Campeche, a historic seaside town on the Gulf of Mexico, was our destination after our delicious lunch in Champoton.
The city of Campeche, technically named San Francisco de Campeche, was founded in 1540 by Spanish conquistadores on the site of the Maya city of Can Pech.
Campeche, the city, is in Campeche, the state. It’s best known for its historic city walls and fortifications built to protect the city from pirates and buccaneers. It earned status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Campeche, along with Quebec City in Canada, are two of the only walled cities in North America with most of their walls intact.
Timing is Everything
We live just a few hours from Campeche and have held off visiting as we knew this 13-day Mayan and Aztec Illuminations tour would be taking us there.
Unfortunately, our visit on this tour coincided with the celebration of Carnival. Trust us, we LOVE a good party. But, it was difficult to move around the waterfront with roads closed and a huge parade making its way down the infamous malćon.
We canceled dinner reservations at a waterfront seafood restaurant as we couldn’t get there. Even our bus had a difficult time getting to the hotel with the road closures.
Our Hotel in Campeche
Hotel Plaza Campeche, our hotel for our one night in Campeche, wasn’t our favorite.
From the beginning, we had an issue with the bellman yelling at our group to take their luggage when the tour had pre-paid for bell services to deliver all the luggage.
The rooms were comfortable, but with Carnival kicking off the night of our stay, a HUGE concert set up in a lot a few streets away, loud music could clearly be heard into the early morning. Living in Merida, we are used to the noise, so we slept well. We just wanted to point out what we observed.
Breakfast at the hotel was okay, nothing special. The best we can say is that it was conveniently located with a short walk to the Malecon, the city walls, and the historic and restaurant location.
P.S. – In looking at the current Gate 1 Travel itinerary for this trip, the hotel has been changed to one up along the malećon.
MOVE THAT BUS
After arriving at the hotel, our bus was scheduled to take us on a short driving tour. As we headed outside, we found out that the bus could not get down the street. There was parking on both sides of the street, and two cars opposite each other were parked too far from the curb.
So, in true Mexican fashion, several locals, a big guy coming from the gym, and our bus driver moved the cars by ‘bouncing’ them to the edge of the curb. Just enough to get through. ONLY in Mexico!
We made a quick stop at the Church of San Roman. It’s a local neighborhood church in one of Campeche’s original neighborhoods.
It’s a small, well-kept sanctuary that would be nothing special if not for the ebony Christ, carved in Italy and brought to Campeche in the 1540s.
It’s beautiful and worth a visit if you are in that part of town.
Roaming the Old City
After the failed attempt to navigate the old city and Malecon in a bus, we did a short walking tour.
Campeche is known for its pirate lore, colorful buildings, and delicious seafood.
We strolled the walled area of the city for a while before ducking off from the tour for some dinner.
After roaming the streets dotted with outdoor dining areas, we ended up at Restaurante Marganzo.
An ‘old school’ restaurant selling traditional dishes of the region and fresh Seafood.
Mark and one of our travel companions shared a delicious Seafood Platter for two. It included Stone Crab Claws, Prawns, Sea Bass, Calamari, Shrimp, and Octopus on a bed of Rice and sautéed veggies.
Chuck and our friend’s wife ordered Coconut Shrimp. They were crispy, sweet, and delicious. So much so that, apparently, neither one grabbed a photo! Jajaja
We decided to splurge and split a piece of Lemon Pie – it was awesome!
Strolling Back To The Hotel
As it was getting dark, we strolled back to the hotel. The city is pretty awesome at night.
Campeche is absolutely a city we will visit on our own. It is a little over a two-hour drive from Merida, and we think under different circumstances, we’d really enjoy exploring the city.
The next morning, we departed Campeche for a unique experience in the village of Pomuch and then on to the incredible archaeological site at Uxmal.