Thursday, 13 June 2013

Campeche: a stunning colonial city located on the Gulf of Mexico

While on vacation in Mexico, the colonial city of Campeche is definitely a great place to visit. This Spanish settlement was built on the site of a former Mayan fishing village around the year 1540. In colonial times, it was one of the most important ports in the Yucatán Peninsula, exporting large amounts of timber and roots used to make dyes in European textile production.

Campeche was frequently attacked by English, Dutch and French pirates who in fact destroyed the city on several occasions. The worst of these attacks came in the year 1663, in which massacre thousands of people were killed. As a consequence, thick walls were built around the city, which featured 8 bastions (7 of them are now used as points of interest for tourists).

The most visited ones are Baluarte de la Soledad (now a Mayan Museum), Baluarte de Santiago (now a botanical garden) and Baluarte de San Pedro (now a handcraft store). We truly recommend you visit them, in order to really breath in some Mexican culture during your vacations in Mexico. 

Two gateways in the walls (the Sea Gate and the Land Gate) give access to the old part of the city. Don’t miss out on going to see the Casa de Teniente del Rey (Kings Lieutenants House), which is the former residence of the Spanish Kings military representative of Yucatan. The courtyard is spectacular and well worth a visit.

The city of Campeche is full of things to do; the focal point is the old part of the city. Go to Parque Principal where you can sit in and enjoy a traditional "marquesita", and watch the world go by. In the northern corner of the square, you will see one of the first cathedrals to be built in the Yucatan. Campeche will not disappoint you during your holidays in the Cancun area.

What to do in Campeche
  • A “must see” is the ancient Mayan city of Edzna (just a 40 minute bus ride from the city). Take the bus in front of the old castle walls, which will cost you 55 Mexican pesos per person one way.
  • Take a walk inside the walled city, and be astonished by the pink, yellow and blue houses.
  • Enjoy some typical “camarones al coco” (coconut shrimps) at the famous Marganzo restaurant  (Calle 8 between 57 and 59).
  • Walk around the Archeological Mayan Museum, here you will see artifacts from many Mayan ruins.
Campeche is perfectly located on the Gulf of Mexico. Take a short walk to the boardwalk and see the Fuerte de San Miguel and watch the sunset. Very impressive! At night, young people head out along the city's modern seafront, the malecon. We recommend you watch the sunset here for an amazing view. You will treasure amazing memories during your vacations in Mexico.

How to get to Campeche 

From Cancun, head towards Merida and then follow the signs to Campeche. It will roughly take you 6 hours.

From Playa del Carmen & Tulum, head towards Coba, and follow the signs to Merida and from there to Campeche (roughly 5 and half hours traveling time).

By bus: take the ADO from Cancun and Playa del Carmen to Campeche. The round trip from Cancun to Campeche costs around $880 Mexican pesos , and takes around 7 hours .

Campeche interesting facts

In 1999 UNESCO added the city of Campeche to its list of World Heritage Sites.
During Campeche´s heyday, wealthy Spanish families built mansions. Many of them can be seen today.

The small town of Becal (between Campeche and Merida) is renowned for their Panama Hats, which are made from palm leaves and became very popular with the workers who built the Panama Canal.

All in all, Campeche is a fantastic place to visit during your vacations in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

 Where to eat in Campeche

- La Casa Vieja is one of the best restaurants in Campeche where you can watch the sunset right behind the cathedral.

- Marganzo is one of the most important restaurants in Campeche where they serve specialties like the Pan de Cazon (baby shark cooked between layers of tortillas in a mole sauce), the famous Cochinita Pibil and Papazules (typical Yucatan dishes).

- La Parroquia (traditional Mexican cafe).

Where to stay in Campeche

- Casa Don Gustavo hotel

- Hotel Castelmar

- Hotel Lopez Campeche

- Hotel Tucan Siho Playa

- Ocean View Hotel

- Hotel Plaza Campeche

- Best Western del Mar

- Holiday Inn Campeche

- City Express Campeche

Luxury hotels and Haciendas in Campeche

- Hacienda Uayamon

- Hacienda Puerta Campeche

Economic Hotels and Hostels in Campeche

- Hotel Castelmar

- Hotel America Centro

- Monkey Hostel

- Pirate Hostel

- Hostal La Parroquia