In Yucatan, there are 17 archaeological zones, among them the world-renowned Chichen Itzá, which is declared one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World”. In the following article, we will get to know other archaeological zones that because of their beauty and history, are a must-see destination during your visit to Yucatán.
We will share five archaeological zones with thousands of years of culture where you can find ceremonial centers, capital cities, and incredible carved stone buildings with iconic architecture. Pack your bags because Yucatan awaits you!
The entrance price range for foreigners goes from 3 to 27 dollars, most of the archaeological zones open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Quick recommendations before starting the adventure:
- Sunscreen above 50 fps
- Comfortable clothes, hat, tennis shoes and sunglasses
Do you have everything ready? It is time to start a tour full of history and surprising facts about the Mayan culture in Yucatan.
Just 1 hour from the center of Mérida is the archaeological zone of Uxmal, its name means “Three times built” in Mayan. The Pyramid of the Magician is the first structure you see arriving in Uxmal, a building 115 ft long, tells the story that it was made by an “Alux” in just one night.
Alux: In Mayan mythology are little goblins or elves who live in natural places such as jungles, caves and cenotes. They resemble human beings, but the difference is that they are as small as the height of the knees of any human being.
Uxmal is the center of Mayan architecture with ornamental details that radiates beauty and grandeur in its walls and decoration. Get your camera ready and enjoy beautiful scenery!
In each place you will be able to learn about the splendor and way of life of the people who lived in these important cities of the Mayan world. We recommend you do the trip by car to speed it up.
For this adventure, let’s take the historic center of Mérida as a starting point, where you can find 3 options to go to the different archaeological zones.
- Guided tours
- Direct bus at the ADO TAME terminal located at C. 68 x 68 y 70 Centro
- Car rental, we recommend the services of Adam Hoggie and Mexican Time, Expat Services
After your visit to Uxmal, just 5 minutes away is “The Mayan Planetarium” where a show is presented every hour about the Mayan cities of Uxmal, Chichen Itzá, Tikal and Palenque, here you will learn the importance of the stars in the construction of the pyramids.
Kabáh "Strong Hand"
Just 20 minutes from Uxmal, the adventure takes us to an archaeological site that operated as one of the largest religious centers of the Mayan culture in Yucatan, the city of Kabáh, which means “strong hand,” it is estimated that lived its splendor during the years 600 to 1000 AD.
It functioned as a religious center with a direct connection to Uxmal on a route of 11 miles, still preserving the architectural details of that era. At the entrance of the main temple, you can enjoy 12 constructions with altars and low platforms with 32 and 36 rooms on two levels, a true Mayan palace!
Ek Balam "Black Jaguar"
The next stop is 2 hours from the historic center, it is Ek Balam, which means “Black Jaguar” in Mayan, this is a Mayan city older than Chichén Itzá, it has only been open to tourism for a few years, this adventure will take us into the heart of the jungle, climbing structures with thousands of years of history, some in perfect condition.
The city of Ek Balam had more than 800 buildings with thousands of people living there, a true journey through time.
Dzibilchaltún "Place where there are writings on stones"
From the center of Mérida to the north of the state is the next archaeological zone that brings us closer to the beach of Puerto Progreso, one of the most important tourist destinations in the state, a few miles before reaching Progreso is Dzibilchaltún which means “Place where there are writings on stones,” it is considered one of the most important ceremonial centers in the Mayan world, it has one of the largest cenotes in the Yucatan, so get your swimsuit ready because it is open to the public!
In Dzibilchaltún there are 8,400 structures that have been found and it is estimated that a population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants lived there. You can also find a chapel that was built after the Spanish invasion and an incredible museum that preserves unique pieces.
Labná "Old Abandoned House"
Lastly but no less important, is the archaeological site of Labná, which means “Old Abandoned House” belonging to the time of greatest Mayan grandeur dating between 600 and 900 AD. Here you can tour a palace with 40 rooms on the first level and appreciate the face of the god Chac accompanied by Mayan warriors.
You can also find different buildings where people considered of “high range” lived, a total of 3 thousand inhabitants were those who walked the streets of Labná every day, a strategic point that connected with other Mayan cities.