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Lintel at the Xcalumkin archaeological site

Calkini is a small city in the Yucatan Peninsula state of Campeche. It is a scenic colonial town with bright pastel colored buildings and a beautiful town plaza. With a location midway between Merida and Campeche. It is an enjoyable stopover, or it can make a great base for exploring natural areas like Isla Arena, Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve, or the Celestun Biosphere Reserve.



Calkini is a small city of just under 15,000 residents (2010). It is a traditional Mayan community where the language can still be heard in markets and indigenous neighborhoods.

Get in

Map of Calkini
MEX-180 between Merida and Campeche

By car


Federal highway MEX-180 passes along the outskirts of Calkini. From Merida, take MEX-180 south towards Campeche. From Campeche, take MEX-180 north towards Merida. Either direction is about 90 kilometers and will take just over an hour.

By train


Calkini is a stop on the Tren Maya intercity railway that loops through the Yucatan Peninsula, connecting major airports, cities, and archaeological sites. Calkini is midway between Merida and Campeche and the trip will take about 45 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at major stations (not Calkini) or on the official Tren Maya web site.

  • 1 Estación Calkiní Tren Maya (Train station), Calle 15 No. 1941. Trains stop briefly in Calkini to let passengers on and off, but it is not a full-service station. Buy your tickets ahead of time and don't expect attendants, baggage check, or other travel services.

Get around


Calkini is a small, compact city but there are always taxis (especially moto taxis) around. They have a sitio near the Zocalo. There are also combis with stops along Calle 20 offering frequent service to Hecelchakán.


  • 1 Parque Principal De Calkiní (Zocalo), Calle 20, Centro. Beautiful town square with immaculate sidewalks, manicured gardens that include maguey and tropical plants, a large wooden bandstand, and plenty of park benches to relax as the pigeons come over to befriend you. The plaza faces the church of San Luis Obispo and the Palacio Municipal. There are often vendors selling snacks.
Church of San Luis Obispo
  • 2 Iglesia de San Luis Obispo, Calle 17, Centro. Built by the Franciscans in 1549, the church was built over the remains of a Maya temple. Built of stone, the church has a rather austere facade with a conch shell balcony over the main entrance and a single bell tower. Inside, the church has two side chapels and an elaborately ornate altar.


Fountain of the Three Hats

The small village of Becal is 10 km north of Calkini (about 10-15 minutes by taxi). Becal is, like Calkini, historic and scenic. It's a town of traditional weavers whose claim to fame is that they make the best woven hats in the Yucatan Peninsula. Their hats are light, tight-woven Panama hats that they make from a palm called jipi.

  • Museo de Becal, Calle 30 - small regional museum with art exhibits (including a gallery of works by women artists), as well as local history, and an introduction to weaving and caves
  • Plaza del Progreso, De la 28 203, Centro - the town's main plaza is an enjoyable place to relax, but don't miss the famous fountain honoring hats (Fuente de los Tres Sombreros)




  • Carnival of Calkini


Panama hats are a specialty of local weavers

The nearby village of Becal is known for its fine-woven panama hats, and several Artesania shops in Calkini specialize in them. The hats are woven from a type of palm grown in the area called jipi (pronounced like "hippie", except the palms sometimes get a bath). Several Mayan weavers in Becal have dug underground workshops on their properties where they can keep the humidity high enough to keep the jipi pliable. Many of these weavers welcome visitors to come see how the hats are made (and maybe buy one to take home).

  • 1 Mercado Municipal "José Del Carmen", Calle 23 No. 133. M-Sa 05:00-20:00; Su 05:00-15:00. Traditional Mexican marketplace with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables plus local Mayan women preparing regional dishes just the way they have for generations. Great place to get an authentic taste of Campeche traditions.


  • 1 La Palapa, Carr. Costera del Golfo 18, Guadalupe. M-Sa 07:30 - 18:00, closed Su. Regional cuisine in an open, spacious palapa restaurant. Popular stop for travelers between Merida and Campeche. Cash only (no credit cards). M$150.
  • 2 Mayaka'an, Uxmal 23-Km 1, Guadalupe. Tourist restaurant with tables on a patio set around swimming pools (this is a thing in Calkini). Traditional Mexican cuisine, cold beers.
  • 3 Balneario Ba'axal-Ha', C. 23, Kilakán, +52 996 107 1091. Combination waterpark and tourist restaurant with tables on a patio set around swimming pools. Traditional Mexican cuisine, tacos, shrimp cocktails, drinks.




  • 1 Hotel Mayt, Calle 26 entre 11 y 15, +52 996 111 6529. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Friendly hotel with clean, spacious, comfortable rooms with cold air conditioning. No restaurant on site.
  • 2 Hotel La Ceiba, Calle 24 entre 19 y 23, La Fatima, +52 999 748 1294. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Moderate hotel with clean, comfortable rooms and friendly service. Air conditioning and WiFi work great. Off-street parking available. Hammocks available. M$700 (Dec 2023).
  • 3 Hotel Brenda Maria, Calle 16 89, San Juan, +52 996 961 0088. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Basic hotel that could use some updates, but rooms are clean and spacious. Hammocks available. Parking available.



Cell phone coverage is 4G and is good within the city of Calkini, but quickly declines as you head out of town toward the coast. Do not expect signal if you go into remote wilderness areas such as Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve. Hotels and restaurants in Calkini generally offer good WiFi. Good signal is generally available along the MEX-180 highway to either Merida or Campeche.

Go next

This city travel guide to Calkini is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.