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Calakmul Mexico

There are more than 60,000 documented sites in the Maya world, which encompasses the five states of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula and also the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador. These sites range from small villages, which were home to just a few inhabitants, to large cities with populations that topped 70,000.

It is located deep in the heart of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, a 1.8 million acre patch of wilderness home to jaguars, howler monkeys, vultures, and hundreds of varieties of birds, butterflies, and plants. Again, like all the other Campeche sites, there are just a handful of people exploring the remains of this extraordinary Maya ghost town.

With the number of buildings - big and small, covered and uncovered - it's not a great stretch of the imagination to see that Calakmul was once a place of great influence.

By the time the Spanish came on the scene at the beginning of the 16th century most Maya cities were either abandoned or in serious decline.

There is no single theory as to why this happened. Ideas range from famine, to revolution to disease, but whatever the circumstances the Maya themselves never disappeared. They are here in today's Yucatán, in every face of every taxi driver, hotel clerk and police officer. Thankfully the language, customs and architectural evidence of their place in history still survive.

Doug McKinlay

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

Meet the team