The reason why I went to Xpujil was it’s proximity to Calakmul . With time running out this was the one thing I still wanted to see. Xpujil is a village on Highway 186 and it seems to have no other purpose than catering people that want to to see the archaeological sites nearby.
Apart from Calakmul there is also Becán, Chicanná, Hormiguero and Rio Bec. The latter gave the name to a whole architectural style but doesn’t actually worth visiting.
Xpujil is a small village with a few hotels, restaurants and that’s about it. To my biggest surprise there was no way to get to Calakmul other than a taxi. Since it is still a 2 hours drive that wasn’t exactly a cheap option.
For the very first time I really felt let down by my South American Handbook. According to them there should have been two hotels in this village both eager to organise a day trip to the ruins, costing about 30 USD. Forget it.
The hotels here are surprisingly good – I stayed in La Victoria above the bus station – but useless when it comes to organising anything. I went to every single place in town and all they had to say was: “Get a taxi” (and no we don’t speak a word of English).
The thing is, I can’t see any reason why there are so many hotels in the first place. Since they obviously don’t exploit the archaeological sites why do they exist? Xpujil has absolutely nothing to offer. There is nothing to see but Highway 186 and there isn’t even a car rental. The village really is useless as a base to explore the nearby sites and should not be on the map of any decent guide book at least as far as I’m concerned. The most exciting thing I discovered was an outlet of the anonymous alcoholics. If I’d live here I’d probably be in need of some therapy myself.
I have to say I did not like the place at all. The village looks a bit like a touristy place with all these hotels but without the benefits. The people weren’t particularly friendly and certainly not helpful.
The restaurants support that impression. The food is not particularly good and not particularly cheap either. They seem to target people passing by and having a quick bite. I wasn’t impressed and I am not particularly picky when it comes to food. Even by truck stop standards it was rather bad.
Info: There doesn’t seem to be an ATM in town but a Western Union place. Make sure you have sufficient cash.
To be honest, to get to Calakmul I’d personally go to Chetumal, rent a car and organise my own day trip. Unfortunately I had already paid for my hotel, relying on the information that was given to me. Chetumal wasn’t an option any more and especially since I’ve been there before and it was the opposite way I wanted to go. However, if you want to see Calakmul consider this option. It may be a long drive from Chetumal but it probably works out better this way and it still is a lot closer than Campeche.
I did book a taxi in the end. It cost 80 USD but did work out just fine. For driving me around all day it wasn’t even that expensive and seeing Calakmul did worth it!
FACTS ABOUT XPUJIL:
- Xpujil is in Campeche
- The city is close to a few interesting archaeological sites.
- There are a few hotels in town but no car rental or organised tours to the nearby sites.
- There seems to be no ATM in Xpujil.
- Approximately 3.000 people live in Xpujil.
- The area code is: 983.