visiting the Uxmal UNESCO site

There are currently 1,052 historic and natural sites named on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Among them, you will find the Pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal, designated to the coveted list in 1996. We did not take a guided tour, but did have tremendous fun exploring the site on our own. It was not crowded, but certainly full of spirit!


I love the detail of the Mayan architecture at the Uxmal UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To become designated as a World Heritage Site, a location must pass the list of UNESCO criteria. I’m certain that Uxmal had no trouble in passing these criteria as it is an astounding Mayan site dating back to what is estimated as 500 AD. Uxmal was the Mayan capital from about 850-950 AD.


The grounds of the Uxmal UNESCO World Heritage site are fairly easy to navigate. I’m standing in front of the Pyramid of the Magician which stands at 131 feet/40 metres high.


Located just 62 kilometres south of Mérida in the state of Yucatan, Uxmal is one of Mexico’s lesser known treasures. I suspect that is why you won’t find the crowds of tourists there like you do at Chichén Itzá, Mexico’s most popular ruins located just over two hours from Cancun–Mexico’s most popular beach resort.


Parts of the Uxmal UNESCO World Heritage site are well preserved. A considerable amount of restorative work has been done to parts of the site that were crumbling.

Have you been to Uxmal or any of the other 33 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mexico? You’ll find my post about Guachimontones here, a UNESCO site near Teuchitlan, Mexico, once inhabited by the Nahuatl people.

You may like to check out this post about my primary reason for visiting Uxmal. Hint: It involves chocolate! If you aren’t already subscribed to the site, please do so in the box located in the right hand column. It’s great having you join me on my chocolate travel journeys. 🙂 And please pin this post if you enjoyed it. It helps me spread the word about chocolate travel and cocoa culture throughout the world.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

42 Responses

  1. Hi Doreen, ancient cultures and civilizations fascinate me. That they were able to build those huge structure that have stood until today is incredible. I’ve got to get here and Egypt also someday. Can’t wait to see how the chocolate fits in to your trip in next post. I’m sure it is delicuous. You always find the best!
    Susan cooper recently posted…Wine Glasses – How to Choose: #WineMy Profile

    • Hi Susan. Yes, I, too, love visiting ancient sites. Really loved Greece for that reason. Maybe Egypt some day … Stay tuned. I will have that new post up shortly! Cheers, and thx for stopping by.

  2. Christina says:

    Ah, I never tire of visiting UNESCO sites especially Mayan ruins. I haven’t been to Uxmal but the detailing looks wonderful. And what is this news about Chocolate? Can’t wait to read about it.

  3. Hi Doreen! These photos are beautifully taken with an amazing story and information behind! Keep up the great work and safe travels! 🙂
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  4. Catarina says:

    Uxmal looks interesting. Love visiting that kind of acient sites. Did actually visit one a bit similar not too far from Mexico City when I was there.
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  5. Vyjay says:

    I am always fascinated by the Mayan civilization and the ruins, this place is so enigmatic, would love to visit the various sites in Mexico. I see a lot of similarity the the Mayan ruins and some of the ruins of the Indian civilization, dating back a long way in history.
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  6. Erica says:

    I was not familiar with Uxmal or the concept of World Heritage Sites. It is really interesting to see places with such history. I remember as a kid seeing a house built in the 1800s and I thought that was amazing. Seeing a city with real history seems like a wonderful opportunity. Looking forward to the next part in this series.
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  7. Ken Dowell says:

    As I am reading this I am at another UNESCO World Heritage site, the old city in Quebec. Love the Mayan architecture. Amazing to see what they could do without any of our modern materials or equipment.

  8. Phoenicia says:

    Pretty photographs. You appear to be in a very secluded part of Mexico. It is nice to get away from the crowds, especially in built up touristy areas.

    I hope to travel to Mexico one of these days – if only for the food!
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  9. Beautiful! And how wonderful that there were no crowds?! I think I need to start going to more UNESCO sites.

    I visited some Mayan ruins on the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula. They are so beautiful, intricate, and fascinating.

  10. Erin says:

    YESS! I’ve actually been there before when I studied abroad in Merida, Mexico. It’s truly an incredible place! The Mayan culture is so fascinating to me and what they’ve created is so unique and beautiful. Can’t wait to see more about your trip! PS your pictures are beautiful!
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  11. Wonderful post. I am fascinated about how early civilizations could build such massive structures. Fascinating thing about this is, we have discovered toys from them which included wheels, but they did not use them in transportation. There were no carts, or wagons.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
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  12. Jeri says:

    Thanks for the links to the UNESCO website. I never gave the designation much thought until I worked in Yellowstone and the Everglades. Having just looked at the list for the States, I’ve been to about 2/3 of them, but need branch out when it comes to foreign travels.
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  13. Maria says:

    I haven’t been to Uxmal, but to the ruins in Belize. I would love to see the Maya ruins in Mexico though. Such a fascinating history!

  14. SabrIna Quairoli says:

    I’ve never been to Uxmal. Looking forward to hearing about the relationship with chocolate and Uxmal.

  15. Chris says:

    Uxmal is a real beauty isn’t it Doreen! We loved it as well 🙂

    We managed to visit 18 different UNESCO sites during our Mexican adventures, and so many of them we had completely to ourselves!
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  16. Beverly says:

    I have toured Chichen Itza before, but had never heard of Uxmal or the other UNESCO HERITAGE SITES. Thanks for the continuing education, Doreen. I always appreciate learning something new and researching it further .

  17. Sushmita says:

    Hi Doreen,

    You do have an interesting job. I personally like to visit such ancient sites. I have such sites located in my country.

    The place looks definitely a visit thanks for your post which introduced me to such a interesting location.
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  18. Amazing ruins. I’d love to see them myself. And fantastic photo of you too Doreen:-)

  19. So surprised that the next blog will explain the chocolate connection!
    Isn’t it a great to visit a place that is not loaded with tourists? You get to enjoy the place a bit more without feeling rushed to keep moving.

    My Unesco site experiences have all been in Europe. I love discovering them.
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Sweet Things About Staying in SaundersfootMy Profile

    • Hi Rose and thanks for your comment. Always great to hear from you. Yes, it’s hard getting around crowded sites, isn’t it? We were so surprised how undiscovered Merida and that part of the Yucatan is. The Mayan Riviera and Cancun seem to get most of the visitors to the Yucatan as everyone loves to be on the beach. But so often, there are amazing day trips you can take to discover the most impactful places.

  20. Maria says:

    Great to know about this Unesco site(: … very nice architecture and still untourist, good place to check out, that Unesco link your given is informative as well, thank you(:
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  21. Those intricate designs! So beautiful. Hope you had a wonderful time there, Doreen! It looks like a place worth visiting
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  22. Esther says:

    Beautiful heritage sites, Doreen! What an exciting life you lead!
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    • Thanks for your comment, Esther. It’s good to hear from you! I sure feel blessed to be able to follow my dreams–and the chocolate trail! Merging them has become my new life.

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