Video – How to Pronounce “Xcalak”

You’ve decided to come to Xcalak. That’s great! You’re about to discover one of the most special places in Mexico, free from crowds and mega-tourism.

But can you pronounce Xcalak?

I mean, you want to be able to tell your friends where you’re headed right? “Oh, just a small town near the Belize border. It has a funny name,” doesn’t quite do it.

We get it. You’ve read about the place, but haven’t actually heard anyone say it out loud.

Relax – here at XcalakMexico we’ve got your back when it comes to how to pronounce “Xcalak”.

See our definitive guide on getting to Xcalak, then go straight to the video below and learn how to pronounce Xcalak and why it isn’t pronounced like the Mexican Spanish you’re used to (spoiler alert: It’s Mayan!).

After the video keep scrolling for the summary, including some interesting facts about Xcalak.

Cancun. Playa del Carmen. Tulum. They’re all easy to pronounce because you’ve heard of these places. They’re packed with tourists. But who cares? You’re interested in Xcalak.

Maybe you’ve mastered reading and spelling “Xcalak”, but you’re still a little hesitant when it comes to pronouncing it? No problem.

Video summary

Pronounce “Xcalak” like “ish-ka-lak”.

  • You can put the emphasis on either the first or the second syllable, and you’ll be right.

Fun fact! “Xcalak” isn’t Spanish – it’s Mayan.

  • Regular Spanish pronunciation rules don’t apply. If you really want to get into speaking Mayan, this website has a handy phrase guide with pronunciation.
  • In Mayan the letter “x” sounds like “ish” at the beginning of a word, and sounds like “sh” in the middle of a word. Ex. Xcalak = ish-ka-lak; Uxmal = oo-sh-mal

Fun fact! “Xcalak” means “the twins”

  • It’s named for the two nearly-identical openings in the barrier reef that allowed the ancient Mayans to get to the shore and create a settlement. They named the settlement after the two openings (not super-creative, but whatever).

So there you have it, folks. You can pronounce Xcalak – that pretty much qualifies you to visit. (That, and an appreciation for an unspoiled, stunningly beautiful beach destination.)

So next time you’re headed south to Mexico, don’t hang with the suckers at all-inclusives drinking your face off while chatting with people you could have met at home.

Say the magic word – Xcalak.

Because now you know how.


Interested in how an ancient Mayan settlement because one of the last remote Mexican beach paradises in existence? Check out our Xcalak history infographic