Puucing Around the Yucatan
Uxmal is a large Maya archaeological site located in the northwestern Yucatan, approximately an hour south of Merida. Uxmal saw its zenith during the late Classical Period (750-1,000 AD) and is the largest and best preserved of the regional sites known collectively as "Puuc". The Puuc sites are characterized by their exterior stone decor that features Chaak masks with a long upturned nose and serrated teeth and monster faced temple facades with a gaping toothed mouth as the entrance. The Puuc sites are conveniently connected by a well posted road called the Ruta Puuc. There are about five archaeological sites on the route, which includes Uxmal, Kabah, Xlapak, Labna and Sayil. Additionally, the Loltun Caves and Cacao Museum should not be missed. The Ruta Puuc seems like a good day trip from Merida, but it's actually a very long hot day to include everything and an hour plus drive there and back. I would strongly recommend staying at a hotel near Uxmal, so you can start there before the tour buses arrive and continue the route one step ahead. The Hacienda Uxmal is located at the archaeological site and is a great place to start and finish your exploration of the Ruta Puuk. You can start at Uxmal in the morning, before the crowds appear and finish by seeing the site lit up with technicolor lights from the hotel pool.