Uxmal V.s Chichen Itza

written by Valerie www.thepickledonionyucatan.com

Being so close to Uxmal and the Ruta Puuc region of the southern part of Yucatan ,it,s evident that one day I would write something about it.

Yes ,its true that Chichen Itza has been named one of the new seven wonders of the world . It sits majestically in its own right,proud and strong.If you were one of the lucky ones in the past that was able to climb it you would remember the magnificant view from the top. Like all the Maya ruins it holds a magic of its own with hidden secrets of the unknown. Although they are finding out more of the ancient city, still it does not reveal all.Its masculine structured lines showed to me that it certainly was a city created by man and the sense I got whilst walking around was of a war like city.

El Castillo Chichen Itza/photo Wikipedia

I was one of the lucky ones a few years ago to be able to experience this wonder and climb the steep steps of el castillo and I was in awe.But what left a bad taste in my mouth was ALL the vendors that were selling their wares. It seemed every two minutes some small child would appear  as from nowhere with trinkets to sell . No matter how many times you would politely say , no gracias,one still felt bombardedand unable to really enjoy the experience.

The head of the feathered Serpent Kukulkan/photo Wikipedia

Uxmal ,located  south of Merida , again is a popular tourist destination but not so much as Chichen Itza.The pyrimid of the dwarf welcomes you in with its distinct Puuc style, softly rounded corners that seem to embrace you. Upon  entering through a turnstile you will not be accosted by vendors and  are left to walk around in peace.


Pyramid of the Magician/dwarf/photo wikipedia

The feel is of a more feminine energy and its said that the older women would teach the young girls spirituality in the quadrangle de monejes .One feels more at liberty to climb at least one of the pyramids .Here you get more of a sense how life would have been in those ancients days of the Maya people.Its one of my favourite ruins to visit and I never tire of it. Always finding more interesting things to view.You may think that I am biased ,living so close but its by far much more interesting than Chichen Itza.I am not the only one to say this ,tourists that pass by my place for a bite to eat 100% say they  prefer Uxmal over Chichen Itza. Maybe this site should have been named as one of the new seven wonders of the world!

photo taken when I went to watch a concert in Uxmal

About thepickledonionyucatan

Born in England emigrated to Canada and now reside in the Yucatan Mexico. LIfe is a journey so enjoy as much as you can
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6 Responses to Uxmal V.s Chichen Itza

  1. mcm says:

    Me too, Valerie — and EVERYONE I know who’s experienced both sites.
    But, the “popularity” of a site has less to do with it’s architecture, cultural significance, or history, and more to do with how accessible it is to LARGE NUMBERS of tourists. Hence, the huge campaign to promote Chichen Itza as one of the Seven Wonders — that campaign itself was a promotion dreamed up by a mega-business guy. The “selection” was based on online “votes”, and the state and national governments were doing everything they could to promote it.
    I have mixed feelings — as I’m sure you do — about the current approach to tourism promotion in the Peninsula. The state government, while paying some lip service to promoting small venues and “ecotourism”, understands very well that the big money lies in cruise ships and mass movement of tourists to “world class” attractions — hence the idea to link Progreso with Chichen Itza (and the so-called Maya Riviera or Cancun) by rail. And, to build a “Disneyland” (not literally, but that was the governor’s description) of the Maya world close to Chichen Itza.
    I’m far from an expert on tourism, but I fear that such promotions will do little to improve the economic position of most Yucatecans, let alone quality of life. My opinion, anyway.

  2. Marc Olson says:

    Valerie, I agree. I have always liked Uxmal more than Chichen. Chichen Itza is spectacular, but only in Uxmal you can actually relax, wander, contemplate and really get a feeling for the place without having to fight the crowds, most of whom are more interested in having pictures or videos that prove they were there rather than to actually enjoy the experience. I have been in Uxmal when we didn’t see more than a handful of other people the whole time we were there. Chichen is a victim of its own popularity. Uxmal is getting more crowded, unfortunately, but is still more authentic and in my mind, much more beautiful.

    • Thank you for your comment.Right now there is cleaning and clearing of a site near St Elena which they say the actual base of one pyrimid could turn out to bigger than Chichen!! I will be writing about that in a later blog.

  3. Heather says:

    We are two of those who agree that Uxmal is much more mystical and magical than Chichen Itza, Valerie.

  4. BerylG says:

    I’m voting with the crowd – Uxmal is more magical to me, and the buildings are more interesting. Also, the topography is varied and there are big trees.
    But I think a lot of this has to do with Chichen Itza being sanitized and made to look like a theme park. I remember when I first went there about 25 years ago, before there was a visitors’ center, I walked up the hill on the dirt path and – there it was. My heart stopped. The Castillo, in much more of a pleasantly ruined state than it is now, was overwhelming, just rising out of nothing like it does. Now there are ropes marking off where you can and can’t walk and of course you can’t climb El Castillo or see the wonderful jaguar hidden inside of it, up a narrow flight of stairs. They mystery is gone. There is still a bit left in Uxmal.

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