Well, some weeks ago we embarked on a road trip to spend a weekend in Campeche, Mexico. If you do not have much time, these are suggestions on what to see in Campeche in a couple of days.
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How to get to Campeche
We arrived by road from the city of Chetumal in Quintana Roo. The journey takes about 6 hours in normal conditions. And I say in normal conditions because we faced a blockade that stopped us for several hours
To top it off we had to go back to the town of Xpuhil and take another little known road. Of course, we had to spend the night in the town because it was too late to continue the journey. We stayed at the Calakmul hotel, which was economical, comfortable and with A/C that is so necessary in this region.
You can find frequent buses from the neighboring main cities such as Mérida and Villahermosa. The company where you can check the tickets is ADO.
You can also arrive by air from Mexico City. The Alberto Acuña Ongay International Airport or Campeche International Airport is located 9 km away from the city.
In Campeche we arrived in a relative’s house, but an ideal area to stay is the center. Staying in the center you’ll be close to all the attractions and can go for a walk at night.
On the map you will see accommodation options in and around the center.
What to see in Campeche in a weekend
Campeche is a city with a lot of history since it had a strategic position at the time of the conquest. It is also one of the few walled cities that exist in America and the only one in Mexico, so it’s worth get to know more about its history
These are some attractions that you must see in Campeche if you spend a weekend here.
The walls and bastions
One of the main attractions to see in Campeche are the walls and fortresses. These were built to defend the city from piracy between the 16th and 18th centuries. Currently part of this wall still exists and it’s possible to visit the bastions.
Near the market there are some Bulwarks and the Puerta de Tierra, a gate which was the main entrance to the walled city.
Take a walk through the Old Town to appreciate the colorful colonial buildings. In this area there are many souvenir shops, restaurants and museums that you can visit.
The central spot is the Independence Park where it is said that the city was founded in 1540 by Francisco de Montejo, el Mozo.
This is a very colorful and picturesque park with a kiosk in the center ideal for relaxing for a while. Right in front of this park is the Cathedral, a beautiful baroque building that attracts the attention.
If you walk through the center you will see buildings as interesting as the former temple of San José with its beautiful baroque facade with yellow and blue tiles very Portuguese style. The temple dates from the year 1716 and was built by the Jesuits. It is currently used for cultural events and exhibitions.
The Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral is a beautiful baroque architecture building with elements of the neoclassical. It was built between 1650 and 1760.
Inside, in the courtyard is the Museum of Sacred Art that was originally the chapel of Jesus Nazarene. The patio is a fresh and relaxing place to rest from a long walk.
At night the church lights up and looks even prettier. Also on weekends there is a light show in which the story of Campeche is told. unfortunately I missed it because it started to rain and we decided to go to the Mall to take refuge.?
In the center there are a few museums and cultural centers that you can see in Campeche while walking around the center. It doesn’t take long time to see them and the entrance fee is quite cheap
For example, I visited the House number 6 Cultural Center, which is a house with decoration and furniture from the colonial period. We can see how wealthy families lived between the 17th and 19th centuries.
Inside there is also a bookstore and a small souvenir shop.
The other museum I visited is known as Cultural Center “The Palace”, where the Museum of Fortifications, Commerce and Navigation is located
It is a very beautiful and interesting museum. There’s information about the most important ships and most famous corsairs of the piracy times.
There are several scale models about the traditional activities of local people and an exhibition of ancient weapons and clothing from different eras.
Be sure to see the model of a sectioned ship that illustrates how life was on board. It is also possible to book a guided tour at specific times when the interactive areas are working.
A place to relax and to see in Campeche is the Campeche Bay Boardwalk or Malecón. Here you can find several restaurants where to enjoy local delicacies, especially seafood dishes.
Here are the typical letters of the city to take a picture, as well as some areas to exercise and for families to spend a leisure moment.
If you stay longer there are other options to see in Campeche, for example you can do day trips to some nearest attractions.
One of them is Edzná archaeological zone, a Mayan site dating from the Classic period, which means that the site reached its peak between the years 400 to 1000 of our era. It can be easily reached by bus and the ride takes one hour with 15 minutes.
There are also some former colonial farms known as Haciendas which now function as inns and that also offer guided tours. In these places you can get an idea of what life was like at the time of the colony.
To the south there are many archeological sites that you can visit. It will not be easy to see them if you only spend a couple of days in Campeche, but you can take them into account for the next visit. Some important sites are Chicaná, Becán and Calakmul.
Where to eat
An advantage of Campeche is that there are several places to eat cheap and delicious. If you want specialties with seafood, you can go to one of the Malecon restaurants.
If you want more homey and typical Campeche food, the restaurants in the center are ideal. We ate at a restaurant called La Pagoda, which serves local dishes (tasty and cheap). Try the lime water (it is not the lime that in Mexico we know as lemon, but another citrus fruit) a different and refreshing drink.
If you prefer something different to Campeche food or fancy a coffee, you can also visit Galerias Mall. There you will find restaurants and cafes with international food.
The best time to visit Campeche is …
any, except the hellish summer … winter, since there is not so much heat and there is not so much rain. This city is surrounded by hills that cause heat or rainwater to be trapped (so it gets flooded frequently). I hope you don’t suffer any of these when you visit Campeche Mexico.
Some interesting celebrations that you can consider when planning your visit to Campeche are the Carnival and the St Francis fair. Carnival takes place between the months of February and March and is a cheerful festival. The St Francis fair is in honor to the patron of the city and takes place from October 1 to 15.
Shopping for souvenirs
In Campeche they make diverse handmade products that could be ideal as gifts or souvenirs.
They produce colorful hand-embroidered clothing typical of the region, as well as woven bags and hammocks. There are also handicraft in wood such as miniature boats and cooking utensils.
In the center you can find magnets, key chains, notebooks, postcards and some local preserves like sweets
But if you want to find the best prices and best products, seek away from the center or visit the local markets.
It might interest you Tips for buying travel souvenirs on the cheap
On the boardwalk we found a craft market with varied products and very good prices. I recommend you to take a look. It is called artisan bazaar Ah Kim Pech, near the Convention Center.
Conclusions on what to see in Campeche Mexico
Shopping for handicrafts ended our weekend in Campeche and we had to say goodbye, but with a promise to return. Especially because I really want to go touring the Mayan sites.
I hope my experience and recommendations of things to see in Campeche help you to plan your trip. There is much more to see, but on a weekend I could barely go through the places I mentioned and very briefly.
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Let me know your impressions or doubts in the comments section. Have you already visited Campeche? What essentials would you recommend to see in a couple of days?
Thanks for stopping by and bon voyage!