Uxmal (OOSH-mahl) means “built three times” in the Mayan language. As a World Heritage site, it is one of the best restored and maintained ruins in the Yucatan. Its architecture, some of the most dramatic of the Yucatan ruins, is characterized by low horizontal palaces set around courtyards, decorated with rich sculptural elements and details.
Uxmal was the greatest metropolitan and religious center in the Puuc hills in the late classical period. It thrived between the 7th and 10th centuries CE and its numerous architectural styles reflect a number of building phases.
Recent studies have suggested that Uxmal was the capital of a regional state that developed in the Puuc region between 850 to 950 CE. Other evidence suggests that Uxmal collaborated politically and economically with Chichen Itza, located between Mérida and Cancún.
Uxmal is about 85 km southwest of Mérida, and will take a few hours to explore thoroughly. There is a small museum at the entrance, as well as a snack bar, gift shops, restrooms and various local vendors. Be sure to bring a hat, some sunscreen and good walking shoes. A camera is probably a good idea as well, as the buildings at Uxmal are very photogenic. The site is open every day to the public from 08:00 to 17:00.
ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) offers buses from Mérida that leave at 06:00, 9:05, and 10:40, and return at 15:20 and 17:00 (also one around 12:00 and 12:30 (It was 12:30 on Sunday). Buses depart from Terminal de Autobuses Mérida (the main 2nd class bus station), M$55 one-way. Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies.