If no lines, small crowds, and one of the best-preserved Mayan ruins in Mexico sound like something you might be interested in, then the Uxmal Mayan ruins should be your next stop.
Uxmal ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and although not as famous as Chichen Itza, it is a favorite of many travelers. The main difference between Chichen Itza and the Uxmal ruins is that Uxmal has much more to explore and see up close. You can still climb, touch (although not recommended) and see up close. It lacks the size of Chichen Itza, but you gain a deeper understanding of the architecture, writings, carving, and you can see ancient living quarters up close.
If you are looking for things to do in Playa del Carmen a trip to Uxmal should be added to the list. Especially if you aren’t fond of larger crowds and it is a weekend, take the road less traveled and visit Uxmal instead of Chichen Itza.
Adults: $413 MXN Pesos
Kids: $12 MXN Pesos = roughly .50 cents per child
A plus for bringing the kids along on your adventure is that they always don’t add a ton to the budget.
Guide or No Guide???
I have written a lot about to take a guide or not take a guide. Here are my rules. These can apply to people without kids as well.
So instead what to consider before choosing for a guided tour anywhere:
Are signs in English? If not, can you manage in the language to find the bathroom and exit?
Can you and your family stand for 10 minutes in one spot “fairly quiet” listening to someone speak?
Is information on the location reasonably easy to find on the internet?
Do you feel you could look up some information and discuss some exciting facts that everyone would enjoy learning about?
After answering these questions, we usually can decide on if we should opt for the tour or not. One great thing we did notice as we walked by all the tour groups is that the tour guides speak many different languages, and are happy to answer any questions about where the bathroom is or help you out if you get turned around.
This time we opted for no guide. With no guide, we can stop, play, and find out how fast those race cars will actually go. We can go off the beaten path and play under a tree or try and catch some lizards.
I am sure one day we will use guides; as I am always listening to those walking by that have loads of information, but for right now, we enjoy the flexibility of not using one.
Abe testing how fast his race car can go!
There were tons of lizards everywhere. I stopped taking pictures after lizard 25... be careful not to put your hands in any holes. It might actually be a lizard's home.
Nunnery Quadrangle - one of the most impressive parts of Uxmal. Full of places for the kids to run, climb and the elaborate façades are fabulous!!
A family picture in the Quadrangle. We rarely get a picture of all of us! So here is the gang.
Nunnery Quadrangle - West Building
Pictures like these are why taking a guide is hard.
Abe and I pretending to be Ninjas. I learned all my moves from him.
Food at Uxmal Ruins
There is a restaurant at Uxmal and although convenient it is extremely touristy and over-priced. Honestly, it didn't look appetizing at all. I would recommend making your way towards Santa Elena on Hwy 180. It is only about 15 minutes down the road and you can find some great food in this small town. We ate at "4 Hermanos" right in the center and had 13 tacos, 2 tortas, and 3 sodas for 245 pesos. A great deal and authentic Mexican food.
Uxmal is a great day trip from Merida or Playa del Carmen. It is a must-see if you are in the Yucatan.