January 26, 2016: We left Campeche on Sunday the 17th for a full day of ruins exploration.
We headed for the Puuc Hills, an area of varied topography home to several ruins sites with their own distinct style of Mayan architecture.
Toh Cok, the first site of the day, we saw purely by accident (and it’s not a Puuc site). We think it’s a Chenes site which is a different, earlier architectural style. But as there’s virtually no information available about the site, who knows?
We spotted Toh Cok on the side of the road as we zipped by, and decided to turn around and check it out. It’s very small and it’s free. There are just two excavated buildings and a caretaker who was extremely happy to stop sweeping and tell us all that he knew about the site. It didn’t all line up with what we have learned about the Maya over time, but his enthusiasm more than made up for that.
The drive getting to the Puuc Hills sites goes through a pretty remote part of the Yucatan. It was quite surprising to crest a hill and see this in the distance.
It turned out to be a heavily grafitied state line marker (leaving Campeche, entering Yucatan).
Next up was Sayil. Sayil is geographically spread out with one large and impressive building near its entrance, with a couple of other excavated buildings a good walk into the jungle that are probably not worth the effort.
The other two sites we saw this day are within just a few miles of Sayil. Xlapak was next along the road and the smallest of the three.
After all that site seeing (and 6 nights of camping) we were ready for a hot shower. While the Puuc Hills are not heavily populated, there are plenty of hotels due to the high concentration of ruins. We found the Uxmal Resort Maya that (sort of) fit our budgetary requirements. At least it was a much better value than a few places we checked out in Santa Elena. It felt like a luxury hotel compared to anywhere else we have stayed on our journey. Sadly we did not make use of the pool, but we certainly enjoyed the view of it (and of the Uxmal pyramids) from our room’s balcony.
So after a good, long day of site seeing, we settled into to relative luxury. But where to next?