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Ways to Experience Calakmul Archaeological Zone
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All reviews howler monkeys the main road biosphere reserve off the beaten path hour drive mayan sites ancient city bring plenty of water early in the morning maya site large site off limits pot holes nearest town rental car long trip we spent hours
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Reviewed September 8, 2018

Located between Chetumal the capital of quintana roo and Escarcega, this awesome maya site that boasts the highest temples of the area is situated in the biosphere of the same name Calakmul wich means two temples together referring to the building number 2 and the highest temple. its about a 60km form the main road so you should save a full day for this activity. Apart from the archeological part you will get a chance to see many species of animals birds and some mammals so take binoculars if you can.

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank Salvador O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2018

The bird’s-eye view picture of Calakmul pyramids printed on the back of a INAH ticket looks so good that one can’t even think of not visiting it. Yet we've seen over 40 pre-Columbian sites in Mexico and Calakmul was the only major disappointment. It has two large pyramids worthy of its status of a powerful ancient city-state, both among the largest in the Yucatan, but other unique features of Calakmul are off limits to visitors. There are a lots of badly deteriorated stelae at the site but that's about it. The murals, friezes, and burial chambers are closed. A guide told me they are concerned that visitors' breath may create dangerous levels of humidity but that seems to be a poor excuse. The murals of Bonampak, Teotihuacan, and Cacaxtla among others are exposed to outside humidity year round. The friezes of Balamku and Becan can be accessed inside the galleries upon request, and the famous masks of Kohunlich and sculptures of Ek Balam are protected from the elements only by thatched canopies. The burial chamber of Pakal the Great in Palenque is open to the public too. So I doubt it's humidity, it's rather bad management hence the one-star.

The road to Calakmul consists of 60 km of a poorly paved road going from Rt 186 all the way to the ruins. It's quite narrow in spots. It takes about an hour to drive if there's no slow vehicle in front of you, and though you can speed 65-75 km there, be careful not to hit wild animals. There are three payments to be made along the way: at the entry point near Rt 186, at the turn at the site museum, and the regular admission fee of 70 pesos at the site entrance. I don't remember how much it was in total but I think it was around US $10 pp.

If I knew that the murals and frieze cannot be seen I would have skipped it altogether. Considering the time and effort, climbing just the two pyramids is not worth it. We stayed in Xpujil and it took us a little over 2 hours to drive each way and a little over an hour at the site. Waste of time. Visit Balamku, Chicanna, Becan, Xpujil, Hormiguero, Kohunlich, Dzibanche, Kinichna, and Rio Bec instead.

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank Ron S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2018 via mobile

This is a place that still looks intact and virgin. Compared with Chichen-Itza in Calakmul you dont see the crowds neither the thousand vendors. Here you can feel history, the jungle, the energy that surrounds all squares.
Im glad that INAH doesnt allow vendors here. This is a way to respect history abd antrophology

Date of experience: April 2018
1  Thank Roccox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2018

Calakmul is an amazing place. Word has gotten out, so there are more visitors these days, probably about 20 people the day we were there, still, far fewer people than at Chichen Itza or Coba. There’s a big “Welcome” gate being constructed right off Highway 186, and there’s a museum complex about 10 miles down the interior road, but the museum wasn’t open when we stopped there at 4PM on a Saturday. Still no gas stations between Escarcega to the west and Xpujil to the east, so be sure to gas up. Also be sure to take plenty of water since the humidity can be very draining. Allow about 4 hours to take the long trail and climb all the temples. While we were there we saw spider monkeys fighting in the trees and heard howler monkeys in the distance.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank JoeBenevides
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2018 via mobile

The best thing I can tell you is to read and heed everything you see in these reviews.
The road from the Chetumal-Escacerga highway really is 60km and could have hundreds of potholes. It could take 90 minutes or 3 hours.
There really are NO services at the site. You've got a couple of really basic toilets, period. Can not even buy water, and you will need it!
At least read the Wikipedia page before you go! There's a lot there.
And look up some info on Tikal as well; that Mayan city in Guatemala was extremely important to the history of Calakmul.
Bienvenidos a Yucatan! Pretty magical part of the world.

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank progresodave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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