Home Feature Discovering Yucatan’s Hidden Treasures: Exploring the Ruta Puuc

Discovering Yucatan’s Hidden Treasures: Exploring the Ruta Puuc

by Sofia Navarro
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Yucatan is a land steeped in history and tradition, and there is no better way to explore its rich heritage than by taking a journey along the Ruta Puuc. This ancient Maya trail winds through the rugged hills of the Yucatan Peninsula, passing by a series of fascinating archaeological sites and colonial-era towns. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Ruta Puuc and what makes it such a unique and compelling destination for travelers.

Photo: Robert Adams

The Ruta Puuc (Puuc Route) takes its name from the Puuc hills, a rugged range of limestone hills that stretch across southern Yucatan. This area was once home to a thriving Maya civilization, and many of the ruins that can be seen along the route date back to the Classic Period of Maya history (roughly 200-900 CE). The most famous of these ruins is Uxmal, a sprawling complex of temples, palaces, and ballcourts that was once the center of the Puuc Maya civilization.

But the Ruta Puuc is much more than just Uxmal. Along the route, visitors can also explore the ruins of Kabah, Sayil, and Labna, each of which offers a unique insight into the lives and customs of the Maya people. Kabah, for example, is known for its spectacular “Palace of the Masks,” a stunningly intricate frieze that adorns the façade of one of its buildings. Meanwhile, Sayil is home to a remarkable “Grand Palace” that was once the residence of the city’s rulers.

In addition to the Maya ruins, the Ruta Puuc also passes through a number of charming colonial-era towns, such as Ticul and Oxkutzcab. These towns offer a glimpse into the region’s more recent history, with their colorful buildings and bustling markets. Visitors can sample local specialties such as poc chuc (grilled pork) and papadzules (tortillas filled with pumpkin seed sauce) while exploring the town’s shops and plazas.

One of the things that makes the Ruta Puuc such a special destination is its remote and rugged location. Visitors to the area can explore the ruins and towns at their own pace, away from the crowds of more popular tourist destinations. The route is also easily accessible by car or bus from Merida, making it an ideal day trip or weekend getaway.

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