Getting to Uxmal is pretty straight forward. Whether you want to take a tour, go by car, or take the bus, you should make your way to this amazing Mexican ruins site.
The best place to base yourself if you want to visit Uxmal is in Merida. It’s about an hour by car from Merida to Uxmal, so it’s an easy day trip.
Be sure to check out my other Merida posts to help you plan your trip around the region.
Getting to Uxmal by Car
If you have already rented a car from the airport in Merida, you’ll have no problem getting to Uxmal for a day trip.
Simple head south out of the city on Highway 180. There will be a turnoff about 10 minutes down the road with signs for Uxmal. These will take you onto Highway 261. Follow this road all the way to the entrance of Uxmal.
If you have any concerns about getting lost, I highly recommend the app WAZE. It’s the best option for traveling in Mexico, so if you plan to drive elsewhere, you’ll have the best navigation system for the job.
If you haven’t rented a car already, I highly recommend checking out the company Veloz Rental Cars. They are located right in the city center, so no need to head back to the airport to rent a car.
Renting a car in Mexico can be a little bit of a hassle at times and companies like Veloz make it SO much easier and stress free.
The price is reasonable and includes all insurance coverage. They always have at least one staff member working who speaks English.
The best thing about having a car to go to Uxmal is that you can stop at other places along the Ruta Puuc or Puuc Route. This is a tourist road that has several different ruins along the way including Uxmal.
Getting to Uxmal by Bus
Getting to Uxmal by bus is incredibly simple.
Once you’re here, you go up to the counter and ask for a ticket to Uxmal. You should get a round trip ticket. They cost roughly 65 pesos each way (about $3.50 USD).
The driver will shout when you are outside of Uxmal. You simply get off and stay on that side of the road. Turn into the parking lot and walk to the front desk where you will purchase your tickets.
When you want to go back to Merida, walk back out to that main road and cross the street. The bus will stop outside the entrance to the Chocolate Story Museum. There’s not a literal bus stop, just a tree where people wait for the bus.
The bus leaves Merida in the morning at 9:05, 10:40, and 12:05 and leaves from Uxmal back to Merida at 12:15, 3:15, and 5:15.
I have a video on YouTube about my experience taking the bus and exploring Uxmal which you can watch here.
Taking a Tour of the Uxmal Ruins
You can hire a guide at the entrance of the park if you would like to learn more about the history as you tour, however it’s not required.
They usually have tour guides who can speak Spanish, English, and French available, however you may have to wait for a group to form.
If you want to take a tour of Uxmal that picks you up from your hotel in Merida and includes lunch as well as other stops, I highly recommend this one from Get Your Guide.
This tour includes everything I mentioned above as well as a bilingual guide, all entry fees, and an additional stop at a site called Kabah.
Entrance Fee at Uxmal Ruins
As of 2019, the entrance fee to Uxmal is 413 Mexican Pesos (just over $20 USD).
When you pay you will receive two tickets. One is the Federal ticket which costs 75 Pesos and one is the state ticket which is the remainder of the fee that you pay. No need to ask for both, when you tell them how many tickets you want, they will, of course, charge you for both.
Cash is king at these different ruins sites. They say that they accept credit and debit cards, but I have never tested this out. There is an ATM on-site in case you don’t have cash (and hopefully you’re using Charles Schwab so you don’t get charged any ATM fees!).
If you have a student ID or Mexican residency card, be sure to bring it to get a slight discount. Also note that for locals, Uxmal is free on Sundays, so it can get very, very busy.
What to Know About the Uxmal Ruins
Uxmal is an ancient Maya city that is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Maya culture in Mexico alongside Chichen Itza and Palenque.
The buildings are considered typical of the Puuc style of architecture with smooth low walls and ornate carvings.
Most of the buildings have been restored. Be sure to head into the museum, which is included in your ticket price.
Here you can see photos of what the site looked like during excavation. Much has been done to rebuild the structures.
The dates of the city’s occupation are still largely unknown, but thanks to historical writing and artifacts found, it’s believed that it was a bustling city of 15,000 people between 850 and 925 BC.
We took the 9:05 am bus to Uxmal which got us there at 10:30. We then had time to explore the entire site including tiny little hidden paths (yet still couldn’t find that secret garden!) and have lunch at the nearby restaurant before catching the 3:30 bus back to Uxmal.
If you didn’t have lunch you can expect to spend about 3-2.5 hours here.
Restaurants at the Uxmal Ruins
There is basically only one restaurant at Uxmal. It’s located between the main road and the parking lot and is pretty great. It’s called Choole Chepa Chi and serves local Yucatecan style food.
I had the chicken pibil here and Luke had the tacos dorados. Both were huge portions of food and very tasty. All meals are served with bread and butter and chips and salsa as well as plenty of tortillas to go with your meat dishes.
For two people with food and drinks, we spent about $25. It’s certainly not the cheapest place to eat in Mexico, but it’s not crazy expensive either considering it’s the only restaurant around.
If you just want a snack, you’ll find a kiosk next to the Uxmal ticket counter. Here they have water, soda, beer, ice cream, and a few different snacks like chips or candy bars.
If you are on a budget, do as the backpackers do. I saw a few young women who had purchased marquesitas from a street vendor outside the bus terminal. They brought the marquesitas in a plastic baggy and ate them after touring around Uxmal while waiting for the bus.
If you’re on a budget, definitely pack your own lunch.