In September 2012, I visited the Mexican state of Campeche. As a part of that trip, we took a tour to the Mayan ruin of Edzna. Edzna was founded around 400 AD and was inhabited up until 1450 AD. The city was well organized, has monuments, and shows evidence of advanced irrigation systems. The site was re-discovered in the early 1900s, and restoration work was begun in the 1970s. It is not an often visited site, but it is one of the more spectacular sites that I have visited.
Edzna is located about 61km south east of Campeche. There are bus routes that will get you there, but they are second class buses that just happen to be driving by. Normally this would be ok, I am generally comfortable waiting on the side of the road for someone to come along. However, due to the extreme temperatures during that time of the year in Campeche, I felt it would be better to have a driver take us to the site and then return us to Campeche. After a little bit of searching, I found that Kankabi’Ok Tours could take us there for a reasonable price.
The area around Edzna was particularly lush, as we were there during the rainy season. The site has a nice welcome center, and it is not at all expensive (around 45 pesos to enter). In addition, it is not terribly popular — in the two hours we spent at Edzna, we saw only a few other people. When we arrived, we were the only ones there. There’s nothing quite like having an ancient Mayan ruin all to yourself.
Well…not entirely to yourself. The ruins at Edzna (as with many other Mayan ruins in the Yucatan) are overrun with iguanas and other lizards. The ruins are perfect habitat for them — lots of rocky holes and crevices to hide in, the perfect place to come out and bask in the sun, etc. Nearly every time you walk around a corner, a group of iguanas will slither away into the rocks. There are also many birds and butterflies to see.
The highlight of the site is undoubtedly the Great Acropolis. You climb a series of steps up to the Acropolis, and at the top are several magnificent temples, including the tallest on site, the Temple of the 5 Stories. You can climb most of the structures, which gives great views of the site. Unfortunately, you are no longer able to climb to Temple of the 5 stories. I was told that beginning in March, 2012, it was now off-limits. However, it was still possible to get some great photos! Here are a few others of the site and wildlife.