Probably my favourite Mayan sites in Mexico, Uxmal and Kabáh were certainly the least busy, which helped considerably, but were also home to some of the most elaborate facades and the most spectacular pyramid I saw in Mexico.
An hour and a half south from Mérida, Uxmal greets you with the incredible Pyramid of the Magician, a uniquely shaped and decorated structure, looking different from every angle.
Behind it the Nunnery Quadrangle complex had facade designs I’ve not seen elsewhere, clearly restored but evocative of how it once was.
The Governor’s Palace was home to more elaborate facades.
There was an obligatory ball court.
The adjacent Gran Pyrámide put things in perspective, with views of the whole site, though it’s not much higher than the Governor’s Palace.
Nearby Kabáh is much smaller, just a few main buildings and an arch, but was it very quiet and pleasant to explore.
On one side of the road is a standalone triumphal arch. The Mayan never discovered keystones to create strong arches, instead using self supporting walls topped with capstones, giving them a distinctive shape (also seen at Palenque and Uxmal).
The main site is on the other side of the road, an impressive complex of buildings, in particular the intricate facade of the Palace of Masks.