Notice: As of July 2023, the archaeoligical sites of Uxmal, Kabah, Xlapak, Sayil, and Labná are open to the public. The caves of Loltún remain closed until further notice.
At one hour and a half from Mérida you will find two of the most beautiful treasures from the Yucatán State, I´m talking about the Loltún Caves and the archeological site of Uxmal, both are part from the famous Puuc Route. Let us tell you more about them:
Its name is derived from two Maya words, LOL (flower) and TUN (stone). Located in the Puuc Route, 110 km. southeast of Mérida, these are the largest, more famous, and most studied caves on the peninsula. Evidence has been found here of human contact going back 7,000 years. Mammoth, bison, feline and deer bones have been found in the caves, along with fresco paintings on the walls.
The cave has been made more accessible for visitors with lighting on its paths. Your two-hour tour will take you from cathedral-like underground spaces, to dry riverbeds, beautiful glittering stalagmites that look like frozen fountains, and much more. At the end of the tour is a majestic collapsed vault.
The tour starts at the entrance of Nahkab, or beehive, where the famous bas-relief known as El Guerrero de Loltún (the Loltún warrior) is located, who seems to be emerging from the caves and is believed to be the God of the underworld. Another attraction of great interest is the cave paintings: on one wall one can see negatives of hands, on another there are more elaborate paintings representing faces, animals and staggered fret patterns.
For your own safety, you can only enter the caves with a guide. The bilingual guides do not charge for their services, so we recommend that you tip them, it can be the equivalent of what is charge for the Uxmal tour, around $700 pesos.
Open: Monday to Sunday
Various tour schedules: 9 am to 4 pm
Entrance Fee: $169 pesos non-Mexican citizens, $129 pesos Mexican citizens
Uxmal is an ancient Maya city, declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1996, it is only 78 km from Mérida, about a one-hour drive south on Highway 261, past the town of Muna. Its name comes from “Oxmal” which is Maya for “three times built” or “what is yet to come”.
The most impressive structure and the tallest at 100 feet is the House of the Magician. 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 and contains many beautiful sculptures of the rain god Chaac, serpents and astrological symbols.
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.
The Light and Sound Show has state-of-the-art lighting technology. The show is only in Spanish.
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: (999) 920 4444 and 924 8391.
Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm.
Foreigners fees: $494 pesos
Mexican fees: $225 pesos
Light and Sound Show (paused)
Approximately 45 minutes, is at 7 pm every night during Fall and Winter (starting the last Sunday in October) and 8 pm during Spring and Summer (starting the first Sunday in April). Entrance fee: $103 pesos foreigners and $66 pesos Mexicans.
So now you know, visit the Loltún caves, the archeological site of Uxmal and enjoy the light and sound show, we are sure you are going to love this tour. Also remember that there many hotels in the area, check our online lodging listing.
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