Oosh-mal (Uxmal)

Our trip to Merida had a main purpose, and that revolved around yet another visit to more Mayan ruins, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Uxmal (pronounced oosh-mal).

A morning stroll from our hostel to Merida’s 2nd class bus terminal on another hot day had been preceded by us checking out of our hostel and putting our packs into a provided storage locker.

We quickly grabbed our tickets and waited for our bus that would convey us the 80km or so it was to the ruins site.

Unsure of how frequent the bus services in the opposite direction were, we asked at the terminal and were advise there was one around midday, so that gave us just over an hour at the ruins. Thank goodness they at least looked compact!

We raced the few hundred metres from the highway to the ticket office and purchased our tickets, which were suprisingly cheap. Great way to start the day!

…until we were directed to a window next door (I mean right beside, possibly 20cm apart) where we had to buy a second, rather expensive ticket! Why they couldn’t sell both tickets at the one window is beyond me.

Still, we were finally in, racing along the path and we were suddenly confronted with this!

A fairly awesome sight on entrance!

A fairly awesome sight on entrance!

Talk about making an impact!

This structure was the Casa del Adivino, and it was a pretty incredible way to kick things off.

We admired for a while, then remembered we had a schedule to keep, so it was off to indulge in the Cuadrangulo de las Monjas.

Apparently debate still rages as to what this part of the complex was (at least according to our Mexico Lonely Planet guidebook), although theories suggest it was possibly a military academy, palace or royal school…

The beginning of our whirlwind siteseeing

The beginning of our whirlwind siteseeing

Detailed facades

Palace or school?

We made our way through a couple of ball courts in good enough condition that they still had their stone rings (whether some restoration had occurred is unknown), before heading to the imposing Templo Mayor where we hoped we’d grab some pretty good views.

The path towards us took us through a lightly wooded area where we spied a few quite large iguanas sunning themselves at various intervals.

At the base of the stairs looking up, it looked a mission, but given that we were already lathered in sweat, it was going to make little impact on our already disheveled appearance and already hot bodies, so up we went.

Making ready to ascend to greater heights

Making ready to ascend to greater heights

It proved a wise choice, as it really was a great view and despite the fact we were now in full sun, there was also a little breeze now with the greater elevation.

We also used the vantage point to spot a few other areas in which to continue our explorations…

Postcard views...

Hot and sweaty, but worth it for this!

Looking back whence we came. Steep enough?

Looking back whence we came. Steep enough?

There was quite a bit of the site that was not approachable due to either maintenance or archaeological works (or both), but there was still plenty to see, not least of all the iguanas.

There were seriously hundreds of them, lounging/sunning or scurrying about.

Speaking of Iguanas... can you spot the five in this shot?

Speaking of Iguanas… can you spot the five in this shot?

Having done our rounds and grabbing a few final shots back where we started, we made our way to the main road to catch the bus back to town.

Here we ran into several other groups of people also waiting for a bus, some of which had been given different times from us again, so we had no idea whether to expect a bus at 12:00, 12:30, 12:45 or 13:00!

For the record, about 45 minutes later a bus did arrive, but when it was scheduled? Who really knows…

 

Notes:

* Buses from Merida to Uxmal run from the 2nd Class Bus Terminal (conveniently located opposite the 1st Class Bus Terminal on Calle 69).

* The fare to the ruins was $27.00 pesos per person (one way).

* Entrance to the ruins cost $188.00 pesos per person with the Yucatan government adding an inflated fee to the UNAH price.

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