Though nested in the jungle, the ruins are very large, needing long walks under the sun.
Be prepared with good walking shoes, hat, sunglasses and water, or you risk to feel uncomfortable. And check your physical condition - climbing to pyramids is as tough as... descending them!
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Steps can be daunting
The climb to the top of the Great Pyramid is a long one. You may want to take several breaks on the way up, unless you are exceptionally fit or young because climbing the steps can be rather daunting.
But for many people the descent is even more difficult!
Touring Uxmal is thirsty work
We were at Uxmal in March -- nowhere near the hottest time of the year. These are the bottles we collected after three days on the road.
You need a lot of liquids to prevent dehydration when touring the Yucatan, and with our gringo stomachs, we tended to buy all our liquids -- i.e. we did not trust tap water.
One thing that is strange about Mexico, the only diet softdrink/soda that is available is Diet Coke or Pepsi Light, and even they are often not available.
Uxmal is unusual compared to other Mayan cities in that there is no source of water. Most Mayans cities have cenotes which is the name for an underground river that emerges to the surface.
Since they had no source of water, the Uxmal Mayans became expert at collecting and storing rain water. Over 160 cisterns have been found in the nucleus alone of Uxmal. The brochure you receive when you arrive also tells us that each cistern (or chultune) held 20 to 35 thousand litres.
Many water cisterns still exist at the site -- actually if you wander off the beaten path, you have to be careful not to walk into one.
There is no written history of the Mayans, and as such, nobody knows why Uxmal was abandoned in the 11th or 12th century, but one theory (that we heard in the light and sound show) was that even with all their cisterns, Uxmal could not survive one particularily long drought, so the residents moved elsewhere. Chaac was the Rain God -- that is why there are so many Chaac images on all the buildings.
- Historical Travel
Don't step on the Iguanas
If the day is hot, there will be iguanas everywhere around the ruins. We found iguanas on the path, in the forest, climbing the ruins, inside one of the rooms of the Nun's quadrangle, literally everywhere.
The iguanas tended to run whenever the big two-legged creatures walked by, but when you are walking along gaping at pyramids in the air, etc. it would be easy to miss an iguana under your foot.
This is the guy who lived under a rock pile in one of the rooms of the Nun's quadrangle.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of these "little" iguanas running around Uxmal. Not to worry, they will not harm you if you don't bug them, but don't be surprised if they scare you at times from the places they are in. Just kindly take their picture, then move on.