The Mayan Ruins of Xlapak Makes a Great Day Trip

Xlapak is a small Mayan archaeological site located on the Yucatan Peninsula of southeastern Mexico, about an hour and forty minutes by car, south of the colonial city of Merida. Although not as well known as the other neighboring “Puuc” sites of Uxmal and Kabah, or the world famous ruins of Chichen Itza, Xlapak is an opportunity not be missed if ancient Mayan history is what you are looking for.

The term “Puuc” is used to designate the architectural style of ancient Mayan ruins located within the Puuc hills, hence, the term Puuc architecture. This archaeological style is distinguished by its inward facing buildings, dominating ceremonial plazas in the center, and elaborate outer decorations that cover all of its buildings. The Mayans used design elements shaped from local limestone to create these exteriors, combining geometric repetition with cosmic symbolism. These symbols include serpents, masks of gods, supernatural beings and many different human figures.

Today however, many of its pyramids and temples are still in the process of being excavated, only adding to the experience of discovery that accompanies you while walking and exploring the trails of the site. Experienced local operators offer tours to Xlapak and you might just be lucky enough to find you have the place all to yourself on any given day. Likeable and unconventional, this lesser known location might be the perfect first stop on your personal journey of discovery into ancient Mayan history.

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