Puuc Route

Kabah-08.jpg

The Puuc Route, or Ruta Puuc, is an interesting and obligatory trip when you come to Yucatán. Just 80 km. south of Mérida, this is a do-able day trip. On this route there are Mayan sites (Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, X-Lapak, Labna), the caves of Loltún, haciendas (must-see frozen in time Yaxcopoil museum (75 pesos), Ochil restaurant/museum, Temozon boutique hotel/restaurant), cenotes, Mayan villages, and larger Mayan city/towns (Ticul, Oxkutzcab).

To do this route, you can either rent a car and follow our map, take a tour with a travel agency, or take a bus: departing Mérida at 8 am and returning at 4 pm, for 159 pesos only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from ADO station on Calle 69 between 68 and 70. Call 924 0830 ext. 2909 for info.

Loltún Caves

To begin the trip, follow the signs south to Uxmal. At Muna, turn left and follow the signs to Loltún. If you start in Loltún, you can do a guided tour of the caves in the morning. Tours are the only way you can get into the caves and they start at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 noon, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Entrance: Foreigners 108 pesos, Mexican nationals 80 pesos.

Labná

The next stop will bring you to Labná, once a city of some 1,500 to 2,500 people, inhabited between 750 and 1000 AD. Presently, four buildings are in a restored state. Notice the caretaker’s open thatched roof home as you enter the site. The large palace is well restored and houses 70 chultunes (water cisterns) that are, unfortunately, not visible. Also here is the much-photographed arch that is thought to be the center of the city and the entrance to the sacbé (white road or Mayan highway) that went to Uxmal. The caretaker’s wife sells plants if you are interested! Entrance: $43.00 pesos.

ECO-MUSEO DE CACAO
Don't miss the Eco-Museo de Cacao between Labná and X-Lapak.

X-Lapak

Continuing down the winding road you will come to X-Lapak which means "unglued walls", a site of some 14 mounds and three somewhat restored pyramids. This site and Sayil are less restored and manicured, so you can see what the sites looked like when they were discovered. Notice the many carved stones just lying around on the ground. Entrance: free.

Sayil

Five km. from this turn is Sayil, which means "The Place of the Ants." At the entrance you will see an outdoor museum under a thatched roof. Check out the huge stellae dating from 800-1000 AD. This site is home to a beautiful palace that included 90 bedrooms for some 350 people. From the top level of the palace you can see the church at Santa Elena and across the way a tiny ruin on the side of a mountain, which is called "the nine masks". There are restrooms here. Entrance: $43.00 pesos.

Kabah

Continuing on with the route, your next stop will be Kabah. You will have to turn right five km. out of Sayil at the "T" in the road. The roads are very well marked. Kabah is famous for its incredibly ornate "Palace of Chaac Masks" (Chaac is the Mayan rain god). Also take a look at the two large figures on the back of this building. Entrance: $43.00 pesos.

Uxmal

Just a few km. down the road is Uxmal. The most "manicured" of the sites and last stop in this route, Uxmal means "the thrice built city" with the colossal "Magician’s Pyramids", impressive "Governor’s Palace", intricate "Doves Temple" and the grand "Nuns Quadrangle". Uxmal has a tourist center with shops, restaurants and bathrooms. Entrance: 188 pesos foreigners, 132 pesos Mexican nationals, including Luz y Sonido. 

Important Information

- All sites are open 365 days a year.

- Open from 8 am to 5 pm.

- Climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Magician in Uxmal is no longer allowed.

- Light and Sound Show at Uxmal is at 7:00 pm every night during Fall and Winter and 8:00 pm during Spring and Summer.

Hotels
- Hotel Puuc in Oxkutzcab
- Hotel Plaza Ticul
- Misión Uxmal
- The Lodge at Uxmal
- Hacienda Uxmal
- Flycatcher Inn B&B Boutique Hotel

Recommended reading
- Uxmal
- Mayaland Resorts:
 The Lodge at Uxmal

Maps
- Yucatán Peninsula

 

01.

Hotels at Uxmal

The Villas Arqueologicas at Uxmal is reasonably priced, very close to Uxmal and has wonderful food.

02.

Posada Jardin, Ticul

Our family group of 7 stayed at Posada Jardin in Ticul for 3 nights in March 2010 and we highly recommend it. We rented all three cabanas at a great rate. The grounds are spacious, well treed, very relaxing and easy walking distance to El Centro.
Roman is a retired engineer and math teacher as well as a very gracious host. He has a website in Spanish.

Ticul is definitely NOT a tourist town, which we really enjoyed.

03.

Loltun Caves fee

Hi, I am planning a trip to Merida with my family and one of the sights we are planning to see while we are there is the Loltun Caves.
Moon travel guide, Lonely planet and Tour by mexico website all state that the entrance fee is 70 pesos pp, here it differentiates the fee... for foriegnersit is 95 pesos and that includes either a Spanish or English guide, Yet all of the travel sites and blogs that I have read about the caves, include stories of tourists paying the fee and then being approached by an "English speaking guide" who charges another 600 pesos and says he only works for tips.

"The entrance fee was very reasonable and AFTER you pay a English speaking guide wandered up and said his fee is 600 pesos which is almost $50 for a 1-1/2 hour tour. There was another couple who didn’t think the fee was unreasonable so I did not have the opportunity to negotiate a better
price. The guide said, if more people were here the price would stay the same, but whether you have 1 or 20 the group MUST still tip him 600 pesos."

"As a guide, he was just OK. His english wasn't the best, and he certainly didn't say as much as the main spanish guide"

 
"We were rushed through the ticket gate and charged 500 pesos for 2 adults and 1 child."
 
"as the tour began with the Spanish-speaking guide, another man told us to wait behind and he would act as our English-speaking guide if we wanted. He explained he only worked for tips" .

"We were told the tour price doesn't include payment to the guide, and a guide is required, so the guides get a bit pushy for their tips. Our guide kept repeating that we did not have to tip, but that at other sites guides get $450 pesos per person for a tour"

How can we avoid these scams when we venture out there on our own, with out an organized tour company?

04.

re. loltun caves fee

The entry fees are correct on our website. You can confirm this on the government website here: http://www.yucatan.travel/es/rutas-turisticas/ruta-puuc/
The entry fee includes admission to the site and the obligatory guide into the caves. THEY DO NOT HAVE SET FEES FOR THEIR GUIDE SERVICES, IT IS BY TIP. However, what has happened, is that many visitors do not appreciate their expertise and leave them either no tip or a meagre one, so they are trying to protect themselves. This is their only income. (It is not a perfect system, but that is the way it is.) If a guide approaches you and asks for an "official" or "obligatory" fee, you should go to an official on the site and report it. Get the guide's name and take a picture if you can, and send it to us, we will report it, we want to help prevent this type of scam. My advice would be to negotiate an acceptable guide service fee before you enter the caves; and that fee IS your tip. In my opinion, 450 or 500 or 600 pesos is too high. I would pay 200 pesos for a family of four. Good luck.

05.

Minimum wage

You should tell your readers about the minimum salary in Mexico.
How much a bricklayer is making a day, in bad conditions ? Let's say 50 Pesos ... so a guide speaking bad english and knowing nothing can get 200 that easy ?

06.

re. minimum wage

Here is a schedule of Mexico's minimum wages. Yucatan is in Region C.

http://www.misalario.org/main/salario-minimo/mexico-salarios-minimos

As you can see, construction workers in various trades must be paid from 80 pesos per day and upward, and most earn far more than these minimums. Plus it is mandatory that they be provided medical insurance. The guides at the archaeological zones are self employed, nobody provides them with medical insurance.

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