Although I just declared my undying love for the incredible ruins of Palenque, Uxmal’s unusual pyramid was also a highlight of our Mexican tour. Sandwiched in between nights spent in the colourful towns of Campeche and Merida, we explored its beautiful green lawns and many sculptures to the rain god Chaac. Just like Palenque, it was relatively quiet and perfect to wander around, soaking in our surroundings.
After a late night arrival into Campeche and with limited time to explore the colourful town, Anna and I jumped into our running gear first thing. We passed vintage VWs, a rainbow of walls, street art and dozy pelicans as we
sped jogged through the sleepy streets and along the sea wall. It was definitely worth the early start!
Our next stop was the main event of the day, the ruins of the Mayan city of Uxmal. It was one of the culture’s most important sites in its heyday of 850-925 AD, but not much excavation of the buried buildings has taken place so less is known about this site than places like Palenque and Chichen Itza. However it was naturally well preserved due to a very solid style of construction, so you can still imagine the bustling city that it once was.
The magic of Uxmal is encountered straight away – the Magician’s Pyramid, that is! Cesar told us there were lots of different versions of the myth around the pyramid’s construction, but one is that it was the result of a challenge issued to a dwarf by the king to build it overnight. Maybe the unusual rounded sides were a time-saver?! There aren’t many pyramids like this in Mayan Mexico, and I thought it was quite beautiful. My dad remembers visiting Uxmal over 30 years ago and being able to climb right up to the top – it’s probably a good thing you’re not able to now as my first thought when he said that was that it would make a great slide!
Spotted a huuuuuge lizard sunning itself!
The back of the pyramid lines up with the setting sun in the summer solstice
From the magic pyramid we wandered around to the huge expanse of the Governor’s Palace, whose claim to fame is the longest facades in pre-Colombian Mesoamerica. There’s your next esoteric pub quiz fact sorted! The palace and surrounding building are decorated with many carvings of the rain god Chaac, most easily spotted by the spouts that reminded me of elephant trunks.
Backpack and sneakers… check my travel style!
We spent that night in the beautiful white city of Merida, and took an early-evening stroll as the sunset tinted the facades a gentle pink. I wished (as always) for longer to see more of this gorgeous colourful place! However I can give a very strong recommendation for the delicious flavoursome food of Apoala, where I ate the best soft-shell crab tacos of my life. Just thinking about them now makes my mouth water still…
What’s your favourite Mexican meal you’ve eaten?
For more of our epic Cuba & Mexico trip, click here!