsula:


 
Figures about Mayan archaeological sites
Figures about Mayan archaeological sites
 

The Pyramid of the Magician


The name Uxmal means "built three times" in the Mayan language. It refers to the construction of the tallest structure (with a height of 35 meters), the Pyramid of the Magician ("El Adivino").


It was built on top of existing pyramids. El Adivino is the most famous Pyramid. In addition to its size, its shape is also unusual, as the pyramid's ground plan is not square, but elliptical.


The nunnery


The nunnery ("La Casa de las Monjas"), one of the most important structures in Uxmal, was built on a huge platform. It never housed nuns, but the Spanish conquistadors probably felt reminded of the Spanish convents.


The great Pyramid


The Great Pyramid ("Pirámide Mayor") rises at the back of the Governor's Palace. You can climb the long staircase and get a great view of the whole complex.


Due to its dimensions and rich decoration, the Governor's Palace is considered one of the most beautiful monuments of Classic Mayan architecture. There is also a ball court in Uxmal.


We have more background information and travel tips on Mayan archaeological sites.


Choco-Story Museum


If you are in Uxmal and still have some time, you should also visit the the Chocolate Museum, which is located right next to the archaeological site (the address is Antigua, Calle 10 Carretera Merida Campeche Km. 78, 97899 Uxmal).


The 4,000-year history of chocolate began in present-day Mexico, where the first cocoa plant was discovered. The Olmecs, one of the oldest Latin American civilizations, were the first to produce drinking chocolate from a cocoa plant.


The Choco-Story Museum is one of the best attractions in the city. Not only can you learn about the history and process of chocolate making, but you can also taste and buy different types of Mexican chocolate.


The Choco-Story Museum is located right next to highway 261, just 100 meters from the turnoff to the archaeological site (on the opposite side of the road). You can find more information on the website of the Choco-Story Museum.


How do you get to Uxmal from Mérida?


The Mayan archaeological site of Uxmal can be reached from Mérida in about an hour by car, you can book a tour or easily take the bus from Mérida.


Public buses depart to Uxmal from Mérida’s second-class Terminal "TAME Mérida" (Terminal Única) at Calle 69, No. 55, between Calles 68 and 70 (separate from the ADO bus terminal).

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Best Mérida Day Trips

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