In the south of the Yucatan Peninsula we find fascinating ancient Mayan cities. The archaeological zone of Balamkú preserves one of the treasures of the Mayan civilization, what will it be?

Years ago when you visited Balamkú no one told you anything about the treasure that it preserves, it was information that travelers and enthusiasts of the Mayan civilization passed by word of mouth. If you were one of the lucky ones who knew of its existence, you should ask for the key at the entrance of the vestige to access the structure that preserves this treasure.

An enthusiastic anthropologist friend of the Mayan world told us so, and we traveled to see this wonder. Thanks Martuki.

Balamku Campeche


Balamkú means in Spanish Temple of the Jaguar (balam: jaguar and kú: temple). The name is given by the decoration of the frieze found in the enclosure, which is the great treasure of the place.

The archaeological zone of Balamkú was discovered very late, in 1990. INAH archaeologist Florentino García Cruz reported it due to the looting report. Balamkú It preserves, despite the looting, one of the best kept treasures in the Mayan world. A frankly spectacular frieze, one of those that make your heart bristle.

Balamku's history stretches from 600-300 BC to AD 800-1000, a very long period. In the early days it was strongly influenced by cities such as Calakmul, Nakbé, El Mirador, Uaxactún and Tikal. Relations changed, and around AD 600 and 1000, the Balamkú site displayed close similarities to the Becán site. Becán is nearby in the area, we recommend you visit it, it is an amazing place.

Remember that the Mayan civilization was not an empire, but cities-states that have been associating and fighting according to the events. There are many alliances that come and go, power remains that way in many ways.

Enjoy exploring the 5 archeological sites of Campeche most impressive

balamku ruins
Arch that leads you to the Central Group, where the frieze is


The enclosure is relatively small. A pleasant path between shadows takes you to tour the place. The kilometer and a half path joins the different architectural complexes of Balamkú. These scenes from the ancient Mayan cities offer unforgettable walks.

The spectacular Balamkú frieze stucco found inside one of the buildings of the so-called Central Group, in Structure IA. You will have to walk all the way.

balamku map
Balamku map font


Today there is a fixed guard at the side door of the building. No one would say that within this simple building it treasures the most beautiful details of Mayan art that we can observe.

The imposing Balamkú frieze retains some of the red pigmentation. It was made between 550 and 600 AD. C. Part of his worldview, his understanding of the world, is reflected in this frieze where four scenes of ascension alternated with jaguars are appreciated.

Sub-structure IA of the Central Group, building that treasures the frieze
balamku campeche

It is fantastic that today we can enjoy this beauty, as most stuccoes were lost due to the punishment imposed by the tropical climate on them. The material that was used to make them is not resistant to moisture. The vast majority of preserved stuccoes have been found inside a building, as in the case of Balamkú, preserved from the elements.

The Maya built many times in a superimposed way, as if it were the matrioskas, the Russian dolls that are put together by sizes. You have to understand that buildings bald that we see in the current ruins, before they were decorated and painted, giving a very different look to what we see today.

When professionals excavate and study a vestige, they sometimes find interior structures that have been preserved, and can do the restoration work with the pattern found.

At Lóleo Eventos, Balamku archaeological zone Work has been done on the restoration of the frieze, something that allows us to enjoy these meters of pure ancient Mayan art.

balamku ruins
Mayan Balamku Frieze


In order to better appreciate the frieze there is a descriptive plate that places us in it. The iconography of Maya contains many elements, so it is really difficult to understand so much symbolism. It is a very broad universe to which we look, many elements escape us if we are not understood in the Mayan world. Standing before this frieze and playing at recognizing symbols and unmasking meaning is a very good game.

INAH tells us on its website that «in the frieze there are 4 ascension scenes alternated with three jaguars. Each comprises an animal with its head turned back, sitting in the front slit of an Earth Monster figurehead; his mouth gives way to a king on his throne. In addition to illustrating in detail the opposite and complementary aspects of the underworld, the set shows that the dynastic cycle is equated with the solar cycle. In this conception, the accession to the throne is illustrated by the king emerging from the jaws of the terrestrial monster, as the Sun rises from the mouth of the Earth; the king's death is seen as a sunset, when it falls into the mouth of the Earth Monster. Main chronological location: Classic, 300 to 1000 AD. C. »

balamku frieze iconography
iconography frieze balamkuBalamku, Campeche
archaeological zone balamku
balamku frieze

El Balamku frieze He is the true protagonist of the Balamkú enclosure, a pleasant place to walk in the shadows and discover the monkeys that inhabit the place.

For us it is the perfect combination in one day with Calakmul. If you join it to the volcano of the bats you will have an unbeatable day. You already know it traveler, here you have a good detour where you can enjoy the Mayan world and nature. You will be surprised by the south

Discover in Balamkú the most beautiful Mayan frieze 1

Balamkú, archaeological site

LOCATION: Balamkú is located 3 km from the town of Conhuás, 55 km from Xpuhil.
SCHEDULE AND SERVICES: open from 8 a.m. to 17 p.m. daily. There are services at the entrance.
PRICE INPUT :: 47 mxn. The Sundays the entrance of INAH is free for Mexicans and permanent residents. Access to the archaeological sites is free every day for children under 13 years of age, students, teachers and senior citizens with valid credentials.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? Conhuás Public transport arrives from Escárcega (2 hours) and from Xpuhil (30 minutes). Since Conhuás you must walk about 2 kilometers to the entrance.
NEARBY ACCOMMODATIONS:hotels near Calakmul
WHAT MORE TO SEE IN THE AREA: Xpuhil, Chicanná, Becán, Hormiguero, Rio Bec, Calakmul, Kohunlich, Dzibanché. This south has no bottom.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, closed shoes and some water always goes well.

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
I am at your disposal for whatever you need. Let's talk.

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