Notice: As of May 15, 2021 the archaeoligical sites of  Xlapak, Sayil, Labná and Kabah and the caves of Loltún remain closed until further notice. Uxmal remains open during regular hours.
Xlapak 2Since Chichén Itzá was named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World on July 7th, 2007, the site has been inundated with tourism from Yucatán, Mexico, and the rest of the world.
In the meantime, Uxmal and the Puuc Route have fewer visitors. This means that now is the perfect time to visit this area of the Maya world. With so few people to disturb the peace and serenity of the area, you WILL feel the mythical mysticism.

The Yucatan Today editorial staff did this trip recently to update our information, see what’s new and just have a nice/different Sunday. We came back from the excursion bursting with ideas having seen a whole new “Ruta Puuc”.

 

With so few visitors we almost felt like Catherwood and Stephens as we traipsed around the sites. We were the only people at Kabah (it was early), giving us wonderful photo opportunities. The Palace of the Chaac Masks (Codz Poop) with all the chaac masks on the front façade and the two statues on the back were quite special in the early morning.

 

Ten kilometers later we were at Sayil, where once again we had the site almost to ourselves. The stellae at the entrance are Xlapak 1impressive and amazing when you try to imagine Maya people carving them centuries ago. Xlapak, 5 kilometers from Sayil, is a very small site but very worthwhile, and the entry is free.

 

At the larger site, Labná, 4 kilometers from Xlapak, it hit me that this is a route that is perfect not only for tourists but also for locals. The caretaker’s wife has a mini-nursery where I bought eight plants – some in hanging baskets, others in cans. This is where I envisioned local women buying plants for their homes while enjoying a Sunday outing with their families. Labná’s famous arch and crested building atop a mound are the perfect backgrounds for photos.

 

From Labná we headed on to Oxkutzcab, the state’s orchard, where we stopped at the market and bought squash, oranges, lemons, guanábanas, morning glories, a lime tree and a grapefruit tree.

 

From Oxkutzcab we headed on to Ticul and the Mirador restaurant where we had delicious Yucatecan food and home-raised tilapia fish as we enjoyed the magnificent view from this hilltop restaurant. After lunch we stopped at the clay pottery shops and bought planters for the plants I’d just purchased at Labná.

 

I cannot stress enough what a nice day this was….to travel the well signed roads in the jungle and have no vendors bothering us at the sites made for a perfect day. If you are a Mexican citizen, entrance into the sites is free on Sunday.

 

By Judy Abbott

 

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