The Balamku Ruins was an impromptu ruin visit we made in Campeche. Our destination was the Calakmul ruins, but we felt we hit the Mayan ruin jackpot when we decided to visit Balamku. This is how it happened, and man are we ever glad our spidy senses were working well that day.
After an 8 hour drive from Akumal, we arrived in the late afternoon to our hotel, Puerto Calakmul, the closet hotel to Calakmul Ruins. It was too late to make the drive into the Calakmul ruin site, and too early to hang our head at the hotel. We looked at the map and saw a ruin site just down the road, so off we headed.
Balamku is just a few miles west of the entrance that leads to the Calakmul Ruins and just off the highway. If you have explored any of the ruins off Hwy 186 in either Quintana Roo or Campeche, it is a nice break to have a short drive to the entrance. Calakmul is a 90 minute drive to off the highway to the ruin entrance, Dzibanche and Kinichna a good 30 minutes, and Kohunlich 15 minutes.
Officially the ruins close at 5 pm. We entered the site at 3:45 pm thinking we had ample time to explore. We headed to the south complex first, and snooped around. As we were checking out the structures in this area, we heard someone calling after us. One of the INAH workers was walking from the North Complex and encouraged us to follow him to this location. That had never happened before, but we ditched our southern exploration for his recommended northern tour.
I had not completed any research about the Balamkul Ruins in advance. I had no idea why it was so important to get to the northern complex. Then we found out why. The INAH worker – he was not a guide – was in charge of the northern temple that houses some of the best Mayan stone carvings we have ever seen. He explained to us that he was leaving his post for the day and wanted to make sure that we had the opportunity to enter the most treasured location on the site. He unlocked the door to the northern temple of the kings, and we were dumbfounded. There inside the temple were four massive stone carvings of four Mayan kings. Massive! We looked at our new friend and said thank you, then proceeded to look at the incredible sculptures before us. Taking non-flash photos is allowed but we did not have a camera or the lens sufficient enough to do these sculptures justice. Nor was there a lot of time to really set up a great photo. As kind as this INAH worker was to open up the temple for us, it was evident that our time was running out.
After thanking our new friend for taking us to and opening up the Temple of the Kings, we headed back to the South Complex to make sure we did not miss anything else. Nothing on the site compared to the temple we just left. In fact I would say very little does compare. We have visited a lot of Mayan Ruins. Many blow our minds, and none have been a disappointment. Balamkul was the highpoint of our travels. Our intention on this trip was to revisit the Calakmul ruins, a favorite of ours, but we fell upon Balamku and will never forget that moment when we laid eyes on the Kings.
Check out more ruin adventures in the Yucatan Peninsula and discover the intrigue of the Maya in Mexico.