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Xpujil is a remote village in the state of Campeche, located at an important junction in the interior of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. It offers the only services on Mexico's Federal Route 186 in the interior of the Yucatán. Xpujil is the nexus of the Ruta Rio Bec for travelers interested in Maya civilization. The Xpujil archaeology site, just west of the modern town of Xpujil has historically been a key reason for historical travelers to stop in the town.



The town is the nearest source of traveler services to several of the Maya sites that are part of the Ruta Rio Bec, including a fairly small Mayan archaeological site called Xpujil in the town itself. The town is not particularly close to the archaeological ruins and biosphere reserve at Calakmul, but is still the closest place you'll find a selection of hotels and restaurants.

Three square towers of Structure I, Xpujil

Get in

Map of Xpujil

By plane


The nearest airport with commercial flights is Chetumal (CTM IATA). It is about 1-/1/2 to 2 hours from Xpujil by car or taxi.

By car


Highway 186 is well-paved and in mostly excellent condition, with little traffic. The road north connecting Xpujil with Holpelchén is narrow, most of it has been paved and is in excellent condition. However, there are portions of the road to the north of Reserva de la Biosfera Calakmul that are in disrepair; littered with astonishingly deep potholes that resemble a never ending abyss into the depths of hell. Some travellers may want to avoid this route or expect to travel at a much slower speed. To the south of Xpujil, this road is an unimproved seasonal track.

By bus


Many buses, both first class and second class, traverse Route 186 and stop in Xpujil on their way to Chetumal or Escárcega. Colectivos also run between Chetumal and Xpujil.

From Campeche :

Second class buses are leaving from the small bus terminal close to the city centre (Av Gobernadores). Direct buses leave at 8:00, 13:30, and 18:00. Journey will take 5 to 6 hours and cost around M$300. It is also possible to get a colectivo or a bus to Escárcega and then another bus to Xpujil (Nov. 2023)

  • 1 ADO Xpujil (bus station), MEX 186. Small rundown bus terminal with filthy bathrooms. It's your only transportation option for miles. Fortunately, ADO buses are clean and modern even if this terminal is not.

By train


Xpujil is a station on the Tren Maya, a high-speed intercity railway that traverses the Yucatan Peninsula. The train opened for paying passengers in December 2023 but the section through Xpujil will not open until sometime in 2024.

Get around


Xpujil is small enough to navigate by foot, and automobile traffic is very light off the main highway. Calle Chicaná is well lit with a paved sidewalk, and makes for a pleasant evening walk.

Maya Sites


You may want a rental 4x4 to traverse roads through the jungle to the Maya sites, or you can get to them by hiring a tour guide in Xpujil. There are many Maya sites near Xpujil, some of the main ones are:

Archaeological Sites Near Xpujil



Xpujil Archaeological Site

Jaguar mask on temple at Xpujil

The ancient Mayan city of 1 Xpujil Xpuhil on Wikipedia is just outside the town of Xpujil. The site is small, encompassing only two visible building groups: the main temple complex, and the three towers that mark Structure I. The original city covered an area of several square miles, but most of it has been covered by dense vegetation and is inaccessible.

Mayan architecture in this region is characterized by the Rio Bec style. Some Rio Bec features you can see at Xpujil include the mock pyramid architecture of the Main Temple with its steep staircases. Note the monster mask shape of the central doorway -- this too is a hallmark of Rio Bec style.

Structure I is the most interesting feature of Xpujil. Each of the three parts has a characteristic steep staircase, and there are mock staircases on the upper levels. Each of the three towers was topped by a pyramid, though only the central tower's pyramid is in good condition. The monster mask theme is carried through the three towers, with the giant serpent mouth of the central tower being the most unsettling.

Some additional ruins can be seen in the town itself. 2 Zona 2 is covered in vines and is along a short trail at the end of Calle 2. 3 Zona 3 is located at Villahermosa - Chetumal 600, Aviación. 4 Zona 4 on C. Xmulten is thought to have been some kind of administrative building.

Balamku Archaeological Site

Section of stucco frieze at Balamku

Balamku is a small site located 60 kilometers west of Xpujil. The site dates from about 300 BC and has one of the largest and most intricate stucco friezes of any Mayan site. The frieze measures almost 17 meters in length (55 feet). The site includes a large number of structures, with many platforms and smaller temples. Much of the site remains unexcavated. It is lightly visited and you are likely to be the only tourist there.

Chicanna Archaeological Site

Serpents mouth doorway on Structure II at Chicanna

Chicanna is the ruins of a medium-size city that was probably like a suburb of Becan. The most famous thing to see at Chicanna is the serpent mask doorway, which is remarkably crisp and well preserved. The doorway resembles the gaping jaws of serpent with jagged teeth across the base of the doorway. Along the sides you can see smaller serpent heads carved as relief sculptures.

Structure III is a restored pyramid with a residential wing with columns and two doorways.

Structure I is built using the classic Rio Bec architecture of non-functional pyramid towers on either side of another (though less impressive) serpent mask doorway. Between the doorways are a series of patterned doorways with 10 rooms inside.

Several smaller groups of ruins, identified on the site map as Groups A, B, C, and D contain smaller pyramid temples and other structures with some unexcavated mounds. Group D also has a large 2-story temple known as Structure XX with more serpent masks, doorways, and false stairways.

The site is compact and will probably take no more than 2 hours to adequately explore.


All roads lead to Xpujil

Ruta Rio Bec Archaeological Sites


The Ruta Rio Bec is a well-publicized tour route that includes much of the area near Xpujil. The route emphasizes Maya sites that reflect a style of architecture that prevailed in the region for a few centuries. The route was defined more than 30 years ago and does not officially include some more recently discovered sites. Sites on the route are marked with road signs making them easy to find.

One of the sites not included is Calakmul, one of the largest and most significant Maya sites in the Yucatan Peninsula. There are at least two companies offering day trips to the Calakmul archaeological site for M$350-400 (not including individual park and road fees). A driver may approach you outside the bus station or you can contact Calakmul Transporte Colectivo via Facebook. The day trips leave at 08:00, arrive at the site shortly after 10:00, and leave by 16:00, in time to make a stop at a nearby bat cave before sundown.

An ecotourism information center in Xpujil offers information and guided tours for the nearby Reserva de la Biósfera Calakmul.




  • 1 Ma'alobkin, MEX 186, +52 983 154 4192. 06:30 - 14:00. Light food like sandwiches and tostadas at lunch, hotcakes and chilaquiles for breakfast. Large drinks.
  • 2 Riqui's Pizza, Becan S/N, Centro, +52 983 111 6043. 05:00 - 23:30 (24 hours on Wed). Pizzas and calzones with grilled Mexican style meats (carne asada, pastor, etc.).
  • 3 Sazon Veracruzano, MEX 186, +52 983 871 6299. 07:00 - 22:00 (closed Su). Traditional Mexican comfort food with generous portions and reasonable prices. M$200.





There are several hotels in Xpujil and a few places on the east side of town that offer camping areas and cabins. The Mexican government is building a 160-room resort hotel in Xpujil to handle the expected increase in tourist traffic as the new Tren Maya begins easy access to the interior of the Yucatan from big coastal areas like Cancun and Tulum. The new hotel was originally scheduled to open by December 2023, but will likely slip into early 2024.

  • 1 Hotel Calakmul, MEX 186, KM 151, +52 983 871 6029. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. This place is right downtown and has 20 M$600 double rooms with AC and TV, but there are also 8 M$250 rooms with shared bath and fan. All rooms have two beds.
  • 2 Hotel Maya Balam, Xpujil y Aviación, +52 983 835 7527. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Modern, modest hotel with minimal flash but good A/C. WiFi is a bit sketchy, restaurant on-site serving breakfast starting at 06:00. M$800.
  • 3 Hotel Nicte-Ha, Calle Palmar entre Avenida Calakmul y Xnantun. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 13:00. Small, spacious, plain rooms across the street from the ADO bus terminal. A/C, internet, parking available, pets allowed. M$800.
  • 4 Hotel Casa Marán, MEX 186, +52 983 688 2527. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Modern, clean, comfortable rooms with good on-site restaurant. Flaky wi-fi. Front desk staff can help arrange tour services to Maya sites. M$1100.

Go next


If you are heading to Chetumal, it is easy to catch either a colectivo or wait for enough people to fill up a taxi near the bus station for the 1½-2 hour ride.

This city travel guide to Xpujil 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.