A week ago we made our way from Merida to Uxmal, very excited to see these impressive ruins. We had pre-booked our bus tickets using SUR, a second class bus company that is the only one that travels to Uxmal (50% discount for me using INAPAM over 60 resident card). This bus continues on to Campeche. Something we would do the following day. There is no on-line booking for SUR so you must go to the bus terminal in order to purchase your tickets. Uxmal is a popular trip, especially for day trippers, so I would do this initial section a couple of days in advance.
It had been difficult getting actual information on the bus service and route for this bus. At first it looked like we could take the bus to Uxmal but would either have to return to Merida and take a separate bus to Campeche or we would have to resort to a 1900 pesos ($99) more direct taxi ride. But it seems this thru service is new and we lucked out (see more on our post Three Days In Colorful Campeche).
The bus to Uxmal is only about an hour and a half and being a second class bus it was still comfortable enough. It does not have a bathroom on board and makes no stops so keep that in mind and hit the banos before boarding.
We had pre-booked a hotel at Uxmal since we wanted to spend the night and break up the trip to Campeche. We also did not want to do the ruins in the heat of the day and when the tour buses were coming through. The Hacienda Uxmal Plantation and Museum Hotel where we stayed is wonderful. Lots of the Yucatan style tile floors, wide plantation like verandas with rocking chairs, a fabulously refreshing pool and large comfortable rooms made it one of our favorite hotels during our Yucatan trip. If you feel like booking it please consider using our affiliate link at no extra cost to you.
Something to keep in mind is that there are limited restaurant options in the Uxmal area so you will probably stick with your hotel restaurant. Luckily the restaurant at the Hacienda Uxmal is decent and although a bit pricey it doesn’t gouge you because it knows you are stuck for choices. Throughout the Yucatan we have noticed that they have the weird habit of automatically tacking on a 15% propina/gratuity. You can dispute this but we usually just let it go.
Since we took the 10am bus from Merida we got to the hotel just before noon. What is great is that the bus drops you off right at the sign that says Uxmal and Campeche at the side of the road. This puts you at the end of the short road to the ruins and across the street from the Hacienda Uxmal hotel. How convenient!!
We settled in to our room early, headed down for lunch and took a nice dip in the lovely pool during the hot afternoon.
There is a sound and light show at the ruins in the evening at 7pm which we decided to go to. It is very confusing about the price of the tickets. We were told we had to pay the entrance fee for the ruins and also a government fee to see the show. But somehow with our Temporary Resident cards it was only 66 pesos per person.
The next day we paid the two fees which once again after being discounted for residency were 176 pesos each ($18.50 total for both of us). For non-residents the cost is a whopping $413 pesos per person or $21.50USD. This site was substantially more expensive than both Tulum and Coba.
I have to admit that I was lost for the sound and light show. We have been extremely impressed with the video mapping that we have been seeing in San Miguel de Allende and also in Valladolid. But this wasn’t that. It was basically a narrative in Spanish and some colored lights projected onto some of the ruins. If you don’t speak Spanish I would definitely give it a miss as once you have seen the light on the buildings for 5 minutes it doesn’t really change.
We got back to the ruins relatively early the next morning since we did not want to melt in the heat, and the day-trippers and tour buses come through starting at about 11am.
This site is so impressive!!! It is quite large and we spent about two hours enjoying our wanders around it. The Pyramid of the Magician is the first building you see when entering and it is stunning and big. You are not allowed to climb it, and that is just as well since it is quite steep. You can also see a ball court, the beautiful Quadrangle of the Nuns (where the sound and light show is), the Governors Palace (also very impressive) and a few other buildings. There is one pyramid you can climb part way up but you can get just as nice views from the platform of the Governors Palace. I was happy about that since I only had flip flops on and didn’t want to attempt to slip and slide on a pyramid.
We were able to see the site and head back to the hotel in order to check out and still make the 11:45am bus to Campeche. We did not make reservations in advance, and I don’t think you can. But if you stand in the bus stop under the sign and wait you will probably not have a problem with getting on due to space since everyone is coming from Merida and departing the bus at this stop. Total price for the two of us (yes, I did get the INAPAM discount) was $12USD.
If you are in Merida we think it is well worth coming for at least a day-trip to the Uxmal ruins. The site is absolutely beautiful!! But if you can manage an overnight do so and stay at the Hacienda Uxmal Plantation and Museum for a nice treat.