Episode 2; Scene 1

The Road to Uxmal: Chichen Itza to Sotuta

From Chichen Itza to Uxmal is around 125 miles. The easiest and quickest way to go is on the new "Autopista" 180D west to Merida and then Hwy 261 south to Uxmal. To take the "Scenic" route, recommended to us by Dominique, one goes west on the old Hwy 180 for about 30 miles until you get to a village named Holca, then turn left (south) onto a small paved road. Look for signs directing you to the town of Sotuta, as very few of these roads have numbered route signs.

Sotuta, now an isolated backwater, was very important before and during the Spanish Conquest and well into the Colonial Era as the capital of the Cocom Maya Chiefdom. As evidence of this past importance a large ruined Spanish fort occupies the center of town with a large Church facing the square. The Cocoms were one of three major Maya Chiefdoms occuping the western part of the Yucatan Penninsula shortly before the Spanish, under the leadership of Francisco de Montejo, conquered it in 1542 and established their capital at the city of Tiho, renaming it Merida. The Spanish take over was made easier, as usual, by the feuding between the Cocoms, Chels and Xius (the other two Chiefdoms). The Xius being especially infamous as the first to surrender and their capital, Mani, our next stop, being the site of the notorius "Auto de fe" of 1562 when Friar Diego de Landa burned the Maya books known as Codices. More on that later.

The "scenic" route is difficult and I think a little dangerous as very few tourists, especially gringos, pass through this area. Have plenty of gas as there is none for most of the way. The roads are paved but extremly narrow, in fact frequently only one lane wide, with the bush growing right up to the edge and many many blind curves and small rolling hills to go over. I recommend a liberal use of the horn to let others know you are coming over that hill or around that bend. The autopista to Merida is quick but as you would expect rather bland with no sense of adventure. Download the video for a look see yourself.

The Sotuta Fort (60k). Maya Children (60k).

Visit the CWJ Bijou (QT 650k).

Next stop Mani, Bishop de Landa and fire.

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