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“It's out there!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Calakmul Archaeological Zone

Calakmul Archaeological Zone
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Calakmul Archaelogical Zone and Reserve Day Trip from Palenque
Ranked #2 of 59 things to do in Campeche
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Ancient Mayan city historians now believe to have been bigger than Chichén Itzá.
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Level Contributor
48 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“It's out there!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012 via mobile

As others stated, calakmul isn't right next door. But the drive is nice and give the whole place a remote sense of feeling, which I liked. It also prevents tours and buses (like you'll see in Palenque, Tulum and other well known ruins). as it's also not really close to any other mayor sites, you'll have to take in about 3 days in total for a visit, 'cause you'll have to get to Xpujil (only town near), and then the visit takes almost a full day (including driving to and from ruins), and then you'll need to drive back to the north, east or west again... But i'll do it again in a heartbeat... If you go, consider staying at rio bec dreams, it's a nice place!

4 Thank Cyril C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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353 reviews from our community

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Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
110 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Deep in the jungle into Mundo Maya”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2012

We paid at the gate right after it opened, as the morning mist was burning off the jungle. The jungle slowly closed in as we continued down the paved road to the museum, where we paid a second fee. We had to dodge a half a dozen tarantulas on the next stretch of jungle road before we arrived at the ruins parking area. The ruins cover an enormous area, with many large structures uncovered or partially covered. The best part about Calakmul is it's remote location, which allowed us to enjoy the ruins almost alone, as we saw less than 10 other people. The view from the top of the tallest temples revealed thick jungle in all directions and a few other of the tallest temples poking out of the canopy. Looking south towardsGuatemala, one could sense Tikal just 35 miles away and imagine the mighty struggles of these two once great city-states.

Visited September 2012
6 Thank rbyrnes3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tallahassee, Florida
Level Contributor
165 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 297 helpful votes
“Lot of Hot Walking in the Mayan Jungle”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 17, 2012

Calakmul is about halfway between Escarcega and Xpuhil on highway 186 in the Calakmul Nature Reserve. Just after you turn south off the highway, you have to pay 30 pesos per person plus 56 pesos per car to use the road. You drive about 20 kilometers down a rough paved 2-lane road to the museum, where you pay 54 pesos per person to enter the nature reserve. You then drive 40 kilometers down a one-lane potholed road with fallen branches and lots of curves to the entrance, where you can park for free before paying 46 pesos admission to the ruins. There are animals on the one-lane road, which has a speed limit of 30 kph. Figure 2 hours from highway 186 to the entrance.

The ruins are scattered over a wide area in the jungle and more are being excavated. To reach the first main group of structures requires a walk of at least 2 kilometers on a wide well-maintained mostly shady path. There are 3 routes around the ruins. The shortest which lets you see the two largest groups of pyramids takes 5-8 kilometers of walking. The medium group which adds a couple of other groups of large structures takes 10-15 kilometers while the long route to all the excavated areas is more than 20 kilometers. There are also many nature trails and many animals can be seen if you get there at the right time, other times not so much. We were second car in the early morning and saw a coatimundi, monkeys, flocks of occelated turkeys, toucans and many other birds and butterflies but much less than everyone told us we'd see. Many trees have orchids.

The plazas between the building are shady with most of the brush cut fairly low, but the trees are cut back only a short way from each structure so it is impossible to get a view of an entire plaza or even a good view of an entire pyramid even by climbing to the tops of the largest ones. All pyramids are climbable but steep and have good views of the jungle and the tops of nearby pyramids. There are very few decorations on the structures but there are many stelae scattered around the site, some with visible artwork, others not so much. Toilets but no refreshments at entrance. Additional better toilets and some refreshments at the museum back 40 kilometers down the road. Almost nothing Mayan was original at the museum, just photos and reproductions but the giant 3-meter fossil armadillo was interesting.

Having seen almost all the accessible Mayan sites in the Yucatan, I'd say Tonina, Palenque, and Tenam Puente had as many large pyramids in the jungle with more decoration and less walking. If they prevent bringing food and drink into the area as they are doing on all the new signs at all the Mayan sites, this will be a hard trek.

Visited November 2012
12 Thank MisterWombat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Mexico
Level Contributor
549 reviews
299 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
“Well-worth the effort!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2012

If you're into tour buses, souvenir stands, and guided tours, don't bother with Calakmul. To say it is remote is an understatement - it gives new meaning to the word. And its very remoteness is what makes it utterly magical. Walking among the unbelievable ruins you can almost feel the spirit of the ancient Maya who lived here for over 500 yrs. Your only companions will be wild turkey, spider monkeys, toucan, aguna, red fox and countless birds. We arrived just before noon (after a 63 km ride on a winding potholed road (allow 1hr+ just to get from the main road into the park) and were told we were the first visitors that day. Can you just imagine being the only visitors at a UNESCO world heritage site? We've been to over a dozen Maya sites in Mexico and Guatemala and Calakmul is unlike any other. It has the most magnificent collection of stellae which record the site's history and rulers. The grand pyramid barely peeks out over the jungle canopy - only a small percentage of the entire 80,000 hectare site has been uncovered. This is a definite 'must see' for anyone interested in Maya history and ruins.

Very important - bring water and any snacks/food you want. There is nothing for purchase anywhere at the site. It is a long walk (upwards of 5km) around the site (all level) but it is very hot and humid. Wear long pants and a ls shirt - it is buggy!

Visited October 2012
5 Thank NewMexicoSilverqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“In the depth of the Forest”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 2, 2012

The ruins in Calakmul are so remote and a major effort to access you begin to wonder whether it's worth it. You'll only realize that YES it was definitely worth it once you go up the Grand Pyramid and see that you're entirely surrounded by forest, except for a few pyramids sticking out. The experience is magical and the solitude really gets the imagination flowing.

I fully recommend, but please drive carefully on the narrow, winding road leading to the ruins. There's the occasional tree that's fallen on the road or animals running crossing

Visited May 2012
4 Thank potatojuice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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