Xcalumkin is one of the puuc-style archaeological zones of Campeche. Lovers of the Mayan civilization and adventure will love the place.

The state of Campeche is full of Mayan archaeological treasures that few know about. This makes it an ideal state for the most curious adventurers, where to visit vestiges that are not so touristized.

Xcalumkin is one of the puuc-style Mayan vestiges that you can visit. Together with its neighbor Chunhuhub, they are part of the group of ancient Mayan cities encompassed by the same architectural style: the puuc.

Of the various architectural styles used by the ancient Maya, undoubtedly the puuc It is one of the most elaborate. Uxmal is the culmination of the puuc style, an unmissable place in the Yucatan.

archaeological zone xcalumkin campeche
Details of the Puuc architectural style


The Xcalumkín archaeological zone is located relatively close to the main highway that connects the cities of Mérida and Campeche. You will have to deviate a few kilometers along an inland road to explore this beautiful place.

  • FROM CAMPEHE: you must take the highway towards Mérida and exit at the detour at Hecelchakán. They are 79 kilometers, by car it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. From the detour it is about 13 kilometers to the enclosure.
  • FROM MÉRIDA: you should still take coastal highway 180 and take the detour at Hecelchakán to get to Xcalumkín. Open the map, it's simple.

Going by public transport is quite complicated. The simplest thing would be to get to Hecelchakán and from there take a bus to the entrance of the road that leads to Xcalumkin. And from here walk the last kilometers to the enclosure. If you are going to go like this, take water and protect yourself from the sun.

Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 1
Photo © Google Maps: click on the image to open the map


If you have only visited big cities like Uxmal, Chichén Itzá or Calakmul, for example, it seems that Xcalumkin is a small place. The truth is that it occupied 10 square kilometers, and was the capital of various minor vestiges in the area.

Its proximity of only 50 kilometers to the island of Jaina, favored growth thanks to trade. The Jaina emblem glyph appears in several inscriptions at Xcalumkín. The dates that have been found written are from 728 to 761.

The dates normally mark events and name the great governors of the places. In the case of Xcalumkín, they name up to 14 different people. These people are not the great governor (K'ul Ahau) but subordinate lords (those known as sahal) to regional governors.

Other titles deciphered at Xcalumkín include: its'at (wise man), mats (educated man), ah ts'ib (scribe), and ah kin (priest). INAH source

From each city we can learn a little capsule of the Mayan world, there is always something interesting. Precisely in Xcalumkin many hieroglyphic inscriptions were found on columns, lintels and moldings. Around 250 registrations are estimated.

It is a place with few temples, with residential palaces and without a ball court (it is surprising because we find it in almost all the large ancient Mayan cities).

  • HEIGHT OF XCALUMKÍN: from 700 to 900 AD
  • WHAT DOES THE NAME OF XCALUMKIN MEAN: Doubly good soil exposed to the Sun
Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 2

It is one of the remarkable cities of the puuc architectural style, which meet in a large area between Yucatan and Campeche. The reference is Uxmal, but there are many other cities that developed in a similar way from 500 AD

Some of these are Chunhuhub, Chacmultún, Sayil, Xlapak, Labná, Kabah, Oxkintok or Uxmal. The population of this area and growth is even if we talk about the years.

xcalumkin campeche
xcalumkin campeche
Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 3


In 1887 it was the explorer Teobert Maler who reported it. In that year, the Italian-Austro-German Teobert Maler toured the area, taking several photographs. The graphic testimony that he left is a treasure. 

He stayed to live in the region for more than 30 years, photographing archaeological sites in Yucatan, Campeche, Belize and Guatemala. He also traveled to Chiapas and Guerrero and the photographic testimony of him also included photography of local people.

Look at what a beautiful photo of the Group of the Initial Series where you can see the glyphs, what beauty

Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 4
PHOTO Wikipedia  ©Teobert Maler Group Series

The first reconstruction and work on the site began in 1992. Much remains to be rebuilt in Xcalumkin, as well as in many pre-Hispanic vestiges.

In these places one can also feel more adventurous.

xcalumkin campeche


You are driving along one of those lonely roads in the interior of Campeche between cultivated fields, and suddenly a small blue sign indicates the archaeological zone of Xcalumkin. 

Without a doubt, it is one of those detours that I will always take. Visiting a place as little crowded as Xcalumkin is a total plus. Being able to tour an ancient Mayan city in solitude is something I enjoy.

The place has several curiosities to enjoy. Only by entering can you climb to the top of an unreconstructed temple, from where you have good views. I liked that a lot, I like to climb everywhere.

You can see chultunes, freshwater tanks where rainwater was stored for consumption. There is a cenote, today it is dry.

At the entrance there is a small exhibition of archaeological pieces, many stelae with glyphs. I really like the state of Campeche because it always tries to have pieces in the archaeological zones, and surely many visitors appreciate seeing them.

Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 5
On one side of the road the sign is erased, on the other you can see the name. watch out
xcalumkin campeche
Cenote in Xcalumkin
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Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 7
The views from the temple of Xcalumkín


I highlight what cannot be seen, because there is no: Ball Game. Most Mayan cities had a Ball Game, Xcalumkin is one of those that does not have it. 

The beauty of writing carved on stones is something that always moves me. Written ancient history, whispers of the past. I always enjoy these great details.

A place to enjoy the calm and the walk through an ancient Mayan city in solitude.

Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 8
Column carved with glyphs found in the site museum


The route inside the archaeological zone is very simple, you are only going to follow the path that leads you through the different buildings.

At the beginning of the route is where the mound that you can climb is, the one on the Northwest Hill. There are very good views from the top, I would not miss it. I am like goats, I always shoot for the mountains.

The red earth of the place gives beautiful contrasts to photograph. It is a beautiful and entertaining path.

Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 9
INAH Map Photo © 


There are not many shades and the heat hits hard, especially from April to September. So protect your head from the sun and bring water to hydrate.

From June to September are the months with the most insects, I recommend you bring repellent.

Xcalumkin Archaeological Zone, Campeche


1- Xcalumkín archaeological zone schedule

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day

2- Services

There are bathrooms and a small museum with several pieces.

Parking Spaces

3-Price Xcalumkín archaeological zone

Entrada libre

Xcalumkin Site Museum
Xcalumkin Site Museum


It is possible to combine the visit to Xcalumkin with other archaeological sites in the area. The same with other attractive cultural visits. I leave you some recommendations.

Discover the puuc in the archaeological zone Xcalumkín 10
Photo © Google Maps: click on the image to open the map of the Puuc area

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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.
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