George’s Guide to Campeche, Campeche, Mexico

(Here’s a sneak peak at the section I have written about the city of Campeche that will be included in the 2010 Guide to Mexico published by Viva Travel Guides.)


Campeche, Campeche, Mexico

(Complete Contact Information at end of review)

Campeche is a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie set come to life: the 1,600 restored colonial buildings that line the city’s cobblestone streets paint an urban canvas in delicate shades of blue, yellow and pink. Campeche’s main tourist attraction is its historic defensive wall – 2,560 meters long (8,400 feet), 8 meters high (26 feet) and 3 meters thick (9 feet)  – which surrounds the Historic Center and once deterred such legendary pirates as Jean Lafitte and Francis Drake.

The city is capitalizing on this little known part of its history, with a pirate ship offering sailing tours on the Bay of Campeche, a hostel named del Pirata, nighttime “Legends and Ghosts” walking tours led by a costumed town crier, and a minor league baseball team called the Pirates.

While this marketing offensive might seem crass, don’t worry: Campeche was also named a World Heritage Site in 1999. Charming and relaxed, this is a small coastal city loaded with excellent museums, great places to stay and eat, and lots to do on both sea and sand. Best of all, it’s the gateway to some of Mexico’s finest Mayan ruins.

On March 22, 1517 Francisco Hernandez de Cordova came ashore and encountered the 1,200 year old town of Ah Kin Pech, which means Serpent Tick, a Mayan coastal trading center of 3,000 houses. For the next 23 years Mayan forces commanded by Moch Couoh successfully repelled Spanish attacks. In 1540 Francisco Montejo the Younger finally defeated the city and renamed it Villa de San Francisco de Campeche, in honor of his father, the founder of Mérida.

Ships sailed from Campeche to Spain laden with dyes, lumber, gold, and silver, and the city grew wealthy. It became a favorite target for European pirates, who repeatedly sacked the city. To defend itself, Campeche built an extensive network of walls, bastions and forts making it one of only two walled cities in the Spanish colonies.

These former bastions and forts have been renovated as museums. Nearby, a seaside promenade attracts joggers and bicyclists. Residents lounge in the shady plazas of the San Francisco, Guadalupe and San Román neighborhoods, where previously indigenous people, mestizos and mulattos were forced to live. Only the futuristic government buildings on Calle 8 disturb Campeche’s harmonious architecture: locals call them the “flying saucer” and “jukebox.”

Campeche is a city made for walking. When you climb the massive wall and look across the pastel city to the Gulf waters, it is easy to imagine a time when pirates coveted Campeche, its great wealth and leisurely colonial lifestyle.

Things to See and Do

Pirate-era walls, bastions and forts are the city’s main attractions. After seeing them, sip a coffee in the Main Square and play Campechan-style bingo on weekend nights. The sound and light show at Puerta de la Tierra is good for kids, as is listening to the ghost stories on the candle-lit Legends walking tour. To relax after a seafood dinner, take a walk on the waterfront Malecon or sit and watch the nightly Dancing Waters near the Main Square.

Plaza Principal (Plaza de la Independencia or Main Square) The Main Square has been the center of Campeche’s social life for almost five centuries and is surrounded by religious, private, commercial and academic buildings. The ceiling of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception resembles a ship’s ribbing because maritime carpenters built it. Casa Seis, a house-museum, recreates the daily life of a wealthy colonial family. A beautiful arcade lines Calle 10 and is filled with shops. The Campeche Library, built in 2003, sits on the north side.

Balluartes Unique among Mexican cities today, Campeche’s Historic Center is still surrounded by the remains of a 2,560 meter-long defensive wall. Eight bastions, or baluartes, were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries to protect the city, its citizens and riches from frequent attacks by French, English, Dutch and Portuguese pirates. Seven bastions and two gates remain standing today.

Named for the patron saint of sailors, Baluarte Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is the largest of Campeche’s bastions. Today, it houses the remarkable collection of the Museum of Mayan Stele. Protected by the Soledad and San Carlos bastions, the Puerta del Mar, or Sea Gate, was the city wall’s lone opening to the sea. One of the first bastions constructed, Baluarte San Carlos now houses the city museum. An armored knight on horseback greets you as you enter the exhibit. Protecting Campeche’s western wall, Baluarte Santa Rosa is named for the first American saint, St. Rose of Lima (Peru). Exhibitions of painting and folk art are held here. The smallest of Campeche’s bastions at 764 square meters, Baluarte de San Juan, protected the Puerta del Tierra. Outside, flying buttresses support the wall and a bell tower.

The Puerta de la Tierra was the main entrance to Campeche from the countryside. Built in 1732, this original fortification contains a museum of weaponry. The rebuilt Baluarte San Francisco was originally constructed between 1686 and 1690. It houses an auditorium and the Gustavo Martínez Alomia Library of archeology, history and anthropology. A tourist information center, Artisan Museum and El Polvorin Cultural Center today occupy Baluarte San Pedro. Completed in 1702 it formerly served as a prison. The hexagonal-shaped Baluarte Santiago was reconstructed in 1957. Contained within its walls is the Xmuch Haltun Botanical Garden and its 250 species of tropical plants.

ExTemplo de San José In 1756 the Jesuit order founded the Templo de San Jose – a clerical convent, church and school. The Jesuits were expelled from Spanish lands eleven years later and Franciscan priests took control of this property. Since 1860, the ExTemplo has been the home of the Instituto Campechano, a university that occupies the entire block. The former church, now a cultural space, is graced by a façade composed of beautiful blue and white tiles, and a tower that was Campeche’s lighthouse.

Museo Arqueológico de Campeche and Fuerte de San Miguel The Fuerte de San Miguel is one of two hilltop forts built to protect Campeche in the 18th century. Crowning San Bartolo hill, the fort possesses commanding views of the Gulf of Mexico. The defenses are formidable, with a zigzagging entrance passage leading to a wooden drawbridge over a deep moat, now covered by green grass. The fort houses the excellent Museo Arqueologico de Campeche, which contains the world-famous jade funerary masks discovered at the Mayan site of Calakmul, and other treasures.

Fuerte Museo San José del Alto Fuerte de San José/Museo Histórico Reducto San José El Alto “Armas y Minería (Fort of San Jose and Museum of Arms and Mining) Two monumental structures dominate Bellavista hill north of the Historic Center: the monument to Benito Juarez and Fuerte de San José.  The fort, a macho brother to Fuerte de San Miguel south of the city, was completed in 1792, and boasts a panoramic view. The two forts, city walls and bastions of Campeche represent the pinnacle of 18th century military architecture. The Museum of Arms and Mining located inside the fort displays ship’s models and weaponry used in New Spain.


Accomodations

For a city of its size, Campeche has a remarkable assortment of hotels from which to choose. The seafront Malecon is lined with modern hotels that feature views of the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. In the Historic Center, options range from three well-regarded hostels to reasonably priced small hotels and inns. Luxury accommodations are available, too, with the Hacienda Puerta Campeche leading the pack. Outside the city, the Hacienda Uayamon pampers guests in suites and villas tucked into exquisitely planted gardens.


Budget: Monkey Hostel Located on the second floor of a Main Square building, Monkey Hostel beats all the competition for prime location. Comfy chairs sit at the lounge window, which frames a postcard-perfect view of the cathedral. Climb a tiny spiral staircase to reach the inviting roof terrace where you can sit at café tables while enjoying the sunset over the colonial heart of the city.  Manager Alfredo is soft-spoken but runs a clean, perfectly tidy hostel that receives glowing reviews from backpackers.

Budget: Hostal La Parroquia When you walk into Hostal La Parroquia, located just one half block off the Main Square, the first thing you see opposite the reception desk is a ping pong table, which sets the mood for the laid-back vibe guests find here. Wide arched windows let in lots of light and fresh air to the accommodations. Clean bathrooms offer private enclosures for showers. In the garden you can see the remains of one of the lookout towers that predate Campeche’s baluartes and wall.

Budget: Hotel Posada del Angel The lobby at Hotel Posada del Angel is pretty simple but it’s clean, tile-floored and inviting, just like the plain rooms upstairs. They are painted in tones of cream and pale orange or turqoise, with simple wood bed frames, night tables and reading lamps above the beds. The second floor is graced by a narrow wrought iron balcony, which has a nice view of the cathedral. Travelers consider it a good value and the next step up from local hostels.

Budget: Hostal del Pirata Hostal del Pirata is a clean, well-cared for hostel with a special twist: it is decorated pirates, pirates, pirates. Overall, the hostel is a fun place to hang out with like-minded travelers, and take part in parties, karaoke and salsa classes. Separate sleeping rooms are available for men and women, and there are private rooms, too.  The location is convenient – right on Calle 59 between the Puertas de la Tierra and del Mar. The roof terrace gets high marks from everyone.

Midrange: Hotel America Campeche Of Campeche’s mid-range hotels near the Main Square, the Hotel America Campeche is one of the best choices. Breakfast is served on the sunny first floor patio, and the second floor features a wide veranda where you can sit and read or meet other travelers, mostly Mexican families, school groups and businessmen. Beds are quite comfortable, with padded headboards. The rooms facing busy Calle 10 can be noisy but come with little private balconies just perfect for watching impromptu parades.

Midrange: Hotel Plaza Colonial The little sister of higher-priced Hotel Plaza Campeche one block away, the Hotel Plaza Colonial has spacious, beautifully decorated rooms. Through sliding glass balcony doors on the upper floors there are nice views of the flying buttresses of the cathedral. Brand new bathrooms feature both shower and tub, with a movable magnifying mirror a helpful addition for the near-sighted.  Upscale amenities include an azure-colored swimming pool, and room service swiftly carried over by bellhops from the Hotel Plaza Campeche’s fine kitchen.

Midrange: Hotel Castelmar (GEORGE’S FAVORITE!) The battlements on the roof of Hotel Castelmar remind you that it started life as a 19th century army barracks. Rooms on the Calle 8 side have views of an immense mural on the federal building across the street. Rooms are kept cool by colorful original floor tiles and high ceilings. Modern showers with abundant hot water are a welcome feature. A plunge pool hides in a corner of the property and breakfast is served in the shady inner courtyard.

Midrange: Hotel Lopez Campeche The Hotel Lopez, with its vaguely Art Deco-style, khaki and cream façade, is Campeche’s best mid-price option and an amazing value. A wide marble lobby is an inviting place for guests to sit at cane-back easy chairs padded with elegant pillows with jungle designs. Guest rooms surround an open-air atrium filled with palm trees and tropical plants. The accommodations are nicely styled, with comfortable beds covered in new, striped bedspreads, modern art prints on the walls and reading lamps.

High: Hotel Francis Drake Tucked away on Calle 12 near the ExTemplo de San Jose and Baluarte Santa Rosa, Hotel Francis Drake honors the English pirate who terrorized this wealthy city.  Friendly, efficient staff members greet guests on arrival in an elegantly decorated lobby. Rooms feature fine linens, writing desks and minibars. Room service from the very good onsite restaurant, Balandra, is available for those who do not wish to leave their quarters. The Francis Drake is an excellent choice for travelers with a taste for boutique hotels.

High: Hacienda Puerta Campeche Downtown Campeche’s most luxurious accommodations are found at Hacienda Puerta Campeche, a member of Starwood Hotel’s Luxury Collection, located across Calle 59 from the Puerta de la Tierra. The grandest room is the Governor Suite, which has a view of the gardens and swimming pool, a bathroom finished in traditional Mayan “chukum” plaster with a separate shower and bathtub, and its own private terrace. Through the Fundacion Haciendas del Mundo Maya, the Puerta Campeche supports community development among the region’s indigenous people.

Special Category: Hacienda Uayamon Hacienda Uayamon is in a category all its own among Campeche accommodations, a Starwood luxury-class property on land granted to one of the Spanish conquistadors. Located between the city of Campeche and the popular Mayan ruins at Edzna, the hacienda’s former staff quarters and hospital were redesigned as guest rooms by Indonesian architect Jaya Ibrahim. Each sumptuously appointed suite opens onto its own private garden and plunge pool. The staff will set up a candlelit, romantic dinner for you in the hotel gardens, with cuisine prepared by chef Pilar Fosado.

Restaurants

When you visit Campeche you must taste its seafood, fresh from the Gulf of Mexico. Open-air stands on the Malecon serve up some of the best, including the city’s specialty, pan de cazon, or baby shark sandwich. Among Campeche’s best known and higher priced restaurants are La Pigua, Casa Vieja, and Marganzo. To eat for inexpensive prices with local people, try some of the smaller places, like the “comida rapida” fixed lunch spots or the stalls in the public market.

La Parroquia La Parroquia is a Campeche institution, open 24 hours daily serving the region’s take on Mexican food. La Parroquia is the kind of place travelers look for when they want to dine with locals and eat what they eat. There’s a reasonable fixed price lunch but many specialties fill the menu, like tamale of chicken and pork wrapped in a banana leaf (MX$36/US$3.60). The tangy sopa de lima (chicken soup flavored with lime) is a great start to any meal (MX$40/US$4).

La Pagoda Despite its Asian name, La Pagoda serves no-nonsense Mexican food in a converted colonial house. Almost all entrees cost 45-60 pesos and the menu features nine regular choices such as fried fish or chef’s salad. Four changing daily specials spice up the offerings – the Campechan favorite pan de cazon, or baby shark sandwich, is available on Fridays. Meals include soup and entree with rice, beans, enchilada, avocado, fried banana and tortillas. Refreshing pitchers of fruit-flavored water, including watermelon, quench your thirst.

Conchita Cervera Long into the night Mexican families fill the outdoor tables at four noisy “loncherias” under an arcade across from Bicentennial Park. They all serve fine, cheap food with Conchita Cervera being the particular favorite of many locals. The menu includes soups, sandwiches, tacos, and “platos fuertes,” which include entrée, rice and beans. Many different types of icy, blended fruit drinks help to beat the Campeche heat – the ones called “aguas” are made with water and those called “licuados” are prepared with milk.

Tortas Pekas If you are a meat eater and need a quick sandwich head to Tortas Pekas. It’s an outdoor sandwich stand frequented during the day by government workers, and at night by partiers from the Malecon’s many bars and nightclubs. Order a sandwich or two and lemonade then grab a spot at the counter or one of the patio tables. Nine different fillings make up the menu – chicken, combination and jamon claveteado (honey and clove spiced ham), which is a local favorite.

Restaurante Chacpel Not all of Campeche’s finest restaurants are located in the Historic Center or along the Malecon. Restaurante Chacpel, located north of downtown in the Valle del Sol area, is a relaxed spot where Campeche’s businessmen, their colleagues and families lunch in a spacious dining room. Cerviches and seafood salads make a nice appetizer course, with shrimp, conch and octopus among the options. Main courses include crab claws and steak stuffed with shrimp. Chacpel has a full bar and an equally full dessert list.

Cenaduria Los Portales An evening spent at Cenaduria Los Portales is the quintessential Campeche neighborhood dining experience. The backdrop is the picturesque arcade that surrounds Plaza San Francisco, beautifully illuminated at night. Choices include appetizers, soups, and small and baguette sandwiches. Try the turkey soup – it is delicious. Beverages include a fruit drink made with pineapple and chaya, a spinach-like vegetable native to the Yucatán Peninsula. Next door, Café Renacimiento extends coffee and dessert options with frappes and coconut, lemon, and chocolate cream pie, served at the same tables.

Nightlife

Sole Sole is one of Campeche’s favorite nightspots and is located across the street from the seaside promenade. Enjoy live music on the outdoor patio or head inside and indulge your inner Shakira with a tune from the Spanish and English karaoke song list. If you are hungry after your performance choose from an extensive menu, including the tasty and chewy arrachero steak. Sole is locally owned by the Gonza family, which also owns Marganzo and La Parroquia restaurants and Hostel del Parroquia.

La Iguana Azul If you want to hang with a lively nighttime crowd and don’t want to walk the few blocks to the Malecon discos then stop by La Iguana Azul. The nightclub can be found just a few steps around the corner from the Main Square. Action centers on the open-air courtyard where local musicians play all kinds of music, depending on the night, ranging from jazz to rock oldies. Lounge and sip tequila or dance the night away with new friends.

Shopping

Campeche has fine small artisan shops, some larger tourist-oriented craft stores and countless souvenir stands. La Casa de las Artesanias Tukulna offers the broadest selection of traditional craft items in Campeche. The colonial house Tukulna occupies is worth a visit on its own. The clothing store Wilma displays some of the finest linen and other natural fiber clothing for women and men. You can also choose from a wide variety of fabrics and Wilma’s seamstresses will whip up an original. Given Campeche’s distinguished maritime history it is no surprise that fine ship’s models are produced here: Artesania Tipica Naval is a family operation dating back to 1965. Campechanos have been trading goods in public markets here for 1,500 years. The public market on Circuito Baluartes is fun to visit and a place to bargain for souvenirs.



Tour Operators

As Campeche has grown as a tourist destination so have the services provided by tour operators. Hotel reception desks are littered with the brochures of agencies ready and willing to plan a boat ride on the Lorencillo pirate ship or a guided walk along the city’s bastions and fortified walls. When visiting the Mayan archeological sites of Edzna, Calakmul or those near Hopelchen, a guided tour is an especially smart choice, as they are not efficiently reached by public transportation.

Operadora Turística Edzna Edzna Tours is a well-respected tour operator in Campeche, and the sole local outlet for purchasing tickets from TicketBus. The company does a first class job of organizing guided day and overnight trips including Edzna (and its Sound and Light show), Colonial Campeche, Campeche at Night, Ruta Chenes (including Santa Rosa Xtampac, Hochob, Tabasqueño, Dzibilnocac), the beaches of Sabancuy, Calakmul, Balamkú and the Río Bec archeological zones; the nature sites of Hampolol and Bécal, and the artisans of Pomuch. (I have used Edzna to arrange tours with driver, car and guide and recommend them highly!)

Xtampak Xtampak offers guided tours ranging from four hours to four days, visiting just about everywhere on the Yucatán Peninsula. If you have only one day to visit sites outside the city of Campeche, try the tour that includes the ruins of Edzná, Ex-Hacienda San Luis Carpizo near Champoton and the beautiful beaches of Bahía Tortuga. Xtampak’s website is available in both English and Spanish which makes it easy to understand just what this tour operator, founded in 2000, has to offer.

Tour Guides

Campeche has many qualified licensed tour guides. Among them are three who combine excellent knowledge of the state’s Mayan, Spanish and Mexican history with friendliness and a commitment to providing visitors with a first-class experience. (I have engaged all three guides in the past and can recommend them without reservation!)

Eric Mendicutti Polanco: emobile2@hotmail.com

Alfredo Gonzalez Perez: kakbalam@hotmail.com

Hestor Becarra Escalante: hestor13@gmail.com

Campeche Logistical Information

Former Mayan name: Ah Kin Pech (Serpent Tick)

Modern city founded: October 4, 1540

Telephone Code: 981

Time: Central Standard Time or Central Daylight Time

City Website: http://municipiodecampeche.gob.mx/

State Website: http://camp.gob.mx

Altitude: 10 m (33 ft)

Population: (2005) City, 211,671. State, 754,730

Sister City: Halifax, Nova Scotia

State Economy: Oil production, tourism, export of timber and salt, agricultural products including corn and sugar

When to go

Climate: Hot and humid with a rainy season from June through October. May is the hottest month.

Average temperature: January: Low: 22 Celsius/73 Fahrenheit; High: 25 Celsius/78 Fahrenheit. July: Low 23 Celsius/75 Fahrenheit. High: 30 Celsius/86 Fahrenheit.

Holidays:

January 1: New Year’s Day

February 5: Constitution Day

March 15: Birthday of Benito Jaurez

June 1: Navy Day

September 16: Independence Day

November 20: Revolution Day

December 25: Christmas

Festivals:

Carnival (Mardi Gras): late January or February

Candelaria: February 2

Virgen del Carmen: July 15-30

San Joaquín: August 15-30

San Román: September 14-30

San Francisco: October 1-15

Getting to and away (regional transportation)

Airport: Alberto Acuña Ongay International Airport (CPE)

Address: Av. Lopez Portillo, off of Carretera Chiná-Campeche, Km 5.5

Tel: +52 (981) 823-4043, -4044

Airlines: Aeromexico, Mexicana

Car: A Mexican government website will create detailed driving instructions between any two points in the country (although it is available only in Spanish). http://aplicaciones4.sct.gob.mx/sibuac_internet/ControllerUI?action=cmdEscogeRuta

Driving North: Federal Highway 180 between Mérida and Campeche (192 km/119 miles, 2 hours), with connections there to Chichen Itza, Valladolid and Cancun (494 km/307 miles).

Driving South: Federal Highway 180 between Ciudad del Carmen (212 km/132 miles, 2 ½ hours (Via toll road MX$110/US$11), Villahermosa (450 km/280 miles, 5 ½ hours), and points west. At Champoton Highway 180 connects to Highway 261, which leads to Escarcega (150 km/93 miles, 2 hours). From Escarcega Highway 186 heads south to Palenque (366 km/227 miles) or east across the penisnula to Calakmul (360 km/224 miles), Xpujil (290 km/180 miles) and Chetumal (422 km/262 miles).

Driving East: Highway 261 runs east to Hopelchen (85 km/55 miles, one hour) from which you can head north to Uxmal or southeast to Xpujil  and Chetumal.

Bus: The most convenient source of information about all 1st class and some 2nd class buses is www.ticketbus.com.mx. Tickets can be purchased online by credit card also at Campeche’s Edzna Travel.  Most buses arrive and depart from the first-class station. Some 2nd class and economic class buses arrive and depart from the 2nd class station. Make sure that you ask which bus station is the one you need.

First Class Bus Station

Address: Av. Casa de Justicia and Av. Patricio Trueba de Regil (extension of Av. Central)

Tel: ADO: +52 (555) 133-2424

Toll-free (within Mexico): ADO: 01 (800) 702-8000

Web: ADO: http://www.ado.com.mx

Bus Lines: ADO, GL, UNO (+52 (999) 928-6230), ATS, SUR

Destinations: State of Campeche: Hopelchen (Sur: 13 daily, 6:00 am to 5:00 pm MX$47/US$4.70, 1 hour) Ciudad del Carmen (ADO, ATS, OCC: many daily, 12:30 am to 11:45 pm, MX$139-210/US$14-21, 3 – 3 ½ hours), Escarcega (ADO, ATS, OCC: 12 daily, 2:20 am to 11:45 pm, two hours, MX$89-120/US$9-12), Xpujil (Sur: 5:15 and 8:15 am, 6:30 and 10:00pm, MX$154/US$15, 5 hours. ADO: 12:00 pm, MX$222/US$22, 4 ½ hours).

Yucatán: Mérida (many via Highway 180, 1:10 am to 10:30 pm, MX$94-182/US$9-18, 2 ½ hours), Chichen Itza (connect in Mérida), Santa Elena/Uxmal/Mérida via Highway 261 (Sur, 6:00 and 9:15 am; 12:00, 2:30 and 5:00 pm, MX$98/US$9)

Quintana Roo: Chetumal (2nd class, 8:15 am, 10:00 pm, MX$220/US$22, 7 hours; also ADO, 12:00 pm, MX$316/US$32, 6 ½ hours), Cancún (many connections through Mérida, but one direct daily, ADO, 10:30 pm, MX$418/US$42, 6 ½ hours), Playa del Carmen (two daily: OCC, 3:00 am, MX$464/US$46, 8 hours; and ADO, 10:30 pm, MX$464/US$46, 8 hours), Tulum (connections through Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Chetumal)

Tabasco: Villahermosa (many, 12:10 am to 10:25 pm, about 8 hours, MX$446-684/US$45-68)

Chiapas: Palenque (ADO, OCC: 12:30, 2:20 and 11:00 am; 9:45 and 10:50 pm, MX$272-328/US$27-33, 4 ½ to 6 ½ hours), San Cristobal (ADO GL: 10:50 pm, MX$514/US$51, 10 hours; or travel to Palenque and connect there), Tuxtla Gutierrez (OCC, ADO: 12:55 and 1:20 am, 10:50 pm, MX$556-666/US$56-67, 10-11 hours)

National: Puebla (ADO: 4:00, 4:35, 9:00, 11:00 pm, MX$962-1,146/US$96-115, 14-15 hours), Veracruz (ADO: 8:10 pm, MX$692/US$69, 12 ½ hours), Mexico City (4:00, 4:35, 6:50, 10:26, 11:45 pm, MX$1,068-1,280/US$107-128, 17 hours)

Second Class Bus Station: Av. Gobernadores and Calle 45, Col. Santa Ana

Getting around (local transportation, buses, taxis, car rental)

Walking: Even numbered streets run parallel to the Malecon. Odd numbered streets run inland.

Bicycle: Rent at Monkey Hostel

Buses: MX$5/US$.50, depart from Circuito Baluartes near the Baluarte de San Pedro and the public market. Signs in the front window display the destinations.

City Bus Tour: Tranvia (Street Car) daily, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, Main Square, M$70/US$7. Several different tours, 45 minutes each, including one that visits the San Miguel and San Jose Forts.

Taxis: Taxi stand on Circuito Baluartes near the Puerta del Mar parking lot. Taxis within Historic Center: MX$30/US$3, more at night. Taxi from airport: about MX$80/US$8, 15 minutes

Shared vans: Colectivos, or combis, are mini-vans that travel a particular route, transporting passengers for a few pesos. The final destination should be on a sign in the front window, or you can wave one down and ask where it’s headed. Most depart from Circuito Baluartes near the Baluarte de San Pedro and the public market.

Car rental: many, including Europcar

Address: At the airport

Tel: +52 (981) 152-1163

Web: http://www.europcar.com.mx

Parking: Limited street parking in Historic Center, parking lot near Historic Center on Circuito Baluartes outside the Puerta del Mar at Calle 59

Safety

Tourist Police: None

Police: 060, +52 (981) 816-3635

Ambulance: 065

Fire Department: 066

Red Cross: +52 (981) 815-2376, -2411

Green Angels (Emergency Road Service): 078

Tourism Offices

Municipal Tourist Office:

Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm

Location: Calle 57 No. 3, between Calles 8 and 10 (on the Main Square next to the cathedral)

Tel: +52 (981) 811-3989

Website: http://www.ayuntamientodecampeche.gob.mx

Services: maps, brochures, guided tours, scale model of the Historic Center

Additional Information: Students staff the office, like the charming and polite Guillermo Solub, who speaks English.

Main State Tourism Office:

Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Address: Av. Ruiz Cortines, Plaza Moch Couoh, Col. Centro

Tel: (Toll-free,México): 01 (800) 226-7324

Tel: (Toll free, USA and Canada): 01 (800) 536-5616

Tel: + 52 (981) 127-3520 and + 52 (981) 127-3300

Email: turismo@campeche.gob.mx

Website: http://www.campeche.travel/en/

What’s going on: http://www.culturacampeche.com/ and click on “Cartelera” to see a calendar of upcoming events.

Services

Money:

Banks: Many branches and ATMs. On the Main Square: Banorte, at the corner of Calles 10 and 57. HSBC Calle 10, between Calles 55 and 57

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Saturday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Sunday, closed

Money Exchange: many in Historic Center

Travelers’ checks: accepted at some hotels, restaurants and shops, or cashed at banks and money exchanges with proper identification.

Communications:

Post Office:

Address: in the Federal Building, at Avenida 16 de Septiembre and Calle 53, near the Baluarte de Santiago

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm

Tel: +52 (981) 816-2134

Phone: On many street corners there are telephones that accept either coins or phone cards, which can be purchased at OXXO and other convenience stores.

Long distance: Intertel

Address: Calle 57 No 1 between 10 and 12

Internet: many in the Historic Center, including Ciber Chat

Address: Corner of Calles 59 and 12

Laundry: La Antigua

Address: Calle 57, between Calles 12 and 14

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Medical:

Hospitals: La Clinica Campeche

Address: Av. Central No. 65, between Trujano and Querétaro,  Col. Santa Ana, near the Mega Comercial Mexicana

Hours: Daily, 24 hours

Tel: +52 (981) 816-5612

Email: available through website

Web: http://www.clinicacampeche.com/

Additional Information: 24 hour pharmacy

Doctors:

Name: Grupo Medico del Golfo

Tel: +52 (981) 108-9136

Additional Information: will come to hotels

Name: Dr. Ortiz

Tel: +52 (981) 819-9615

Additional Information: speaks English

Pharmacies:

Name: Farmacia Canto

Address: Calle 10 No. 252, Historic Center

Tel: +52 (981) 816-4100

Dentists: Ask at hotel front desk

Consulates: None. Many in Mérida and Cancun

Mexican Immigration (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores):

Address: Federal Building, Avenida 16 de Septiembre and Calle 53, First Floor, Room 2, Historic Center

Hours: 08:00 a 15:00 Hrs.

Tel: +52 (981) 811-3524, -1708

Fax: +52 (981) 811-3524, -1708

Email: available through website

Web: http://portal3.sre.gob.mx/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=14

Gas Station: Pemex stations located throughout the city, including at Baluarte San Juan and Calle 16

Luggage Storage: at the first class bus station. 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, MX$5-12/US$.50-1.20 per hour, depending on size of luggage

Things to See and Do

Sound and Light Show (The Place of the Sun): Friday, Saturday and Tuesday, 8:00 pm. Puerta de la Tierra. Translated into 5 languages.

Legends Tour (Recorrido de las Leyendas): Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 pm. 45 minutes. Meet at Puerta del Mar. MX$25/US$2.50 per person

Dancing Waters: Daily, 7:00 to 10:00 pm, Calle 8, between Calles 53 and 55. Free.

Plaza Principal (Plaza de la Independencia or Main Square)

Location: Intersection of Calles 8, 10, 55 and 57

Hours of Operation: Daily, 24 hours

Admission: none

Parking: limited street parking

Services: café, shoeshine stands, snack carts

Additional information: free Wifi

Balluartes

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, unless otherwise noted

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad: Across Calle 8 from the Main Square. MX$31/US$3.10

Puerta de la Mar: Calle 8 and 59

Baluarte San Carlos: Calles 8, between Calles 63 and 65. MX$25/US$2.50

Santa Rosa: Circuito Baluartes and Calle 14.

Baluarte San Francisco: Calle 18 and Circuito Baluartes. (MX$20/US$2-includes San Jaun)

Puerta de la Tierra: Calles 59 and 18.

Baluarte San Juan: Calle 18 and Circuito Baluartes. (MX$20/US$2-includes San Francisco)

Baluarte San Pedro: Calle 49 and Circuito Baluartes. Daily, 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Baluarte Santiago: Calle 8 and Circuito Baluartes. Daily, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Guided tours. MX$10/US$1

ExTemplo de San José

Hours of Operation: Daily

Admission: Various

Services: academic degrees, theater, art gallery, radio station, library, bookstore, cafe

Tel: +52 (981) 816-6056

Email: available through website

Website: http://www.icenlinea.com

Parking: limited street parking

Additional information:

Museo Arqueológico de Campeche and Fuerte de San Miguel

Location: Av. Escéncia, four km south of the Main Square, between Campeche and Lerma, 24020

How to Get There: By car, drive south on the Malecon, which becomes Av. Resurgimiento. Turn left uphill onto Subida Escéncia and left again onto Av. Escéncia. By bus, take the Playa Bonita or Lerma bus along the Malecon and ask to get off at the fort (prepare yourself for a steep 700 meter hike uphill).

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm

Admission: MX$37/US$3.70. Free for children under 13, students, teachers and senior citizens

Payment: Cash

Tel: +52 (981) 821-0973

Fax:

Email: inah@campeche.sureste.com

Website: http://www.sic.gob.mx/ficha.php?table=museo&table_id=739 (Spanish only)

Parking: Free parking

Services: restrooms, guidebooks, guided tours

Additional information: additional fee for using video camera

Fuerte Museo San José del Alto

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm

Admission: MX$31/US$3.10. Free for children under 13, students, teachers and senior citizens

Payment: Cash

Tel: +52 (981) 819-0237

Fax:

Email: inah@campeche.sureste.com

Website: none

Parking: free parking

Services: restrooms, guidebooks, guided tours

Additional information:

Shopping

Shopping: La Casa de las Artesanias Tukulna

Specialty: ceramics, bulls’ horns, seashells, embroidery, hammocks, clothing, Panama hats

Address: Calle 10 No. 333, between Calles 59 and 61, Historic Center

Hours of Operation: Monday to Saturday, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. Sunday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Tel: +52 (981) 816-9088

Fax: +52 (981) 816-9088

Email: tukulna@campeche.sureste.com

Web: http://www.tukulna.com

Payment: Visa, MasterCard, Cash

Shopping: Wilma

Specialty: women’s and men’s linen clothing

Address: Calle 59, No. 60, between Calles 16 and 18, Historic Center

Hours of Operation: Daily, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5:00 to 8 pm

Tel: +52 (981) 6-4326

Additional information: Owner, Wilma Koyoc de Ruiz

Shopping: Artesania Tipica Naval

Specialty: naval models

Address: Calle 8, No. 259, between Calles 57 and 59, Historic Center

Hours of Operation: Daily

Tel: +52 (981) 816-5708

Additional information: Founder, David Perez Noceda

Shopping: Public Market

Specialty: souvenirs, crafts, clothing, food

Address: Circuito Baluartes, between Calles 51 and 53, Col. Santa Ana

Hours of Operation: Daily

Tour Operators

Operadora Turística Edzna

Tours: Many

Prices: Price varies by tour

Payment: Visa, MasterCard, Cash

Address: Av. Miguel Aleman at the corner of Calle 49-C, Col. Guadalupe, 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 816-5692, -5492

Fax: +52 (981) 811-7896

Email: aurea@edzna.com.mx

Web: http://www.edzna.com.mx

Additional information: national and international packages, airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rental

Xtampak

Tours: Many

Prices: MX$180-3,500/US$18-350

Payment: MasterCard, Visa, Cash

Address: Calle 57 No. 14, Suite 3, between Calles 10 and 12 (San Marcos Building), Col. Centro. 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 811-6473 or 812-8655

Tel (Toll Free Mexico): 01-800-822-6837, 24 hours

Fax:

Email: tours@xtampak.com

Web: www.xtampak.com

Additional information: Car rental (with or without driver), bilingual guide service, hotel and restaurants reservations, camping, speedboat tours

Tour Guides

Eric Mendicutti Polanco: emobile2@hotmail.com

Alfredo Gonzalez Perez: kakbalam@hotmail.com

Hestor Becarra Escalante: hestor13@gmail.com

Accommodations

Budget: Monkey Hostel

Address: Calle 57 No. 6 on the corner of Calle 10, Main Square

Tel: +52 (981) 811-6500 and -6605

Toll free (Mexico): 01-800-226-732-43

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax:

Email: info@hostalcampeche.com

Web: http://www.hostalcampeche.com/

Accommodations: # of Rooms:

Prices: Dorm, $US100. Double, MX$240/US$24. Triple, MX$330/US$33

Payment: Visa, MasterCard, Cash

Services: Banorte ATM across street, 24 hour reception, travel agency, luggage storage, no curfew, no parking, street parking only, linens included, towels included, community kitchen, breakfast included, child-friendly, laundry service, free Wifi, lounge/common area, pets allowed, book exchange, bike rental, budget category/very cheap.

Budget: Hostal La Parroquia

Address: Calle 55 No. 8, between Calles 10 and 12, Historic Center, 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 816-2530

Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax: +52 (981) 816-6063

Email: info@hostalparroquia.com

Web: http://www.hostalparroquia.com/contacto.php

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 38 beds in 6 rooms (private, men’s, women’s, mixed)

Prices: Dorm 95, Double 320, Quad 350

Payment: MasterCard, Visa, Cash

Services: shared baths, safe in reception, luggage storage (MX$20/US$2), no curfew, street parking only, linens included, non-smoking building, 24 hour restaurant next door, breakfast included, 24 hour hot water, child friendly, laundry room, ceiling fans, free Wifi, lounge/common area, pets allowed, book exchange, telephone, fax, discounts at restaurants La Parroquia, Marganzo and Sole, tourist information, tours

Budget: Hotel Posada del Angel

Address: Calle 10 No. 307

Tel: +52 (981) 816-7718

Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax: none

Email: none

Web: none

Accommodations: # of Rooms:

Prices: With ceiling fan: Single, MX$309/US$31. Double, MX$345/US$35. Triple, MX$380/US$38. Quad, MX$417/US$42. With AC: Single, MX$393/US$39. Double, MX$428/US$43. Triple, MX$464/US$46. Quad, MX$500/US$50. Additional person, MX$36/US/$3.60

Payment: Cash

Services: Check in, early if room available. Check out, 1:00pm. Safe in reception, luggage storage, street parking only, linens included, 24 hour hot water, child-friendly, AC, no internet, lounge/common area, no pets allowed, Budget

Budget: Hostal del Pirata

Address: Calle 59 No. 14, between Calles 14 and 16, Historic Center, 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 811-1757

Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax:

Email: piratehostel@hotmail.com

Web: http://usuarios.multimania.es/piratehostel/

Accommodations: # of Rooms: men’s and women’s dorms, private rooms on 3 levels

Prices: Dorm, MX$85/US$8.50, Private, MX$110/US$11 per person

Payment: Cash

Services: breakfast included, salsa classes, bike rental, linens included, bar, cafeteria, roof terrace, luggage storage, street parking only, linens included, 24 hour hot water, lounge/common area

Midrange: Hotel America Campeche

Address: Calle 10 No. 252, between Calles 59 and 61. Historic Center, 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 816-4588 or 816-4576Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax: +52 (981) 811-0556

Email: info@hotelamericacampeche.com or reservaciones@hotelamericacampeche.com

Web: http://www.hotelamericacampeche.com

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 48

Prices: Single, MX$560/US$56. Double, MX$623/US$62, Triple, MX$694/69

Additional person, MX$50/US$5 (Taxes Included)

Payment: MasterCard, Visa, Cash

Services: Mid-range, 24 hr reception, safe in reception, luggage storage, fee parking, non-smoking rooms, linens included, breakfast included 7:00 to 10:30 am, 24 hour hot water, some wheelchair accessible rooms, child friendly, wake up call, air conditioning, ceiling fan, free Wifi, 2 free computers in lobby, lounge/common area, purified water, color TV, Sky cable, telephone, hot water, 25-person meeting room, other meals with reservation, free private parking, city map, English spoken, special package promotions, meet other travelers, family friendly, mid-range, no pets allowed

Midrange: Hotel Plaza Colonial

Address: Calle 10, No. 15, between Circuito Baluartes and Calle 51, Historic Center, 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 811-9930

Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax:

Email: reservaciones@hotelplazacolonial.com

Web: hotelplazacolonial.com

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 41

Prices: Single/Double, MX$728/US$73. Junior, MX$856/US$86, Additional person, MX$127/US$13

Payment: Amex, Visa, MasterCard, Cash

Services: check in, 2:00 pm. Check out, 12:00 pm. 24 hour reception, safe in room, luggage storage, 1 wheelchair accessible room, room service, child-friendly, wake up call, laundry service, AC, free Wifi, lounge/common area, outdoor pool, meeting room, business center, swimming pool, free parking, laundry services, no pets allowed, mid-range

Midrange: Hotel Castelmar

Address: Calle 61 No. 2 at the corner of Calle 8, Historic Center

Tel: +52 (981) 811-1204 or -1205

Toll free (Mexico): 01 (800) 010-1515

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax: +52 (981-297-6826

Email: sales@castelmarhotel.com

Web: http://www.castelmarhotel.com/castelmar/intro.htm

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 24

Prices: Single, US$75. Double, US$85. Junior Suite, US$105. Extra person, US$10. Taxes included

Payment: Amex, Visa, MasterCard, Cash

Services: double beds, AC, telephone, satellite TV, free Wifi, ceiling fan, alarm clock, 24 hour hot water, 24 hr reception, safe in reception, luggage storage, linens included, breakfast includedchild friendly, wake up call, English spoken, meet other travelers, family friendly, mid-range

Midrange: Hotel Lopez Campeche

Address: Calle 12 No. 189, between Calles X and X, Historic Center, 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 815-3344

Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax: +52 (981) 815-3344

Email: reservaciones@hotellopezcampeche.com

Web: hotellopezcampeche.com

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 50

Prices: Single/Double, MX$540/US$54. Triple, MX$590/US$59. Quad, MX$720/US$72

Payment: MasterCard, Visa, Cash

Services: 24 hour reception, safe in room, luggage storage, free parking, linens included, cafeteria 6:30 am to 10:30 pm, 24 hour hot water, wheelchair accessible first floor rooms, child-friendly, wake-up call, laundry service, minisplit AC, free Wifi, lounge/common area, outdoor pool, cable TV, Mid-Range

High: Hotel Francis Drake

Address: Calle 12, No. 7, between Calles 63 and 65, Historic Center, 24000

Tel: +52 (981) 811-5526, -5627, -5628

Toll free (Mexico): 01 800 HFDRAKE

Toll free (US and Canada):

Fax:

Email: reservaciones@hotelfrancisdrake.com

Web: hotelfrancisdrake.com

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 24

Prices: Single, MX$715/US$72. Double/Triple, MX$825/US$83. Quad, MX950/US$95

Payment: Visa, American Express, Cash

Services: 24 hour reception, safe in reception, luggage storage, free parking, linens included, non-smoking rooms, restaurant, room service, 24 hour hot water, child-friendly, laundry service, AC, free Wifi in lobby, lounge/common area, cable TV, AC, minibar, free Wifi in lobby and some rooms, lounge/common area, business center, gift shop/drugstore, no pets allowed

High: Hacienda Puerta Campeche

Address: Calle 59 No. 71, between Calles 16 and 18

Tel: +52 (981) 816-7508

Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada): 1-800-325-3589

Fax: +52 (999) 923-7963

Email: puertacampeche@thehaciendas.com

Web: haciendasmexico.com

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 17 rooms and suites (Junior, Deluxe, Governor)

Prices: US$305 to 655

Payment: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Cash

Services: Check in, 3:00 pm. Check out, 12:00 pm. 24-hour reception, luggage storage, free parking, linens included, 24-hour hot water, AC, ceiling fan, safe in room, telephone, bathrobes, mini bar, free Wifi, nightly turn-down service, outdoor pool, spa, lounge/common area restaurant, bar, room service, laundry service, meeting facilities, wheelchair accessible, nonsmoking rooms

Additional Information: read about its philanthropic efforts at www.haciendasmundomaya.com

Special Category: Hacienda Uayamon

Address: Carretera China-Edzna-Uayamon, Km 20, Uayamon, 24530

Tel: +52 (981) 813-0530

Toll free (Mexico):

Toll free (US and Canada): 1-800-325-3589

Fax: +52 (981) 813-0530

Email: reservations1@thehaciendas.com

Web: haciendasmexico.com

Accommodations: # of Rooms: 12

Prices: US$385 to US$655. Taxes not included

Payment: Amex, Visa, MasterCard, Cash

Services: AC, ceiling fan, king or 2 twin beds, safe in room, telephone, shower and bath in villas, bathrobes, private terraces, mini bar, color TV, Satellite cable, nightly turndown service, mountain bikes, outdoor pool, games, library, child care, spa, business services, laundry service, restaurant, bar, breakfast included, room service wheelchair accessible, meeting facilities, nonsmoking rooms, flowers and complimentary fruit platter in room at arrival, mini sound systems, excursion baskets with hand towels, tissues and repellent

Additional Information: read about its philanthropic efforts at www.haciendasmundomaya.com

Restaurants

La Pigua: Av. Miguel Aleman No. 179A

Casa Vieja: Calle 10 No. 319 (Main Square)

Marganzo: Calle 8 No. 267

La Parroquia

Address: Calle 55, No. 9, between Calles 10 & 12

Hours of Operation: Open 24 Hours

Tel: +52 (981) 816-8086

Email: INFO@MARGANZO.COM

Web: http://www.marganzo.com/

Prices: MX$40/US$4 – MX$120/US$12

Payment: Visa, MC, Cash only

Services: Restrooms

Additional Information: owned by the same family that runs Hostal La Parroquia, Marganzo restaurant and Sole nightclub

La Pagoda

Address: Calle 57 No. 13, between Calles 12 and 14

Hours of Operation:

Tel: +52 (981) 816-2570

Email:

Web:

Prices: MX$45-60/US$4.50-6 (daily fixed-price menu)

Payment: Cash

Services: Regional Mexican, street parking, 80 seats in about 5 connected rooms, no frills, no dress code, interesting carved wood transom over front window, budget

Conchita Cervera

Address: Intersection of Calle 10 and Circuito Baluartes, under the arcade across from Bicentennial Park

Hours of Operation:

Tel:

Email:

Web:

Prices: MX$30/US$3 – MX$60/US$6

Payment: Visa, Amex, MC, Cash only.

Services: restrooms

Tortas Pekas

Address: Av. 16 de Septiembre (Circuito Baluartes), across from the Puerto del Mar parking lot

Hours of Operation: open early morning until 12 midnight

Tel: none

Email: none

Web: none

Prices: MX$12/US$1.20 – MX$23/US$2.30

Payment: Cash only

Services: none

Restaurante Chacpel

Address: Av. Lazaro Cardenas No. 8, between Calles Marte and Nebla. Fracc. Valle del Sol (three blocks from the Bugambillas traffic circle)

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Tel: +52 (981) 813-1071

Email: none

Web: none

Prices: MX$50/US$5 – MX$250/US$25

Payment: Visa, MasterCard, Cash

Services: restaurant, bar, restrooms, parking, banquet rooms

Cenaduria Los Portales

Address: Calle 10 # 86, beneath the San Francisco arcade, Colonia San Francisco

Hours of Operation: Daily, 6:00 pm to 12:00 midnight

Tel: +52 (981) 811-1491

Email: none

Web: none

Prices: MX$30/US$3 – MX$50/US$5

Payment: Cash only.

Services: can accommodate banquets of up to 500 people in the outdoor plaza

Nightlife

Sole

Address: on the Malecon

Hours of Operation: 6:00 pm to 3:00 am

Tel: +52 (981) 811-5357

Email: None available

Web: None available

Prices: MX$20/US$2 – MX$20/US$150

Payment: Visa, MC, Cash

Services: bar, restaurant, music, video, karaoke, outdoor dining

La Iguana Azul

Address: Calle 55 # 11 between Calles 10 and 12

Hours of Operation: Monday to Saturday, 6:00 pm to 2:00 am

Tel: +52 (981) 816-3978

Email: None available

Web: None available

Prices: MX$20/US$2 – MX$150/US$15

Payment: Visa, MC, Cash only.

Services: bar, restaurant, live music, dance floor, restrooms

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