So, you wanna go to the Mayan Ruins of Calakmul (as a solo female traveler)? Prepare for a long ride and even a longer day! But I promise you it is all worth it!
I will tell you what my plan was because before I got the idea to go to the Mayan Ruins of Calakmul in the middle of nowhere (!), I really had no idea what to do.
I stayed a couple of days in Bacalar (which is sooo sooo paradise; will do another blog about that later) and after that, I wanted to go to…. ehm yeah, where did I want to go?
I had no idea! Was really in doubt whether to go to Belize (which is close) or to Campeche (and stay in Mexico).
> Wanna skip the whole story and just wanna have an answer to whether to go to the Mayan Ruins of Calakmul and how? Scroll to the end 😉
Where to go
So I was staring and staring at the map of Mexico in the Lonely Planet, hoping there was some information that would help me decide. Then… I stumbled upon the route from Bacalar to Campeche.
In between, there is an area with a lot, a lot (!) of Mayan ruins. You see while traveling you talk with many people about where to go and where not to go… But although Calakmul is a very big Mayan site, I hadn’t heard a word about it!
Even Lonely Planet had not much information about it. But the very small paragraph that was written about it, was big enough to get me excited!
Solo female traveler
I did some research on the internet and basically, everybody tells you to stay the night at Xpujil; which is a very small village -in the middle of nowhere- but surprisingly had almost everything you needed (even if you want to DIY your home, they have the stuff).
…and from there; either hire a taxi for one day (about 1500 Mexican pesos) or hitchhike (!) to the site (about 120 km).
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m a first-time solo traveler (so not that confident about traveling alone yet) annddd also sometimes very conscious about being a Blond. Girl. Alone. In Mexico. So I wasn’t sure if I should go on my own, and if it would be safe.
Oh yeah! And did I tell you about the horrible bus schedule times? The bus only leaves at 1 am form Bacalar and will drop you off in Xpujil at 4 am?! Yeah… not that great.
So a long story short: I went anyway.
As I said, Xpujil is small but they have everything you’ll need. Also, the Mexicans are so nice and helpful! I felt really save wandering around the village, even after sunset.
Speaking English is somewhat difficult for the locals, like speaking Spanish is to me, but we managed to understand each other.
Because there are no hostels in Xpujil I booked a ‘hotel’ room and stayed at a cabin of the Chaac Calakmul Hotel for three nights. The cabin was very basic but free of insects, which is good!
I would recommend booking three nights: one to get some sleep in the early hours of your arrival, in the afternoon you can walk around the village and book a tour.
After the second night you do the full day tour of 10-12 hours, and after the third night, it’s time to move on to the next adventure.
How to find a tour
The owner of the hotel, Oscar, was even so nice to pick me up at the bus station at 4 am! He contacted me about it via WhatsApp. (So the problem of arriving by bus in the middle of the night in a small unknown village alone was also solved)
After a couple of hours of sleep, he helped me to find a guided tour to the Mayan Ruins of Calakmul for the next day.
The next day, Abel, the owner of the (eco) ‘Tour in Calakmul Abel’ (look it up on FB), wasn’t sure in the first place if he could find another person to do the tour with.
You see, the minimum of a tour is 2 persons, I was traveling in looowww season and at that moment I was literally the only traveler in Xpujil.
But, luckily, while eating a delicious homemade pizza, I met some fellow travelers (a real miracle) and got them excited about the tour!
The tour to Mayan Ruins of Calakmul (in English, about 1000-1200 pesos), that supposed to last for 10 hours but ended up being 12 hours, was AMAZING!
I will not tell you every single detail because you really should experience it yourself! But prepare for a long day of climbing 4 different Mayan Temples with a great view, a 2 hours hike in the jungle and seeing snakes, monkeys, toucans, swam crocodiles (or alligators) a lot of mosquitos and insects and beautiful big trees that grow around any object they met.
Eating tacos at a basic house (in the middle of the Mayan jungle) of two men that take care of the Mayan site (and have a wild cat as a pet).
And end up at the bat cave. Seeing millions and millions of bats flying around in a tornado formation to catch their food.
It was perfect!
> Should I go to Mayan Ruins Calakmul as a solo (female) traveler? YES! Stay at the small, and most important; save village Xpujil. People are very nice and helpful (Be sure you don’t book hotels that are still 10km away from Xpujil, it makes everything easier if you just stay in the town). Unfortunately, there are no hostels, but the hotels are also cheap! I would recommend booking for 3 nights. Then book a tour at ‘Tour in Calakmul Abel’, (in English, 10-12hours, 1000-1200pesos, incl. lunch, more details under subtitle Tour Calakmul) and have an amazing day!
Thank you for reading! Let me know what your experiences are/were!