When most people go to the Yucatan peninsula they usually go to Cancun, which is the tourist capitol of the region. Therefore when most tourists visit archeology sites in the area they tend to concentrate on the sites on the eastern side. Also, Chichen Itza is big and creates an even bigger eastern draw.
Often ignored however is the western region in which there is a road known as the Puuc. Puuc is a Mayan short lived building style that flourished around 800 to 900 AD. It is known for it’s curved building structures.
There are many archeological sites on the Ruta Puuc, but none as impressive as Uxmal. Uxmal is Mayan for “thrice built” but is probably not it’s real name. The people who built Uxmal abandoned the site long before the Spanish arrived in the region. It is believe the site was abandoned around 1200 AD, but exactly when or why this happened no one knows. It has been lost in the mystery of time.
What we do know is that Uxmal was one of three dominate cities in it’s day. It ruled the area and was a mighty center for trade. In the middle of a very flat valley that was created by the meteor that was thought to have caused the extension of the dinosaurs, Uxmal has a commanding presence that can me seen for many miles around it. Uxmal was known as far as Mexico City and we know this because they wrote about people from as far away as Tenochtitlan, the ancient Toltec capital.
The buildings are a prime example of the puuc style and have an architecture that is very unique from other pre-Hispanic buildings in Latin America. While most ancient buildings are very angled, the buildings of Uxmal are rounded at the corners. The two most important gods at Uxmal were Chaac, god of the water, and Kukulkan, god of fertility. The images of these two gods are impressed on almost every building at the site.
The price to get in to Uxmal is $413 pesos (about $22 USD). To get to Uxmal we tried getting an Uber but they kept on canceling out on us so we decided to go with a regular taxi. He charged us 900 pesos (about $47 USD) and he took us to the site waited for us while we walked around and then took us to a nice place for lunch.
For lunch we went to a place called “Ppapp Hol Chac de Uxmal”. How you pronounce that exactly we have no idea. Had the taxi driver not told us about it we would have never gone there. It was basically a giant palapa (wood building with a big leaf roof). For lunch I had the fajitas, Denise had the Yucatecan Chicken, and AJ had lime soup (a lot like tortilla soup but with more lemons). The staff was very friendly and the prices were reasonable. The whole area surrounding Uxmal is aware of tourism so even the menu was translated into English.
On the way there and on the way back we passed by the small town of Uman. What was remarkable to me about Uman was the mototaxis. They are motorcycles that have been cut in half and in the front they have a basket and the people sit in the baskets and get driven around. It looked interesting but I have to say I hope they kept their mouths closed for the ride or the bugs would fly right in them!