The Puuc Route is a journey through the Mayan culture in Yucatan Peninsula. You can decide to start or finish your trip to Uxmal and then move from there. Uxmal’s archaeological site is exactly 80 kilometers south of the city of Merida. In this tour, also known as the montuosa or route of the mounds, you can also appreciate the archaeological sites of Kabah, Sayil, Labná, the caves of Loltún, and the town of Tekax.
You can actually plan the route in your own way and preference: the stops, where to begin, and where to end. People also have taken two days or more to do the whole tour, since there are other places to explore in between each site. This way you can take more time at each stop, do other activities and even choose a place to rest for the rest of the day.
Here’s a description of what you’ll find in the Ruta Puuc. Remember, it’s important to know where you’re going but don’t forget to enjoy the journey!
Uxmal is the second most important archaeological site after Chichen Itza. Among its constructions are the Temple of the Soothsayer, which is almost 40 meters high, the Nuns' Great Quadrangle, and the Governor's Palace. This archaeological zone was built just alongside a series of small hills, which in Mayan is called "puuc". And don’t forget to stay for the Light and Sound Show in Uxmal!
About 25 minutes southeast of Uxmal, is the archaeological zone of Kabah, large on the surface and famous for the carved stones in its constructions. The area is divided into two groups since a road crosses it. The most important building is known as Codz Poop, a place of worship guided by a sacbé (white road), which departed from Uxmal to the arch located in the east of the city. It is very close to the towns of Ticul and Santa Elena, two very good options if you’re looking for a place to eat, buy some handicrafts, or rest. Kabah is open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
It is located 33 kilometers from Uxmal. According to investigators, Sayil was one of the largest cities on the Puuc Route because, during its period of greatest splendor, they estimated a 20,000 people population. It was built in the lower part of the hills and surely life here was not easy for the inhabitants. They had to manage to build cisterns to store water because the soil of the area did not allow them to obtain water in any other way as they did in other Mayan cities through wells. Its main structure known as "The Palace" has a facade of 85 meters high and is built on a platform of two terraces, which gives the impression of being a 3-story building. Sayil is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm.
If you want to explore a little further, you can visit Xpalak and enjoy their open-air museum. It’s only 5 kilometers away from Sayil. Here you will find basic services such as restrooms and restaurants. Xpalak has no cost of admission.
Following the Puuc Route 40 km from Uxmal is Labná, a Maya city whose representative touch is the place known as Arco, a structure carved in stone that rests on a pair of columns. Archaeologists think that this particular city may have been governed by another tribe since there are a large number of roads connecting it to other cities with greater economic and political power. Labná is open Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm.
Grutas de Loltún is impressive caves that the Mayan used as a refuge and for religious purposes. Cave paintings and the famous bas-relief known as The Warrior of Loltun have been found inside. Perhaps one of the most interesting points is the vault known as The Cathedral, through which sunlight streams through the cavities forming truly spectacular light effects.
Tekax is a town located 112 kilometers from Merida and only 34 km from Ticul. It is a good place to take a break from the road and enjoy the parish church of San Juan Bautista, the hermitage of San Diego, and the Chapel of the Eternal Father. Also if you wish you can find some good-priced lodging options and regional food restaurants.
If you do this tour by car you can take a detour to learn a little about the history of chocolate at Choco-Story and the Mummies of Santa Elena. The Chocolate Museum is located in the town of Ticul, is a tour that will take you to learn about the history of cocoa and why it is so valuable for the Mayan culture. It is an ecological and sustainable museum, full of orchid gardens and native flora and fauna. The best part of the tour is that they offer you chocolate prepared with organic cacao, so be ready to taste some real chocolate.
-To visit the Puuc Route you could take from 2 to 4 days, depending on if you are traveling alone, as a couple, or with children.
-If you are traveling with your family, we recommend staying in Merida to start the trip, since the points of interest in this Puuc Route are a maximum of 4 hours away by car.
-Deciding to do the Ruta Puuc in one day or more will depend on the time you dedicate to each site.
-You can add or take any stop you want depending on the tour you acquire.
-Don’t forget to bring water and put on biodegradable sunblock!
-Overall, enjoy and learn more about these majestic Archaeological sites.