Calakmul, Mexico

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Today we headed to Calakmul to visit more Mayan ruins. They’re not easy to get to, but it was totally worth the effort.

From Campeche, it’s about a four hour ride to the welcome center and then another hour drive to the sight. Although I was pretty sick of being in a car, the last leg of the trip was pretty cool.  The drive was through a tunnel of trees where countless butterflies roamed the forest. It was literally like we were driving through a Disney cartoon. Plus, we chatted with a family from Melbourne, Australia that helped pass the time.

Once we were dropped off at the trail head, we had exactly three hours to explore the sight. Including Dan and I, there were only ten people exploring the ruins today… Awesome! What’s even better? You can actually climb the structures!!! Of course, Dan wanted to climb everything. I only climbed about half of the structures. I wasn’t being a chicken, but I knew there were two quite large pyramids and I didn’t want to be exhausted when we got to them. Needless to say, Dan climbed everything and would call out how spectacular everything looked just to make me jealous.

We must have seen a dozen structures until we finally reached the largest pyramid. The climb to the top wasn’t bad and the view at the top was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Sitting on top of that pyramid sweaty, out of breath, and with my muscles tingling, I really understood just how lucky we were. Such a small percent of the world has probably come to this pyramid and climbed to the top. I’m sure it won’t be long until the thick jungle is cleared, the path will be re-pathed (with out trees growing through the middle of it), and vendors will be trying to hawk their $1 miniature replicas. I hope this area keeps it’s natural charm and doesn’t get too commercial.

All in all, if you have the opportunity to see Calakmul, don’t pass it up! Three hours will only let you explore about half of the ruins, so if you have the time I would recommend the 4-5 hour itinerary so you don’t feel rushed.

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Note:

1. The only bathrooms I came across where at the start of the trail head.

  1. Bring water (or a snack if you stay long) with you. You can’t buy anything after the welcome center.
  2. Know your climbing skills. The steps are narrow and tall than what we’re use to these days. Going down is a little more tricky than the way up.

Next stop Belize!

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