The Puuc Route is the perfect excuse to get to know the interior of Yucatan, visiting Mayan settlements with the most exquisite architectural style: puuc 

What is known as the Puuc Route is an area that brings together different archaeological zones of the same Mayan architectural style, the Puuc style. The archaeological zones of the Puuc Route are a World Heritage Site under the name Pre-Columbian Village of Uxmal.

Other Mayan architectural styles, marked according to periods and territory, are Chenes, Río Bec, central Petén, Usumacinta, Costa Oriental.

Puuc is also a Mayan word that means hillturkey o lomto. In this case it indicates the Puuc area where we are, with just over 300 meters of elevation, the highest mountain in Yucatán.

It is a very interesting area for those who like history and towns. Let's explore the area, I assure you that in a few days here you will get to know the Yucatecan soul.

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The Mayan god Chaak is a recurring motif in Puuc style decoration. Photo of Uxmal


The Puuc Route is located south of Mérida, capital of Yucatán. Being close to Mérida makes it easier to visit this area because it is close, there is a good road and it is easy to find tours that leave from Mérida.

  • FROM MÉRIDA BY CAR: you must take the Uman-Holpechén road, number 261. It is 84 kilometers and it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes by car.
how to go puuc route
Photo © Google Maps open the map


Basically the 5 archaeological zones that make up what is known to tourists as the Puuc Route are these:

  • Uxmal, the capital of Puuc and the most visited. It is a real gem.
  • Kabah, the closest to Uxmal, complements the visit very well. And it is a must-see place for me.
  • Sayil, one of the archaeological areas that I like the most, for its paths and the Grand Palace.
  • Labna, another unmissable gem of the Puuc with three large buildings.
  • Xlapak is the least impressive of the Puuc Route.

But these are not the only ancient Mayan cities of Puuc style, there is much more to discover about Puuc. And you enter a much less explored area with wonderful jewels:

  • Oxkintok, I really like this place.
  • Acanceh, here you can see the best Mayan masks in Yucatán, another gem.
  • Chunhuhub, you are already leaving the most common routes, and the place surprises.
  • Xcalumkin, due to its location it is less visited.
  • Kankí, like Xcalumkín, is rarely visited.

In this article I only talk about the ancient Mayan cities that are open to the public, obviously there are many other vestiges of the Puuc style. How much I like this area, I hope you enjoy it a lot.

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Photo © Google Maps: click to open the Puuc route map

There are other ancient Mayan cities in Yucatán where we find details of the Puuc style, from the archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá or Santa Rosa de Xtampak. We must always think about the influences of architectural styles between the different Mayan areas.

Cities do not live in isolation, there are commercial networks, there are effects, that is why architectural styles come together in different Mayan cities, it is not something pure so to speak.

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The Labná Arch with typical Puuc decoration


There are 3 basic ways to explore the area:

  • CAR RENTAL: Many travelers are encouraged to drive through the quiet Yucatan Peninsula. At your own pace and you get everywhere. If you decide to do it on your own, I recommend staying a couple of days or more in this area, because there is a lot to discover.
  • TOUR WITH AGENCY: From Mérida, travel agencies offer tours to different settlements in the Puuc. They are one day tours. Uxmal and Kabah are the easiest to go on a tour.
  • COLLECTIVE TRANSPORT: Every Sunday there is transportation that runs along the Puuc Route, leaving you time in each area to explore it. It leaves at 8 and returns around 16. The ADO station is on 69th Street between 68th and 70th Streets.
How to travel and what to see on the Puuc 1 Route

From Merida they offer this tour on the Puuc route

I recommend booking the car online months in advance, especially if you travel during peak times such as Christmas, Easter or summer. They usually increase prices as the date approaches, just as happens with plane tickets.

You don't need a 4×4 to explore the area. If you have any questions, write to me and we will try to resolve them.

Book a car at Rentalcars directly with them, they give you the comparison of prices between companies and opinions of other customers.

How to travel and what to see on the Puuc 2 Route


In most towns you can find a place to sleep. For my part, I have a preference for Santa Elena as a base camp for the area. In Ticul and Oxkutzcab you find accommodations, and also in the vicinity of Uxmal. 

You have the possibility of sleeping in a Hacienda, some renovated into luxury hotels. Yaxcopoil and Sotuta de Peón are some possibilities.

  • The Pickled Onion in St. Helena, a cabin hotel, with a swimming pool and a delicious restaurant. I like the owner, she has history.
  • In Oxkutzcab I always stay in the Hotel Puuc. The first time I visited Oxkutzcab there was hardly any other hotel, and here we stayed with Fausto. They were very friendly, so when I return I always choose the same hotel. The hotel is simple, quality-price is a 10.
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The Great Palace of Sayil
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Walking through the sacbé of Labná
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The Fortune Teller of Uxmal, emblematic building
Kabah's beautiful Codz Pop
Archaeological site Xlapak, Puuc Route, Yucatan, Mexico
The simplest Xlapak
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Oxkintok from one of its temples


COCOA MUSEUM: near the Uxmal area you will find the Eco-Museo del Cacao. Cacao is one of the original products of the region, the drink of the Mayan elites in ancient times.

Mayan glyph of cocoa

LOLTUN CAVES: this area is also called puke (In the Mayan language it means hill or hill), because it is defined by several hills whose altitude reaches about 300 meters: a record for the practically flat Yucatan peninsula. These geological properties of the region puke They do not form the famous cenotes here, but rather incredible dry caves such as those of Loltún, Tzabnah or those of Tekax.

The underground is a world to explore, you will understand the special geological characteristics of the area.

How to travel and what to see on the Puuc 3 Route
Grutas de Loltún

ROUTE OF THE CONVENTS: The Route of the convents in this area was where the colonizer settled most strongly, and in each town there is at least one church. The Route of the Convents offers us some of the most relevant places due to their history such as Maní, Chumayel or Teabo, Umán, Muna, Chumayel, Oxkutzcab, Santa Elena, Ticul.


A few days living here and you will be able to get to know the friendly character of the Yucatecan people. This area is a true delight, here you will live your authentic Yucatan.

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
I am at your disposal for whatever you need. Let's talk.

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