Loaded with rich history and stunning architecture, the ruins along Mexico’s Ruta Puuc are often overlooked amidst the world-famous Chichen Itza and the archaeological site of Tulum. Ideal for a short day trip from beautiful, quaint town of Merida, the ruins along the Ruta Puuc are not to be missed.
After grabbing a quick breakfast from Merida, we drove along this beautiful route and stopped at 4 places along the way: Loltum Caves, Labna, Kabah, and Uxmal.
Lol-tum, literally meaning “stone flower” was created by water millions of years ago. Although the entrance and the exit to the caves looks like a cenote (or a sink hole), there is no water anymore. To this day, one can still see remarkable fossil evidence of sea animals that once inhabited these caves.
To learn more about these caves and see more pictures, check out my blog on Exploring the Loltun Caves.
One of the very first buildings you see in this site is El Palacio. This complex structure with intricate architectural details is a pleasure to explore.
The most significant structure in Labna is its stone-carved El Arco, believed to be the center of the city where about 2000 people lived between 750 and 1000 AD. Notice how these Mayan sites are decorated with figures honoring the Chaac God, their rain god.
Another structure that is hard to miss is El Mirador (or Watch Tower or Observatory) with a temple atop the remnants.
Sayil is pretty vast, must vaster than Labna. The most significant site here is the Palace of Sayil itself. If interested, you can walk around the site to see other structures such as El Mirador Temple, Pyramid of Chaac. However these structures are pretty dilapidated with plants and trees growing all over them. I’d skip them and spend more time in Kabah and Uxmal instead.
Kabah (Temple of the Masks)
Kabah is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites we saw that day. The incredibly ornate structure is Kabah is the façade composed of 250 masks of Chaac, the Mayan Rain God. The amount of work that went into building this structure is mind blowing.
To this day, it is still a mystery why this city became abandoned. But considering its archaeological grandeur, one can only assume that the city was of significant important when it was inhabited by the Mayans.
Our long day ended in Uxmal; my favorite of all the sites! The main pyramid in Uxmal, the Pyramid of the Magician is magnificent and looks very similar to the El Castillo in Chichen Itza. Of course, another difference being that Uxmal is much less crowded than Chichen Itza.
Other popular structures in Uxmal are The Nun’s Quadrangle, The Ballgame Court, The Temple of the Monuments, The House of the Turtles and The Governor’s Palace. And unlike Chichen Itza and Tulum, you are allowed to climb the pyramid at Uxmal.
Uxmal is also quite popular for its light show at night!