Calakmul Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by wilocrek
  • Atelidae
    by neverstoptravel
  • Structure II
    Structure II
    by neverstoptravel

Calakmul Things to Do

  • Great Acropolis: Structure 8

    This is the tallest structure of the Great Acropolis complex. Within this structure was detected a substructure consisting of a large ramp used as a platform for a two chambered building. Take the time to climb this structure as it offers great views of the jungle and in particular, great views of Structure 2 and a partial view of Structure 1. In...

  • Great Acropolis: Ball Court

    The ball court is found in the northern plaza of the public area in the Great Acropolis and is an open court with no hoops or markers. Again another example of the sporting life of the Mayans.

  • Great Acropolis

    The Great Acropolis has a variety of different structures arranged around plazas and patios and it also contains a public area and a area that was reserved for the housing of royal lineage. This plaza is about a 15 minute walk from the Great Plaza and is worth a visit.

  • Structure 4

    This architectural complex has twin temples on each side and a central thats preceded by 14 stelae. The monuments which still have legible dates make reference to dates between Dec. 6th and June 28th 810 AD

  • Structure 1

    This is the tallest structure in Calakmul and in the Yucatan as well. The views from the top of this building are tremendous and offer a panoramic view of the jungle. The stairs are a harrowing climb straight up...seemingly into the heavens, but its a climb that most people can make and again its a intoxicating view from the top...unlike anything...

  • Structure 3

    This building characterizes the architecture of the classic Maya Period of the Petern region. Its spatial relation and its design of a palace like structure must of been one of the factors that prevented modification over the years. This is also one of the funnest building to explore as there are still the remains of several rooms and doorways.

  • Structure 2

    This pyramid platform is the second largest in Calakmul with its four buildings at the top forming a Acropolis. Product of diverse modifications its presented in its final configuration. A stelae was recently discovered at the base of the stairs thats dated Sept. 16 431, which is the earliest mention of a ruler at this site. This one of the largest...

  • Structure 5

    This building with its 10 stelae which are organized in two groups is considered a memorial and was designed to divide the great plaza into two sections. The upper part of the building was built in the Rio Bec style.

  • Estela 29

    This important text marks the beginning of the late classical period in Calakmul. It contains four dates ranging from 621 Ad to 623 AD. During these dates the kingdom ruler was Tahom Uk ab K'ak, and so now you know. Mostly these stelae's are of note because the marking are really least cool to me.

  • Structure 6

    This three tiered platform along with its large esplance preceded by a long narrow building crowning at its eastern extreme is part of a astronomical alignment. Similar complexes have been found in Tikal and central Petern.

  • Structure 8

    This small square building with a temple containing small inner spaces was used as a astronomical observation post. It was related to the sunrise and the building was built to be aligned with the stars.

  • Views from the Top

    The views from the top of the two main structures in Calakmul are absolutely stunning! Looking over the endless lush jungle that stretches into the horizon it feels as though I was in a different time and place. The views are priceless. Unlike the other few select sites that actually still let you climb the structures, Calakmul doesn't have the...

  • Brown bagging it in the jungle!

    They don't have any places to buy food in Calakmul. Literally the last chance you have to get food is in Xpujil, over 75 kilometers away. So be sure to pack in a lunch and enjoy it out in the wild. Pull up and take a seat on any of the structures you feel like. For all intents and purposes you own the place. Thats the true beauty of Calakmul, you...

  • Trip Trappin around Calakmul

    Simply put walking around Calakmul is as close to an authentic Mayan experience as you will ever have! Your basically by yourself, the jungle is literally on top of you, and the structures are still hidden within the vines and trees! Plan on spending a whole day in Calakmul so you can take your time walking around the joint at our own pace and take...

  • Climbing the Structures

    Calakmul is like a playground if your the type that likes to climb things. They allow you to climb just about any structure you want. This provides a rare opportunity to be able to explore a major Mayan site without being restricted to the footpaths. As more people start to discover this magical site I'm pretty sure they will tighten things up so...


Calakmul Transportation

  • How to drive from Merida/Uxmal to...

    Follow Hwy 261, turn left at Holpelchen which is abt 70km south to Uxmal.Keep on the main road which will lead you to Xpuhil/Xpujil, it is a 200km drive in the jungle.Once you arrive Xpuhil, turn right onto Hwy186 and drive another 50km, the entrance of Calakumul Biosphere Rerserve is on your left hand!

  • Driving Directions: Cancun to Calakmul

    The only reliable way to get to Calakmul is by renting a car. Calakmul is easy to get to but you want to be sure to plan in advance. From Cancun you take Route 307 South until you get to Route 186 and then you turn right going West. I would recommend spending the night in Xupjil which the town right before the turnoff for Calakmul. The turn off for...

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Calakmul Warnings and Dangers

  • wilocrek's Profile Photo

    by wilocrek Written Dec 20, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Though it probaly wont be a big issue, do keep in mind that you will be right smack dab in the middle of a live jungle. So it would be prudent to be aware of your surrounding and stay on the paths. I would not recommend gallivanting off into the jungle unless you know what your doing. I saw a Jaguar from my car window on the way there and while it would be highly unlikely that their would be one roaming the site, one should still be cautious. Plus a I saw a huge black tarantula crawling on the path ahead of me at one point and that actually scared me more than anything else! But hey, I'm a bit of a pansy in that regard.

    What lurks within this foreboding jungle?

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Calakmul Favorites

  • You are on your own!

    The best part of Calakmul is also its greatest challenge, its completely isolated! Plan on filling up your gas tank in Xpujil and buying snacks and water before heading to Calakmul because once there you will not have that luxury. Bring sunscreen. Although the majority of the paths are enveloped in the shade of the jungle, if you choose to climb...

  • The Early Bird gets the Worm!

    Getting there early in the morning is highly recommended. If your one of the first travelers down the narrow road to Calakmul you will be treated to the sights of wild turkeys roaming on the road and you might even catch a glimpse of a Jaguar leaping across the road as I did! Believe me I was glad to be in the car! Also plan on rolling down your...

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Top 10 Less-Crowded Mayan Ruins: Calakmul

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

One of the most important cities of Mayan civilization, Calakmul was once home to more than 50,000 inhabitants. Though the city's timeline goes as far back as the Preclassic period (300 B.C. to 240 A.D.), its golden age was in the Classic period (250 A.D. to 900 A.D.), when it served as Tikal's main rival and battled for dominance of the central Mayan area. Many visitors might focus on the 6,000 structures within the city, but it's equally important to experience the surrounding Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, which encompasses over 723,000 hectares (292,594 acres) of protected land and wildlife. While the reserve is a paradise for bird watching, the site itself is a hotbed of stelae, or stone monuments, often in the form of a high-relief sculpture, that were popular and characteristic of the Mayan civilization. 117 stelae have been discovered at Calakmul so far, more than any other Mayan site, and all of them from the Classic period.

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