The Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul: Diversity Protected by The Jungle

A detour really worst to do for The Heritage Route. Our bicycle drove us till the Calakmul natural sanctuary, very close to the Guatemalan and Quintana Roo mexican state borders.

The Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul is the largest continuous forest area in the Mexican tropics. It spans a surface area of 723.185 hectares of the only high humid jungles in the Yucatan Peninsula. Due to its inaccessibility, scarcity of water and poor soil for agriculture, Calakmul has been preserved as one of the least deforested regions in the Peninsula.

corridors-zuidamerika_1Bordering protected forested areas in Quintana Roo, the Guatemalan Peten and Belize makes the area of Calakmul extremely important because of its diversity of flora and fauna and the conservation of species that need large areas for their living requirements, like the puma, the jaguar, and various migrating species. The region makes up part of the Mesoamerican Biological corridor which allows movement in both directions between the North of the Yucatan Peninsula and the sub humid and humid climates to the South of the Mesoamerican region. We will try to know more about the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor during our journey in Central America.

The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve was created on the 23rd May in 1989 and has a management program that was published in 1997, which deals with physical, biological and socioeconomic aspects. The National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) is in charge of the administration and handling of the reserve and is a decentralized organism which is part of the Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

The diversity of Calakmul and threats

Calakmul is home to a wide variety of fauna : more than 94 species of mammals, 300 species of resident and migrant birds, 20 species of amphibians, 73 species of reptiles,  18 species of fish and a large number of invertebrates.

Frut Bats by millions at dawn close to Calakmul

Frut Bats by millions at dawn close to Calakmul

There are stable populations of jaguar, puma, white lipped peccary, Guatemalan black howler, ornate hawk eagle, tapir and great curassow, amond others. Of the large variety of mammals that inhabit the Mexican Republic, Calakmul holds 5 of the 8 species of marsupils, 2 of the 3 species of primates and 5 of the 6 species of felines.

Entrance of the Calakmul Ancient City Site (UNESCO site)

Entrance of the Calakmul Ancient City Site (UNESCO site)

Calakmul is home of the Jaguar, the largest feline and predator in America, and its largest concentration in Mexico, that’s why many tourists come to Calakmul to see the species on the few hiking trails. The Jaguar is in danger of extinction due to the destruction and fragmentation of its habitats and as a result of agricultural development, and illegal furtive hunting. Some interesting projects of conservation exists like the  Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve, that handles one of the project of recovery of the jaguar population in the Peninsula.

The Biosphere Reserve is home o three species of deer, two of peccaries and one of tapirs.  Around 47 species of  bats stand out since they represent about 50% of the species of mammals in Calakmul, and play a very important role in the ecosystem by controlling insects, directly pollinating and dispersing seeds. 

Also, the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve hosts the ancient Maya city of Calakmul, an important archaeological Maya site. In 1993 the reserve was recognized under the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme.


The Fauna in Calakmul corresponds to the neo-tropical region in which are found valuable species cataloged as rare, endemic, endangered, and in danger of extinction.


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