Mayan Ruins – Xpuhil – Becan – Chicanná – Balamku


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Sharing is caring!

I chucked a lefty when I hit the highway near the Mexican coastal town of Chetumal. In doing so I gave up the chance of chilling out on a beach in favour of endless forty plus degree heat of the bone dry Yucatan. I was in search of yet more remote Mayan ruins. I can’t seem to get enough of them. By the end of this journey I will probably have visited more pre Columbus sites in the Americans than any other adventure cyclist.

The southern parts of the Yucatan peninsula states of Quintana Roo and Campeche are loaded full of Mayan site in various state of restoration. To get to them I had to cycle in temps above 40C. Reminds me of the many years I spent living in the small town of Jabiru in Kakadu National Park at home in Australia. The months of September to November were brutally hot at home, the same as this time of year on the Yucatan Peninsula. In fact, now that I think about it, the scenery is a little similar in many places. One thing is for certain, it kept the tourists away.

The long straight roads of the Yucatan Peninsula. A lot of the area is burnt off every year to encourage new growth, leaving a smoke haze most mornings.
As far as the eye can see. Flat and straight. A great shoulder for cycling, nice and safe.
Flat tyre. A bus stop make a cool place to change the tube and rest

Xpuhil Ruins

Xpulhil ruins were the first ruins I came to. A humble site near the hub town of Xpujil. It only cost a couple of dollars to wander around the site for about 30 minutes. I was alone at this site. Unlike some of it’s bigger cousins this site didn’t have the wow factor of Tikal or the feeling of being an early explorer when visiting of El Mirador. It was right on the main highway so made a great rest break from cycling.

Xpuhil ruins near the town of Xpujil
A nice cycle path to follow for about 5km, a couple of kilometers further and it would have linked the next two Mayan sites that I visited. Maybe that was the plan but they ran out of money.

Becan Ruins

Becan was also near the main highway. Only a short detour of about one kilometer. The buildings were a little bigger and in a better state of restoration. As the site was also small it took me about 45 minutes to wander around, including enough time to climb the large pyramid.



A smaller site that has an impressive looking building complete with teeth at the entrance to a building. I was there very late in the afternoon. Only 15 minutes before closing time. The friendly guard didn’t seem to mind that I might be out a little late. I did rush around the site but took a toatal of about 25 minutes.

Found this moth on the tree while walking to the site
Chicanná ruins
Chicanná ruins and the mouth of the monster


Balamku ruins were several kilometers from the road and again I was alone. It was my last stop for the day before making a plan to visit the biggest sight on the Yucatan Peninsula, Calakmul. The site was in various states of excavation and restoration with a nice grouping of stone carvings held under lock and key inside the main pyramid.

I haven’t seen too many touring cyclists in the last 2 year. These guys are from Germany.

In the evening a found a sneaky bush camp part way along the road to a place called Calakmul. a place I’ve had a hankering to visit this place since I first heard about it, stay tuned.

Next : Calakmul – The largest Mayan Ruins on the Yukatan Peninsula

Bicycle Touring and Bikepacking Pages might like:
Bicycle Touring Gear List
Bicycle Touring Spares and Tool Kit
Cycling from Alaska to Argentina

Where to buy all the best gear for Bicycle Touring and Bikepacking:
 |  |Amazon || 
|  | | | MEC Canada -Bicycle Touring Gear |

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author
About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

Download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Add your name and email to download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

2 thoughts on “Mayan Ruins – Xpuhil – Becan – Chicanná – Balamku”

  1. What is the mean kilometers between flat tyre ?
    Not related, you are approaching the dinosaur killer, 65M years old, crater. Watch the sky.

    • According to my Stats page – – I’ve had 29 flat tyres since I started my journey. I seem to get a flat tyre every 856km.
      Yes I’m very close to the Chicxulub Crater. I can confirm there are no dinosaurs here…..


Leave a Comment