When Billy and I moved to Mexico, we made a list of Mayan ruins that we wanted to see before moving home. As of last week, we had visited six of the seven. The last one on the list, Calakmul, just so happens to be located off of the highway we were taking to Belize. We decided to leave a day early and check the last ruin off of our list!
Some notes if you’re visiting Calakmul:
-Expect a little over an hour drive once you leave the highway, so fill your gas tank.
-Bring cash. You will pay for the maintenance of the road to Calakmul. You will pay again to enter the ruins (twice).
-Pack bug spray, water, sunscreen, sandwiches/snacks, and a camera!
This site is unique because it’s located deep in the jungle where you can see tons of birds, spider monkeys, and (hopefully not) large cats in their wild habitat. While climbing up one of the first structures, a random guy motioned me over and told me to sit on the edge of the ruin. A little apprehensive, but my mind focused on monkeys, I did exactly what the stranger said while Billy followed closely behind. What followed was nothing short of remarkable. Two monkeys appeared from deep in the trees and began hooping and hollering at me while making the cutest faces and swinging around. It seemed as if they were posing for the camera and loving the attention. I was in heaven.
After spending some time photographing the monkeys, I spotted the tallest structure at the site, Structure II. When we visit Mayan ruins, my favorite part is climbing the tallest structures. Sometimes Billy joins me and other times he reads the informative plates at the foot of each ruin. I have him give me the cliff notes and take off climbing. The views from the top are totally worth the heart racing, air gasping climb. You can see over the trees for miles; we could even see another structure in the distance.
I was glad we saved Calakmul for last. It was probably my favorite ruin, although they all have special qualities that make them unique. I liked being in the middle of nature and imagining how the Mayan city thrived back in 500 AD. To my expat friends living in Mexico, if you haven’t yet, check out Calakmul. For those that have visited, thanks for the tips beforehand that made our trip a success!
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