Mayan Ruins of Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

Uxmal, one of the most important of the Mayan archeological sites, is also one of the most rewarding to explore. Receiving a fraction of the tourists that Chichen Itza sees and with fewer barriers to truly climbing and exploring the structures these are a fun ruins. The hilly terrain also adds an architectural element as well an extra challenge.

Typically the buildings are of the pure Puuc style with numerous examples of well-preserved carvings of the rain god, Chaac. It is possible to climb many of the structures and get a closer look at these magnificent carvings, but the main pyramid, Casa del Adivino, is off limits.

You can however, get a good view of the Chaac figures that go up the stone stairs on the west side of the structure.

Be sure not to miss the courtyard on this side of the pyramid. If you enter the complex on the main path that rounds the buildings on the right it is easy to miss. Either round the building to the left or wind your way through from the right side.

We arrived shortly after opening at 8:15. There were just a few other couples at the site and we only saw one tour group, just entering as we were leaving at 10:15. Most of the structures are well lit in the morning.

The exception is the front of Casa del Adivnino which faces west and therefore isn’t lit until afternoon. You can get a reasonable side-lit view of it a bit later in the morning.

The Governor’s Palace faces east and is lit in the morning. The backside is currently mostly rubble. Most everything else has multiple faces, so something is always lit.

If you like Mayan carvings this is a great site with so many beautifully preserved examples.

Other Highlights

Nunnery (Cuadrángulo de las Monjas)
morning or afternoon

Governor’s Palace
front lit in the morning

View from Upper Tier near the Governor’s Palace

Carvings in the Cemetery
morning or afternoon

House of the Tortugas
good in morning light

South Temple
faces north

West Group
faces north

December 13, 2019

For links to all the posts in this series see the Yucatan Peninsula page.