Calakmul, Mayan Forest

Calakmul is one of the most important natural reserves in Mexico, not only for its territorial extension, but also for the variety of animal and vegetable species living in an area of privileged climate, hosting one of the most developed cultures in prehispanic Mexico: the Maya.

It is located within the municipality of the same name, in the south of the State of Campeche, it has an extension of 14,681.05 square kilometers, with a population over 20 thousand inhabitants. To reach the site, if traveling from Mexico City by air you have to reach Ciudad del Carmen and take a bus to the reserve, which is still far away, so the trip can take up to four hours.

Calakmul, name in Maya meaning “two pyramids together or next to each other” has a special meaning for Mexico; because of its natural resources, it has been declared Biosphere Reserve and for its historic development it was recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage.

The region is characterized by a warm climate, semi-humid, with an average temperature of 78.8°F, allowing the development of a great animal and vegetable variety. It has a great vegetable wealth, distributed among the high, middle and low jungle. Very common are the chicle trees, of great commercial importance because latex is extracted from its bark, besides lumber species and others like Ramon, Pukté, Machiche and Bayo, all of these trees are of great height, followed by other shorter ones of 39 to 82 feet as the guayacan, jobillo, mountain Xu’ul, Ja’abin and others of lesser height that belong to the low jungle.

Regarding animal species, their conservation is just as important in the region, hosting many species in danger of extinction. Its jungles allow the reproduction of felines as the jaguar, puma, ocelot and tiger cat. The very high trees are perfect for the great variety of monkeys as the howling and spider, while the low jungles safeguard the habitat of deer, armadillos, tapir and anteaters. The same humidity and vegetation produces food for the nearly 300 species of birds, many of them of great plumage, characteristic of the tropical regions like parrots, toucans and eagles.

This immense habitat is the perfect frame for the constructions that speak of the architectural and astronomical advances of the Maya culture, whose first settlements in the place date from 700 B.C. During the years of greatest peak, around the tenth century A.D., Calakmul had developed agricultural activities, an economy and ceremonial centers that gathered nearly 50 thousands residents.

The constructions that can be appreciated are found distributed in temples, ball games and palaces, as well as urban sets that evidence the great activity that was held in the area. You can visit Chicanná, a ceremonial center of great importance, with a structure that was the center of two acropolis. It is only a sample of more than 6 thousand buildings that sustained this urban center, which was once the capital of the kingdom named “Of the serpent head”.

For those who enjoy ecotourism, the region offers vast jungle areas, ideal for camping and hiking.

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