Uxmal (OOSH-mahl) means "'built three times" in the Mayan language, and though its name is a mystery, its beauty is not. As a World Heritage site, it is one of the best-restored and maintained archaeological sites in the Yucatán, and certainly one of the most magnificent. Its architecture, some of the most majestic of the Yucatán archaeological sites, 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 AD 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 AD. Other evidence suggests that Uxmal collaborated politically and economically with Chichén Itzá, the well-known ruin located between Mérida and Cancún.

The most impressive structure and the tallest at 100 feet is the House of the Magician which you will find just beyond the entrance. According to ancient legend, this pyramid was built by Itzamna in one night. It actually appears to have been built in five phases, and it was situated so that its western stairway faces the setting sun at summer solstice.

The Nunnery, another large building on the site, was named by the Spaniards as it reminded them of a European nunnery. It was probably used as a school for training healers, astrologers, shamans, and priests.

The Governor's Palace is an excellent example of stone mosaic work probably created by hundreds of masons and sculptors. It occupies five acres and contains many beautiful sculptures of the rain god Chaac, serpents and astrological symbols.

Other buildings at Uxmal include the House of Turtles, decorated with charming turtle sculptures associated at that time with rain, the Dovecote, a building with many separate chambers, the House of the Old Woman, and more. Uxmal also has a large ball court, enclosing a playing field that is 110 feet long and 32 feet wide.

Uxmal is located about 50 miles 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 a must as well, as the buildings at Uxmal are very photogenic.

If you want to spend the night, there are a few hotels and restaurants catering to the Uxmal visitor. Check the list of hotels at the end of this article, and be sure to visit our Hotel and Restaurant pages for some suggestions, as well as our Maps section for a map of the area. And don't miss the spectacular Light and Sound show that takes place in the archaeological site at night.

The Light and Sound Show has state-of-the-art lighting technology (the original dates to 1972). The new show, inaugurated in June 2009, is the result of a joint effort of various disciplines: architects, engineers, archaeologists, and light and sound experts, together with authorities from Tourism and INAH. 

Important Information
- Climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Magician is no longer allowed.
- The site is open 365 days a year.

- Light and Sound Show (approx. 45 min.) is at 7:00 pm every night during Fall and Winter (starting the last Sunday in October) and 8:00 pm during Spring and Summer (starting the first Sunday in April).
- Open from 8 am to 5 pm.

- If you want to go on your own, you can take a bus in TAME (Second Class Terminal) in Calle 69 x 68 y 70, Centro. Telephones: 924 44 44 and 924 83 91
- Some Travel Agencies have tours to Uxmal and Labná at 9 am. There is another departure at 1 pm just to the Light and Sound Show. The cost is around 500 pesos per person and includes guide services. 

- Entrance fees: ADULTS: 188 pesos for foreigners and 132 pesos for Mexican nationals, and it includes the Light and Sound Show.
 CHILDREN UNDER 13 YEARS: free.  MEXICAN NATIONALS free on Sunday (except for Sound and Light show). Light & Sound show ONLY: 78 pesos foreigners, 50 pesos Mexican nationals.
- Head-phones for translations that translate the show into English, French, German and Italian are available for $39 pesos.

- Lockers for bags and suitcases are available at the entrance.


- The Lodge at Uxmal
- Hacienda Uxmal
- Flycatcher Inn B&B Boutique Hotel
- Villas Arqueológicas Uxmal
- Misión Uxmal

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

- Uxmal Map
- Yucatán Peninsula


just visited Uxmal

I loved this part of our vacation! It was stunningly beautiful, and very interesting to see. I highly recommend an adventure to Uxmal! And you simply must eat at the restaurant there, the guacamole was fabulous!


wheelchair accessible

My husband is in a wheelchair. Could he get around at all here?


RE. wheelchair accessible

You posted your comment on the Uxmal article, so I will begin there. To be honest it is not the best option. Chichen Itza would be much easier. As for other places in Yucatan, like Merida, most of the sidewalks now have access. Some of the public buildings which are very old may not, but there will be lots to see. Be sure to check with your hotel as far as their access goes, not only in public areas but also in the hotel room.
Happy travels,
Juanita Stein, Editor


wheelchair access

Thanks, and I appreciate any other suggestions.


Climbing at Uxmal

I see where climbing the Pyramid of the Magician is no longer allowed. Is there any pramid at Uxmal that is accessible for climbing? I knew Chichen Itza had banned climbing (I did it in '01 prior to ban) but had understood from those that went to Uxmal in past 6 months that you can climb.

Could you please verifiy? We will be there in Nov. on a cruise and want to plan ahead. Our daughter has not been to either site and would actually prefer Chichen-Itza but was deciding based on the climbing.



looks really pretty



My daughter and I were just there, and we were allowed to climb the Pyramid of the Magician. It was incredible.


Uximal - Cruise Ship

We will be at the port in Progreso and would like to take a taxi to Uximal. Is this possible? If so, about how much would the taxi ride cost and how long would it take to get there? We will be ported in Progreso from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.


UXMAL - Cruise Ship


cruise connection

arriving the 14th on Carnival at 7 a.m. are there tours available at the dock that are reliable, especially to return us before departure at 3 p.m. for less than $80 per person?
Thank you.



Check our list of tour operators and be sure to contact the two that offer personal transportation:

Cel. (999) 947 7599
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://lawsonsdriving.blogspot.com/

Tel: (999) 922 0565
Cel: (999) 163 8224 

Email: [email protected]
Website: www.yucatan-connection.com

Also read this article.



very nice piramids at Uxmal, i didn't know about them, you've got a nice niche site! keep it Up!


Cruise ship days

Would like to know the days of the week that cruise ships dock in Progresso.I'll be staying in Merida and would like to avoid the crowds at some of the sites. Dates are Aug.4th-11th. Thanks


Cruise ship days

The cruise ships arrive to Progreso on Mondays and Wednesdays.


we plan to visit UXMAL next

we plan to visit UXMAL next month, around mid of November, in the morning time. may we know the temperature at that time?

also, is there any luggage storage service at that site?


re. plan to visit uxmal

Temps in Nov. range from lows of approx. 20 C to highs of approx. 30 C.

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Welcome to Yucatan Today
Yucatan Today is the leading tourist guide of Merida, Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula and was recently voted the best tourism website in all of Mexico! In our companion monthly magazine, we bring you the information you need to enjoy your experience while you are here. Read more