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.
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