My kids inform me that Campeche is now their favorite place to visit from Mérida and while they absolutely can’t be trusted to make an informed judgment and then stick to it (last week it was Río Lagartos they loved, the week before that, it was Tekax…you get the picture) they are absolutely right that Campeche is a fabulous city to spend a weekend.
History Is Fun
How cool is it that a trip to Campeche basically offers your kids the chance to use a UNESCO World Heritage Site as their playground? We have been to Campeche a few times now and my kids never tire of heading to the Baluartes, or city walls. From the city walls, you have a great view of both the old and modern sections of the city and the kids will sure have an absolute blast running and exploring.
The pirate sound and light show (weekends at 8 pm) takes place at the Puerta de Tierra. This is the larger section of ramparts to explore. Note that there is also a small museum here but it’s currently closed. It should reopen in early 2020. My kids adore it up here, hiding in the small watchtowers and running. They even spent a good half hour making potions in a cauldron they found while we rested (win!).
Open Mon. – Fri. 8 am – 5 pm, Sat. – Sun. 9 am – 5 pm
Cost: $15 pesos per adult
To enter the Puerta de Mar go through the small and fascinating MABS museum.
I don’t know if this counts as relaxing but if the kids aren’t done running, take them to the Malecón (boardwalk) to see the Campeche letters and let them play around some more. If you need an actual playground, there is a decent one here. Or you could head to the beautiful botanical gardens (entry is $15 pesos) for a wind-down space. Another good option if you need to sit down and relax is the very informative train tour around the city. It leaves from the main square and tickets ($100 pesos for adults and $40 pesos for children) can be bought in Casa No 6.
Culture for Kids
What I love about Campeche’s museums is that they’re all small enough to be deemed acceptable to my kids, they’re fantastically interactive, and very informative. We learned so much about Campeche’s conquistador and pirate past.
El Palacio museum can be explored either as part of a tour (only in Spanish) or by yourself. If you go it alone you won’t get to enjoy the boat room experience, which my kids found quite amusing.
Open Tue. – Sun. 10 am – 7 pm
Cost: $10 pesos per adult unguided, $20 pesos guided.
MABS (Museo de la Arquitectura Maya Baluarte de la Soledad), apart from being an entry point for the ramparts, is also a cozy museum with some fascinating pieces including a Maya jade mask. There are desks with replica items to touch and analyze.
Open Tue. – Sun, 8 am – 5 pm
Cost: $45 pesos per adult
Casa No 6
It won’t take you long to look around this compact house on the main square and it may interest the kids to see how people used to live in Campeche.
Open Mon. – Fri. 8 am – 9 pm and Sat. – Sun. 9 am – 9 pm
Cost: $20 pesos per adult
Fuerte San José
A little way up a hill is the stunningly beautiful Fuerte San José with the six-roomed interactive Museo de Arquelogía Subacuática housed within it. You can climb up the fort and enjoy the view over the city.
Open Tue. – Sun. 9.30 am – 6 pm
Cost: $45 pesos per adult
If the kids can cope with staying up, on weekends, at 8 pm the city puts on a fabulous free video mapping show on the Parque Principal. After a day of sightseeing and running around, the kids will be begging to go to bed by the time this finishes at 8.30 pm (which is what we’re all aiming for, right?). If they’re not done yet, head to the next door plaza to check out the fountain display or stroll around town sculpture spotting.
Where to Eat and Stay
For a great priced Mexican meal, head to Olla de la Pagoda, (Calle 57 x 14 y 12). Cafe Luan is a good spot for a good hearty breakfast or snack in an eco-conscious cafe (Calle 59 x14 y 12). For really fabulous seafood, La Pigua (Av. Miguel Alemán 179-A) is a great pick.
Hotel Plaza Campeche (Calle 10) offers well-priced and comfortable rooms. If you’re after luxury, Hacienda Puerta Campeche (Calle 59 x16 y18) right next to the Puerta de Tierra has a good looking rooftop terrace.
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse for use in Yucatán Today
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