A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Uxmal

If you plan a trip to the inland part of the Yucatan, you’re in for a treat since most tourists flock to its beaches. So, while those people get sunburned as they drink their fourth margarita, you’ll get to enjoy the Yucatan countryside, which is filled with forested roads, cute towns, and perhaps most notably of all, Uxmal.

Since even the most developed areas of Mexico present their difficulties for wheelchair users, you understandably want to know what accessibility is like at Uxmal. I’ll share my observations here with the hope of making your trip to this UNESCO site run as smoothly as possible.

Note: The information here is based on my observation as a non-wheelchair user. If you have firsthand experience as a wheelchair user in Uxmal, please let me know about your time there and your recommendations in the comments section. I appreciate it and know that our future readers will, too!

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General Accessibility at Uxmal

The frontmost portion of the Uxmal ruins is wheelchair accessible, although this is unfortunately a small percentage of the property.

However, you’ll have the opportunity to wheel up to the pyramid that makes Uxmal known for being a more tourist-free version of Chichen Itza.

I’ll soon take you on a photo journey of the accessible areas at Uxmal, but I wanted to give you an overview here first.

As a disclaimer, the day I visited was the first day they opened up more of the ruins after they had shut them down due to COVID-19. However, many areas were still roped off.

Below is a map outlining the areas that people could explore the day of my visit. The bold black line is what you need to look at.

Map of Uxmal.

“Acceso” means entrance and “Salida” means exit.

As a wheelchair user, you’ll have access to explore the “Acceso” line until it hits the white building (there are stairs there). You can then backtrack around the pyramid (the round structure at the front of the map) and follow the “Salida” line until it hits the structure since that’s where the stairs start.

The “Acceso” area has a gravel path, although you’re allowed to go into the grass if you wish.

The “Salida” path is only grass, and there are some rocks and protruding tree roots you’ll need to work around the closer you get to the building.

As for the large chunk of grassy area between the black lines, that would technically be accessible if you wanted to roll through the grass. However, it was roped off the day of my visit—whether it’s always that way or because of COVID-19, I’m not sure.

If all these explanations sound confusing, don’t worry; this is just to give you a general overview. I’ll show you the accessibile areas using photos shortly.

Accessible Parking at Uxmal

Parking lot at Uxmal.

Everything about the Uxmal parking lot indicated there should be an accessible parking spot—you can even see the well-marked ramp leading from the parking lot to the entrance in the photo above. The parking lot was also massive and spacious.

But after making two laps around it, I couldn’t find a single accessible parking space.

So, this is my recommendation—either have someone drop you off by the ramp in the photo above or drive past that ramp and take a right; there’s a large parking area there that most cars don’t know about, so you’ll most likely be able to form your own accessible parking space.

The good news is that the Uxmal parking lot rarely gets crowded. Large tour buses don’t frequent there, and tourists usually trickle in throughout the day.

That’s right—unlike so many other sites in Mexico, you won’t hear me preaching that you need to arrive to Uxmal early to see it better.

Accessible Restrooms

There are two restrooms at Uxmal, and one is wheelchair accessible.

The accessible restroom is in the open-air entrance area, to the left once you pass through the ticketing booth.

Since someone was using the accessible stall when I was there, I didn’t get to peek inside to see if it’s ADA compliant. However, I can tell you that it appeared to be large and the sinks for washing your hands are low.

Exploring Uxmal by Wheelchair

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I’ll use them to show you the wheelchair accessible areas of Uxmal.

Ready to get started?

Let’s roll!

Below is the entrance to Uxmal. The windows on the left are the ticket booths, but you can bypass these since wheelchair users and one companion can enter the Uxmal ruins free of charge.

Uxmal ticketing area.

After passing through the spacious, open-air ticketing and souvenir shop, you’ll follow this path to enter the ruins:

Wheelchair accessible entrance to Uxmal.

The path to get to the ruins is cement and isn’t very long. There’s a slight incline as you approach them, as seen here:

Wheelchair accessible cement path through the forest leading to Uxmal.

The path will drop you off here, which is at Uxmal’s pyramid. This is the one famed for being like Chichen Itza (and I agree with the comparison!).

Uxmal pyramid.

You’re welcome to wheel around in the grass to get closer to the pyramid. The ground was firm the day I visited, but I’m not sure how muddy it gets when it rains.

Grassy wheelchair accessible area around the Uxmal pyramid.

This is the gravel path you can use instead of, or in addition to, the grass.

A stone accessible walkway around the pyramid.

Another view of the gravel path and the area behind the pyramid.

The backside of the Uxmal pyramid.

This is the end of the accessible path that leads from the entrance. Be prepared to see lots of iguanas while in Uxmal—can you spot two posing for the camera in the photo below?

Steps that end wheelchair accessibility at Uxmal.

I climbed up the steps you saw in the photo above to give you perspective of how long the path is from the entrance of the ruins to where the inaccessible area begins.

A lookout point over Uxmal.

This next photo is after backtracking the same path you just took along the side of the pyramid. When your return to face the front of the pyramid, take a left through the grass and you’ll arrive there within a minute.

Note: The photo doesn’t show the rope that prevents people from entering this area. Hopefully, it’s a COVID-19 rope and not a permanent rope, as this would offer wheelchair users more freedom to explore Uxmal.

Large grassy area at the ruins.

If you keep heading in that same direction, the grass will turn into this rocky path:

A rocky path leading to some small ruins.

If you choose to tackle the rocks, you’ll get to see a couple of buildings like the one below. This is about as far as you’ll be able to go before encountering steps.

A small ruin that's partially accessible by wheelchair.

Where to Eat

You can easily visit Uxmal between mealtimes, as you likely won’t spend more than an hour or so at the ruins.

However, if hunger strikes or you’d like to plan your day around eating to extend your time there, you have two main options.

The first is to eat right at Uxmal. They offer a tourist multi-course menu for under $15 USD.

Shopping area at Uxmal.
Area where the restaurant at Uxmal is located.

The restaurant is accessible and located in the entrance area, but this is super important to note—the restaurant is set far back from Uxmal, so your only view will be of trees, not of the ruins.

Since you’ll already be paying above average prices for food in the area, I recommend going all out and eating at Coole Chepa Chi.

This gorgeous accessible restaurant is part of a hotel on the side road leading to Uxmal. Don’t worry, it’s impossible to miss when you’re arriving since everyone has to pass by there to get to Uxmal’s parking lot.

Restaurant near Uxmal.
Coole Chepa Chi Restaurant.

You can either drive to this restaurant or take a stroll there from the ruins down a quiet, paved road, which will take you around 5 – 10 minutes, per your preference.

The restaurant is on the pricey side, but it specializes in fine Yucatan food, including steak and seafood.

Is Exploring Uxmal Worth It?

Although Uxmal is beautiful, the majority of its grounds unfortunately don’t have the infrastructure for wheelchair users. Nevertheless, if you’re already planning on being in the area, such as if you’re visiting Merida, then I think visiting Uxmal is worth it.

However, if you’re debating between visiting Uxmal or Chichen Itza, I hands-down recommend Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza ruins.
The famous pyramid at Chichen Itza. Yes, it really does look like the pyramid at Uxmal!

The reason for this is that Chichen Itza offers excellent paths throughout the property where wheelchair users can access nearly all the ruins.

If you’re interested in visiting Chichen Itza, you might want to take a peek at our Chichen Itza Wheelchair Guide to get a better idea of what accessibility is like there.

Wheeling Around the Yucatan?

If so, good news!

We’ve put together several other accessible blog posts on destinations around Mexico’s Caribbean peninsula. Check them out below:

Wheelchair Accessibility in Campeche

Wheelchair Accessibility in Cancun

Wheelchair Accessibility in Chichén Itzá

Wheelchair Accessibility in Cozumel

Wheelchair Accessibility on Holbox Island

Wheelchair Accessibility on Isla Mujeres

Wheelchair Accessibility in Las Coloradas

Wheelchair Accessibility in Playa del Carmen

Wheelchair Accessibility in Tulum

Wheelchair Accessibility in Valladolid

Is Uxmal on Your Bucket List?

If you still have lingering questions about wheelchair accessibility in Uxmal, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.

Should you visit Uxmal, it would mean a lot if you returned to this page. I’d love to hear about your experience, recommendations, and anything else that could help future wheelchair travelers considering a visit to Uxmal.

Wishing you a wonderful trip!

2 thoughts on “A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Uxmal”

  1. I visited the Uxmal ruins last week and I use an electric wheelchair. Some comments: 1) The parking is great. 2)The baños are accessible and very nice. 3) entrance fees for wheelchairs and caregiver is free however, you need to know that beforehand, should be Mexican, and have documentation. We complained to the office manager about the entrance fees we paid being too much for handicapped. They refused to return our money and said that we could have free entry had we asked but there are no signs to indicate that anywhere! You need to demand the fee access for both you and your caregiver! 4) the path to the ruins for wheelchairs is fairly steep at 7% or 8% for quite a long way and I used much battery power and needed additional pushing to make it up the hill to the top. Following the paved path is loose gravel so it is better to go on the rough grass to the closest ruin. The transition from pavement to loose gravel is a challenging drop on a decline. The rest of the site is not wheelchair friendly. 5) there are no locations for charging an electric wheelchair.

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