Labna archaeological site


Labna is an archaeological site and ceremonial center of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization.

The site is located 75 km southwest of the city of Merida, in the so-called Puuc Hills region, to the south of the large Maya site of Uxmal, in the southwest of the present-day state of Yucatán, Mexico.

Labna stands as a testament to architectural prowess and cultural significance. Its location, historical evolution, and intricate Puuc-style architecture make it a captivating destination for those interested in the history of the Yucatan.

Labna was incorporated with Uxmal as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The site is open to visitors.

Origin of the Name

The name “Labna” is derived from the Mayan word “Labanha,” which translates to “old house” or “abandoned house.” This name is fitting, as Labna is characterized by its well-preserved structures that showcase the architectural achievements of the Mayans.

History & Timeline

Labna’s history dates back to the Preclassic period of Maya civilization, around 300 BCE to 250 CE. During this time, the site began as a small settlement with modest structures.

It was during the Late Classic period (600-900 CE) that Labna flourished and reached its architectural peak. The city’s growth was influenced by its strategic location along ancient trade routes, connecting it to other significant Maya cities.


Labna, like many other Maya sites, experienced a decline and eventual abandonment around the time of the Spanish conquest and remained largely hidden by the dense Yucatan jungle until the 19th century.

Labna underwent a resurgence of attention in the 19th century when a group of determined explorers and dedicated archaeologists commenced the task of excavating and studying the site.

The first written report of Labna was by John Lloyd Stephens who visited it with artist Frederick Catherwood in 1842.

Modern rediscovery and restoration efforts have aimed to preserve and showcase the historical significance of Labna, allowing visitors to appreciate the remarkable architectural achievements of the Maya civilization.

The site

Labna is renowned for its intricate architecture, particularly its Puuc-style buildings. The Puuc architectural style is characterized by intricate stone mosaics and decorative elements that adorn the facades of the structures.

Elaborate masks, geometric patterns, and representations of the rain god Chaac are common motifs found in these structures.

The site is a comparatively small and compact one.

Among its notable structures is a large two-story ‘palace’ (“El Palacio”), which is one of the longest contiguous structures in the Puuc region. El Palacio is approximately 120 m in length a long and narrow building that showcases the distinctive Puuc-style features.

El Palacio features a long colonnade, a central courtyard, and elaborately decorated facades, making it a testament to the advanced construction techniques of the Mayans.

From the palace, a ceremonial road (sacbe) extends to an elaborately decorated gateway arch (“El Arco”). This structure is 3 m wide and 6 m high, with well-reserved bas-reliefs. The arch is not an entrance to the city but rather a passageway between public areas.

Next to this gateway stands “El Mirador”, a pyramid-like structure surmounted by a temple.

Also on the site is the Temple of the Columns.

The structural design and motifs of the site’s buildings are in the Maya architecture regional style known as Puuc. This makes extensive use of well-cut stone forming patterns and depictions, including masks of the long-nosed rain god Chaac.

How to get there

The journey from Merida to Labna takes around 1.5 to 2 hours by road, depending on the route and traffic conditions.

Rental car: Renting a car is a convenient way to explore the region, as it provides flexibility and allows you to visit Labna and other nearby archaeological sites at your own pace.

Public transportation: Buses and shared vans (collectivos) are available for transportation. While they might not take you directly to Labna, you can get closer and then arrange for further transportation, such as a taxi or a local guide.

Guided tours: Joining a guided tour is a hassle-free option. Many tour operators in Merida offer excursions to Labna and other archaeological sites in the area. These tours often include transportation, entrance fees, and knowledgeable guides.

Tourist Assistance + Emergency Numbers

You can dial 078 from any phone, where you can find free information about tourist attractions, airports, travel agencies, car rental companies, embassies and consulates, fairs and exhibitions, hotels, hospitals, financial services, migratory and other issues.

Or dial the toll-free (in Mexico) number 01-800-006-8839.

You can also request information to the email


General Information: 040 (not free)

National Emergency Service: 911

Radio Patrols: 066
Police (Emergency): 060
Civil Protection: +52(55)5683-2222
Anonymous Complaint: 089

Setravi (Transport Mobility): +52(55)5209-9913
Road Emergency: 074

Cruz Roja: 065 o +52(55)5557-5757
Firefighters: 068 o +52(55)5768-3700

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