At the risk of boring every one with Mayan ruins: from a base in Merida we ventured out to see the ruins at Uxmal. Here the buildings’ details are more elaborate (or perhaps, more intact) than at the other sites we’ve seen so far and an added bonus is that you can climb one of the pyramids there. The Mayans were inordinately fond of very steep stairs so the challenge with climbing the ruins tends to be in coming down, rather than going up – rather steely nerves are required if suffer at all from vertigo, still we both managed to get up and down without incident.
For travelers: in Merida I highly recommend Casa Charlia (budget hotel/hostel) where the Jan, the Belgian gentleman who runs it with his Mexican wife is the warmest hotelier we have encountered to date. For dinner you can’t go past the fabulous Las Vigas, just off the main square (first floor – you have to walk into the hotel Los Amigos’ courtyard to find the stairs) where a really great dinner for two with a couple of beers will set you back around six euro. Thanks to Jan for this tip. The cultural centre also on the square has free concerts once a week, check the board outside for details. Uxmal is well worth visiting but the sound and light show is a little dull. Having said this, we did not rent the audio translation device, so suffered uncomprehending through the Spanish – however, some Americans who did rent it were equally underwhelmed so you can perhaps best skip it altogether.