Dzibilchaltún Ruins (zeeb-eel-chal-TOON) are about 15 km (9 mi.) n. of Mérida; take Calle 60 n. out of the city, following signs for Progreso and Mex. 261. The paved turn-off is marked by a sign that says “Dzibilchaltún/Universidad del Mayab.” The site entrance is another 5 km (3 mi.) e. Although this is one of Mexico's largest archeological discoveries, not much remains of its former glory. More than 8,000 ruins, mostly mounds of rubble or the remains of low platforms, have been uncovered so far. The cluster of excavated altars and other structures are aligned along a walkway.
The reconstructed House of the Seven Dolls (Templo de las Siete Muñecas), a raised temple, was named for the seven primitive figures discovered buried under the structure's floor. Exhibiting such deformities as a hunchback and a swollen belly, they may have served as spiritual “messengers” during ceremonies to cure illness. There is a good site museum that exhibits carved stone tablets and stela, panels and finely detailed limestone carvings (including a life-size gorilla carrying a human); paintings and Yucatán artifacts from the Spanish colonial period; weapons associated with the 19th-century War of the Castes; and machines used to harvest henequén.
Public transportation to the site is readily available via taxi or shuttle van; colectivo vans departing from San Juan Park in downtown Mérida (Calle 69 between calles 62 and 64) go directly to the ruins.
Guided tours are available. Food is available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.