Uxmal Bowls Us Over

There’s nothing like Uxmal! I’m afraid I may be at a loss for words describing this fantastic site. You’ll have to excuse me if I just say fantastic over and over.

After our stop at Loltun, Eric drove Tim and I in the rental car down the wild Ruta Puuc to our final stop of the day. We could tell Uxmal (pronounced Oosh-mall) was a big-ticket site from the giant sign and nice tourist shops. When we arrived at 3 p.m. we had barely two hours to see the extensive site. Most of the tourists had either left already or not made it all the way down Ruta Puuc. It was remarkably empty.

Walking in you’re greeted with a massive pyramid. If you clap your hands in front of it the pyramid makes the sound of the sacred Quetzal bird.

From Uxmal

We skirted around that to see the sprawling Mayan city behind. The square behind the pyramid was huge, with so many perfect glyphs. We climbed the steps of one building and could see at least three other structures in the distance.


We hiked over to those and from the top could see even more — and some unexcavated. We got good at spotting unexcavated ruins — mostly because any natural hills in the Yucatan are suspect (though the Puuc region is a notable exception).

Like most ruins we encountered, animals loved just hanging around. Lazy iguanas reclined on the building steps or clung from the walls and corners. Colonies of bats chirped and flitted in the cool dark recesses and antechambers. Vultures circled constantly, but we tried not to read anything into it.

I doubt even a photo from the sky would give you a clear sense of the scale of this site. Ruins were simply everywhere you looked and they were massive. The carvings on every building were all in sharp relief.


At 5 we had to leave after not having explored much of the site. I haven’t seen many ruined cities, but I think this is as good as they come.

Uxmal photo gallery

– Rachel

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