A must-see site for archaeology lovers and architectural buffs, Labna boasts Maya ruins built in the ancient Puuc style, marked by the use of concrete and decorative elements. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, near the larger Uxmal ruins, Labna is a compact structure hidden within the Puuc Hills.The Basics
Labna was once used as a ceremonial center by the Maya during the pre-Columbian era. The site features two main attractions: El Arco (the gateway arch) and El Palacio, a wide structure with well-preserved carvings. Visitors can walk through the ornate gateway arch, admiring its intricate construction and relief designs. It is believed that this arch signified the entrance to the ancient village where the priest and the elite of Labna lived. Labna, along with the Uxmal ruins, are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is estimated that Labna was inhabited by as many as 2,000 people between AD 750 and AD 1000. Guided tours of the ruins are available from Mérida.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Labna is part of the Ruta Puuc, a driving route in Yucatan state that connects several Maya sites.
- There is a small fee to enter the site.
- Bring cash because there aren’t many ATMs nearby.
How to Get There
Labna is located a little over two hours south of Mérida and is accessible by car or tour bus. Depending on where you depart from, the archaeological site is either the starting or ending point of the Ruta Puuc, a 36-mile (58-kilometer) drive that connects five sites. From Uxmal, follow Highway 261.When to Get There
The high season in the Yucatan starts around the Christmas holiday and runs until Easter week, so expect to encounter the biggest crowds then. From May to September, you’ll experience hot, humid weather, so if you’re planning to visit the ruins during this time, try to go in the morning to avoid the midday sun.Nearby Sayil
Another stop along the Ruta Puuc, Sayil is located in the Puuc Hills a short drive from the larger ruins of Uxmal, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Labna. The archaeological site features Puuc-style columns, a 3-storied El Palacio, and an observatory (El Mirador). This site tends to be less crowded than the larger Uxmal site.