This was definitely the most beautiful and interesting Mayan site we visited in our two weeks in the Yucatan. We went on a tour with Mayan Ecotours (very disappointing, but that's another story!), and unfortunately didn’t arrive until the very hottest part of the day, so we didn’t get to spend as much time there as we would have wanted. I would recommend going by public bus (Mexican buses are excellent and very reliable) from Merida, aiming for a cool part of the day, and planning to spend at least 2-3 hours there. The stunning carvings, the wide open spaces and the expansive layout are all very different from the smaller sites – Uxmal seems like a city built to impress rather than to live in, unlike some of the smaller sites like Mayapan. I understand it’s very like Chichen Itza (which we unfortunately didn’t get to), but much quieter! It has some of the same features as Chichen Itza, like the bird echo (if you clap your hands hard, standing straight in front of the first pyramid, you hear a sound like a bird call – apparently it was a way for Uxmal’s rulers to pretend to the people that they could communicate with God!) and the ball court. The carvings, though, are the highlight – absolutely beautiful and very enigmatic (make sure you have a good guide or guide book to explain it all). Uxmal is also quite a good place for wildlife watching, including plenty of iguanas and some colourful birdlife.
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