Only a two hours’ drive from Mérida, a visit to the city of Campeche, in the neighboring state of the same name, is an excellent opportunity to maximize your stay in the Yucatán Peninsula.
The adventure begins along the way. Only 30 minutes before arriving in Campeche, it is a “must” to stop on the side of the road to try the famous Pomuch bread, a delicious tradition; all the breads are made with fresh ingredients in traditional ovens made with stone and brick. The flavors will delight your taste buds.
San Francisco de Campeche, city named as a Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, proudly displays its cobblestone colonial streets, mainly in the Centro Histórico, as well as the forts built in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Today you can walk along the famous Calle 59, which goes from the city gates “Puerta de Tierra” (door to the earth) to the “Puerta del Mar” (door to the sea). During your tour you will notice the pastel colors of the building façades, adding a unique touch to the cityscape. We recommend taking the streetcar to visit the main neighborhoods, some of which were the settings for adventures with strange characters and pirates. You will also notice the churches and parks; don’t miss the Cristo Negro de San Román (the black Christ).
The San Miguel and San José forts, military constructions used to defend the city from maritime attacks, are don’t-miss stops on your visit to Campeche. At the San Miguel fort you will find a small but fascinating museum which displays naval and weapons remains, as well as the best view of the city. Stay for the lingering sunset with its pinks and yellows falling into the sea, a “postcard” you will want to keep forever.
For a closer look at cannons and galleons, take the pirate ship tour, on one of its 50-minute tours at 12 pm or 5 pm.
There are plenty of gastronomic options, from traditional Maya cooking to seafood specialties including coconut shrimp and “pan de cazón” (a dogfish casserole dish), among others. Another very “Campechano” experience is the delicious “tortas” (sandwiches) made with pork or turkey at Lonchería Valich.
Save time to shop for some local crafts, made from wood, pottery, or vegetable fiber, and hammocks of every possible color. But the really typical items from this region are the Becal hats made from palm or “jipi”, in many shapes including round, tropical, Spanish, Texan, Indiana, and norteña, for both men and women.
If you have time to extend your stay, don’t miss the archaeological sites of Edzná and Calakmul, both with monumental structures of great beauty.
By: Violeta H. Cantarell
With information from Secretaría de Turismo de Campeche
Get to know one of the most and beautiful traditions in Campeche:
A film by Pegasus Family
Written & directed by Oliver Kyr
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