Inside the Reserva de la Biósfera de Calakmul there are two excellent lodging and eating options. They are on opposite ends of the budget spectrum, which makes staying inside the reserve and near the ruins possible for everyone.
Run by Servidores Turísticos de Calakmul, Camping Yaax ’che (Carr. Calakmul Km. 6.5, tel. 983/871-6064, servidoresturisticos [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] mx, www.pormex.com/datos/cam18.htm , US$4.65 pp camping, US$9.25–14 pp camping including all equipment) is one of the few honest-to-goodness campgrounds you’ll find here or just about any place in Mexico. A short distance down the road to Calakmul, campsites are scattered in a pleasant wooded area, with clean toilets and showers, and a large fire pit. Rental equipment is quite nice, and the staff will set it up for you. There’s also a simple eatery near the entrance, Restaurant Oxté Tun (6 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$3–5) that serves up good, basic meals; along one side of it, artesanía, honey, and natural remedies also are sold. The campground is run by a friendly Xpujil couple with incredible knowledge of, and passion for, the reserve. They offer bicycle and walking tours of the reserve and the ruins, which are highly recommended.
Just past the gate at the highway turnoff to Calakmul ruins, Hotel Puerta Calakmul (Carr. Escárcega-Chetumal Km. 98.5, tel. 786/206-9492, www.puertacalakmul.com.mx , US$110 s/d) offers 15 deluxe cabins—and more are being built—in a large wooded plot. The cabins, spacious and spaced well apart, have comfortable beds with mosquito nets, painted cement floors with patterns made of inlaid stones, and large sitting rooms or outdoor terraces with hammocks and polished wood furniture. The restaurant has a high bank of windows and serves fresh breakfasts and pre-set three-course dinners. An on-site pool is a nice way to wash off a long day of ruin-going, but isn’t always filled because of water shortages. The owner was considering remodeling and raising the rates significantly, so call ahead if this is near your upper limit.
If you are going to check out the other ruins along Highway 186, consider switching hotels and staying at one in or around Xpujil. And if you get stuck between Campeche City and Calakmul, a night in Escárcega is your only choice.