Puuc Route: Culture from up high

If you have been to Yucatan, Mexico, you may have noticed that surprisingly it’s flat, if you stay at a hotel with enough height in Merida, you can look towards the horizon and won’t see any hill in any direction. 

However, not all of Yucatan is like its capital. In my opinion, if you are in Merida you should not miss the Puuc region. Puuc, or being more accurate Pu’uk, is a mayan word which means hill or hill ranges.  

This word is still being used due to this area’s cultural influence, even nowadays. There are amazing archaeological sites that can give us a good idea about the power Mayans had, also, mayan culture is still alive and can be seen on the way of living, language, customs...

This time I want to share some reasons about why I love these archaeological sites.

Sites’ details in this region defined a new Mayan architectonic style. The buildings are older than famous Chichen Itza’s, also visited from Cancun, but are as or more impressive. I enjoy admiring their details and try to imagine all the effort behind stones extraction, its carrying, placement  and shaping Mayans were so accurate, even without current technology.    

Picture: Xlapak


Uxmal is the most famous in the area, however there are hundreds of vestiges nearby, and around 12 which are open to public.

Picture: Uxmal


For example, Kabah, is a wonderful place, full of details and corners to admire.

Picture: Kabah


And once again, Mayans surprised me. I hadn’t seen any archs at other Mexican ruins sites, whereas here you can find them in some of them, like Labna.   


Picture: Labna


I’m intrigued about how Mayans represented their Gods in their temples Chaac (Rain’s God), is one to remember.


Picture: Uxmal


Also the animals importance in their culture is extraordinary; to name a few, you can find carved in their temples samples of jaguars, birds, hares, and turtles.


Picture: Uxmal


I enjoy the calmness, sounds and views, as all these places are surrounded by nature. These archaeological sites are not crowded, and it’s easy to find trails, also authentic “Sacbes” connecting vestiges, or even nearby communities. “Sacbes” are high trails made by prehispanic Mayans, so when you walk over them it’s easy to imagine stories that people could have lived almost 2,000 years ago.   


Picture: Sayil


Finally, the panoramic views, either when you climb up a high structure, or in places like Chacmultun, where you can be on the top of a hill and enjoy this landscape.


Picture: Chacmultun surroundings


I hope I had given you enough reasons to visit and stay in the area at least a couple of days. I have some additional pieces of information: the cuisine is excellent, there are ancient convents and legends, you can meet authentic mayan communities, and practice activities like hiking, mountain biking, extreme caves exploration with unique rock / crystals formations, and  more…  all of these are  part of another story.

By the way, most likely you’ll need more time for Puuc region. Write to you later!

Important data for visiting:

How to get there:

  • By bus you can easily reach Uxmal from Merida. However getting back could make you wait the bus for a long while in the road, and buses are usually full because their origin departure is several towns before reaching Uxmal.

  • From Merida you can take a bus on Sundays, it takes you to 5 archaeological sites. More Info.

  • There are also tour services from Merida that you can book online in this website. 

Recommendations:

  • If you want to explore the area, you can find accommodation in places like Santa Elena, Ticul, Oxkutzcab, Mani, Muna or Tekax.

  • Mani is a good town  in the area to eat.

  • There are several caves in this region, the most popular ones are Loltun caves.

  • It is advisable to bring water, and biodegradable insect repellent and sunscreen. Between April to September the weather is very warm.

  • Care for nature, take all your litter and garbage back with you; take special care of glassware and / or campfires.

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