Sayil is one of the most important ancient Mayan cities on the well-known Puuc Route, which is located south of Mérida. Beautiful and lonely is Sayil, a candy.


The entrance to the Sayil archaeological zone is one of the most impressive you will experience. The small path that takes you into Sayil takes you directly to the Great Palace (or North Palace), and is an unforgettable arrival. The Great Palace of Sayil is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Mayan world that I have seen, it is impressive when you see it.

The Sayil archaeological zone belongs to the well-known Puuc Route. The Route is basically made up of the archaeological zones of Xlapak, Sayil, Labná, Kabah and Uxmal, the jewel of the puuc. These ancient Mayan cities share their own common architecture, the Puuc style. For many it is the most exquisite, elaborate and cared for of the different Mayan architectural styles.

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.

Sayil It was in its time one of the most important in the Puuc area, it is worth stopping to see it.

How to travel the Puuc Route

Personally, the Puuc Route is one of the areas that I enjoy the most, both for the impressive archaeological areas, as well as the caves, the towns and the friendliness of its people. Spending a few days in this area is a good option for those who like to town in peace.

In this area you will experience an authentic Yucatan. Sayil is an unmissable visit if you pass through the area, enjoy the traveling path. At the end of the article I detail the map of the Puuc Route so that you can plan your visit in a practical way with all the information.

Sayil Yucatan
View of the Great Placio under the shadow of the Pich

HOW TO GO TO SAYIL FROM MÉRIDA

Mérida is the closest city to Sayil, located 114 kilometers to the south. You can visit the area in one day and return, but I recommend you explore the area slowly and stay in an inland town. Then I detail the information with recommendations.

State of Mexico: Yucatan

Sayil, explore the Puuc Route in Yucatán 1
Opens Google Maps to go to Sayil

Daily tours leave from Mérida to Sayil, in case you prefer that option.

  • HOW TO GET THERE BY CAR FROM MÉRIDA: You can easily get to Sayil on a good wide road to Uxmal, everything is well indicated. Leaving the city of Mérida, you take Federal Highway No. 261, heading to Umán, until you reach the town of Muna, where you choose two routes: the first, following the same federal highway passing through the town of Santa Elena and through the archaeological zone of Kabah. From km. 105, take the Ruta Puuc road and 7 kilometers later you will find Sayil.
  • HOW TO GET THERE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FROM MÉRIDA: 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 GET THERE BY CAR FROM CAMPECHE: it is 2 hours away so you have a quick reference. There is no public transportation, and it is not an easy tour to do from Campeche either.
Sayil, explore the Puuc Route in Yucatán 2

SAYIL'S HISTORY

Sayil is, along with Uxmal and Kabah, one of the great cities of the Puuc. Archaeologists believe that the area of ​​influence of power reached several minor sites.

They also suggest that the settlers of Sayil first settled a few kilometers from the North Palace or Grand Palace, in a site known as Chaak II, which has one of the few natural water sources in the region: the Chaak Cave. They collected rainwater from the walls of the cave.

These Puuc cities were built on land suitable for agriculture. In this hilly area, water was collected by building water wells, the so-called chultunes. In Sayil you can see several of them.

  • HEIGHTY SAYIL: around the year 900 AD. C., the city extended over an area of ​​three square miles.
  • WHAT DOES SAYIL'S NAME MEAN?: Sayil means "Place of the leaflet ants"
  • SAYIL ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: It is Puuc style, one of the most beautiful in the Mayan world.

Los 5 archaeological sites of Yucatán that I wouldn't miss

Sayil, explore the Puuc Route in Yucatán 3

MY EXPERIENCE IN SAYIL

The Puuc Route was one of the first places I wanted to visit when we came to live in Cancun in 2007. With Fausto we took advantage of our first free days to go to Mérida and tour the Puuc. At that time the Sayil archaeological zone was less visited, there was much less tourism in Yucatán.

Today it continues to be a relatively little visited place for how beautiful it is. Sayil is one of my favorites, and a lot of it is due to the trails that run through the most emblematic buildings of Sayil. These walks among shadows are a delight for me.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Sayil on about 4 occasions, and it always gives me this feeling of being surprised by the beauty of the North Palace or Grand Palace, and of enjoying the trails. The last time I visited Sayil was in 2023 with my brother. Sayil It is an archaeological zone, I hope it is also for you.

Sayil Yucatan
Sayil

SAYIL HIGHLIGHTS

On an architectural level, without a doubt the beautiful North Palace or Great Palace of Sayil stands out. A three-story building with Puuc style ornamentation.

This building housed 90 bedrooms, something colossal.

sayil archeological zone
sayil archeological zone
sayil ruins North Palace or Great Palace sayil

SAYIL ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA MAP

Once you arrive at the Grand Palace, which cannot be missed, there are various paths to follow Sayil and its different buildings and structures. Walk and enjoy, there are signs that indicate you.

Sayil, explore the Puuc Route in Yucatán 4
Map ©INAH

VISIT SAYIL

The first structure you will see in Sayil is the Grand Palace, and the feeling of beauty when discovering it under the branches of the Pich, one of the most magnificent trees in Yucatán, is something very nice. I can't imagine a better arrival, and first impressions always count.

A path leaves from the North Palace (sacbé) of a kilometer of travel to the other most relevant building, the Mirador temple. Surely it is what I like most about Sayil, this walk between trees and stones, little shadows while the Yucatecan leaden sun.

Addition Temple of the Mirador, can you see her wake 9 where Yum Keep, god of fertility, is clearly seen Hieroglyphic Jamba Temple (here there are Mayan glyphs) and the South Palace. The road is a line from north to south.

Sayil Archaeological Zone, Puuc Route, Yucatan
archaeological site sayil
The Mirador temple
sayil
Estela 9

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR VISITING SAYIL

1- Sayil archaeological zone schedule

Monday to Sunday from 08:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m., last entry at 16:00 p.m.


2-Services

  • Parking Spaces
  • Bathrooms
  • Accredited guide service
  • Food and souvenir shopping area

3-Price Sayil archaeological zone

75 pesos per person.

On Sundays, entry is free for Mexicans and foreigners with permanent residence.

FREE ENTRY EVERY DAY FOR:
Mexicans •Over 60 years of age (with official credentials) •Retirees and pensioners (with official institution credentials) •Teachers and students (with official credentials of the Mexican Educational System) •Children up to 12 years of age •Researchers and interns (with INAH permit credential )

Mexicans and foreigners • People with disabilities (with their proper credentials)

The use of video cameras and professional cameras is subject to payment of fees.

sayil archeological zone

TIPS FOR VISITING SAYIL

I recommend staying in a small town, this will allow you to get to know the Puuc area more closely. You will surely enjoy a couple of days here, it is a very beautiful area with a lot to see.

  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: If you arrive early at 8 in the morning, you will surely walk around the premises alone. On hot summer days you should get out of the heat peaks. You can pleasantly explore the Sayil area early in the morning.
  • WHAT TO BRING: Light, light clothing, hat, insect repellent, closed and comfortable shoes to climb structures and protect yourself from insect bites. Bring some water, it's always good. Smoking, bringing food and bringing pets are prohibited.
  • VISIT TIME: allow more or less 2 hours to calmly explore the place.
  • A SECRET: in the building known as structure 3B1 or Hieroglyphic Jambs, you can see the hieroglyphic jambs that adorn the entrance door to a room. There are so many details in the ancient Ayan cities, many little gems, and it is always nice to observe them.
Sayil archaeological zone

PLACES NEAR SAYIL TO VISIT

I recommend you stay in the area and get to know it with the calm it deserves. There is much to see and discover. Personally, I really like staying in the towns of Santa Elena and Oxcutzcab.

  • 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.

I leave you some recommendations to visit on the Puuc Route.

puuc route map
Photo © Google Maps: click on the image to open the map

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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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