Campeche

The state of Campeche, Mexico is one of the three states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula and is nudged into its sister state of Yucatan on its north and northeast border and the other sister state of State of Quintana Roo on its east. On its west and northwest border is the Gulf of Mexico. Campeche is a relatively small state with approximately 690,000 inhabitants.

The state’s main attraction is its abundant natural heritage found in numerous Mayan archeological sites scattered across the state; in its ancient churches, temples, haciendas, and other construction; quaint fishing villages; and natural protected areas. Campeche has six nature preserves, including the popular Calakmul Biosphere and Laguna de Términos.

San Francisco de Campeche (aka Campeche City) is the state’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll have much to see and do here, including visiting 16th and 17th century churches, chapels, and other buildings; touring museums, exploring botanical gardens, and more. It’s also considered a great base from which to tour other nearby cities and attractions.

The Calkini Municipality is located 80 km northwest of Campeche City and here you’ll find interesting architecture, such as the baroque-style Parish of San Luis de Tolosa, and a beautiful main park adorned with animal figures sculpted from bushes.

Other nearby attractions include the Remate Spring, a refuge for wild and aquatic animals; souvenir shopping in Tepekan, which is famous for ceramics; and the Mayan archaeological site of Can-Mayab-Mul in Nunkiní.

Bolochen de Rejon is located 119 km from Campeche City. Here you can visit the interesting Xtacumbil Xunaan caves, believed to be once inhabited by the Mayans. The caves are known for their beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Ciudad del Carmen is situated in the southwest area of Carmen Island, and is surrounded by the Laguna de Términos, a protected environmental complex and a natural sanctuary for dolphin, tortoiseshell turtle and manatee breeding;

Ciudad del Carmen is known for some of the most beautiful beaches to be found in the state of Campeche, such as Bahamitas, Tortugueros, and of course the Terminos Lagoon. The city has a plethora of exciting tourist services and water activities to include kayaking, boating, and photo safaris excursions, trekking or mountain biking, horseback riding, and visiting archeological sites.

The town celebrates a couple of important festivals, such as the Feast of the Virgen del Carmen, held in July, and the Fair of the Guanal, held in August. If you are in the area during this time, be sure to join in the fun. And don’t forget to shop for souvenirs from a collection of Ciudad del Carmen’s handcrafted products uniquely made from fish scales!

Located between Sabancuy and Ciudad del Carmen, is the small fishing port of Aguada Island with its miles of unspoiled beaches. Here you can enjoy a quiet setting surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and "Laguna de Términos". Be sure to check the water for dolphins!

Sabancuy is a small fishing village about an hour north of Ciudad del Carmen. The town sits on the river delta and is pretty much an undiscovered tourism spot. In this town you’ll find the traditional Mexican church standing guard over the main plaza. Its river is ideal for fishing of numerous species and the area is a prime bird-watching site. The town boasts beautiful beaches, and there have been rumors of future tourist development in the area.

The fishing town of Champoton is situated 65 km from Campeche City and is famous for its 16th century battle between the Mayan and the Spanish troops, in which the Mayans won. The site of the battle is called the “Bay of the Bad Fight”. Here you’ll enjoy delicious, fresh seafood at beach-side restaurants.

Be sure to check out the Caves of Monte Bravo, located just outside the city, where rock formations have taken on some very interesting shapes.

Lerma is situated 8 km to the southeast of Campeche City and is home to the Nautical Club, organizer of the Copa Ah-Kim-Pech, held on the Coast of Campeche. Copa Ah-Kim-Pech is a sport competition and celebration for the national championship in boating.

There are a also few other attractions to keep you entertained in Lerma, including the Fort of San Luis, a national monument representing the forts efforts to prevent pirates from coming ashore and the fine-sand beach at Playa Bonita, where you can swim in its gentle surf and engage in other water activities.

In the first part of January each year, the town celebrates the Fiesta del Gallo y del Cochino aka the Feast of the Cock and the Pig, and you are welcome to take part in the festivities!

The Chicanna archaeological site is situated 44 km from Escarcega. Due to its size and rich construction of its buildings, it is considered a small elitist center for the rulers of the ancient regional capital at Becan.

Becan is located 16 km east of Chicanna and is home to the Becan archeological site, which was once an important walled political and military center. The name Becan, which in Yucatec Maya means trench, is aptly named, for the most important buildings of the site were surrounded by deep trenches filled with water that ran alongside the wall. There are seven entrances to the zone, each having its own bridge over the trench.

The Xpuhil archaeological zone is situated 12 km east of the Becan archeological site. The architectural style of it many buildings matches that of Becan and together with 30-some other archeological sites represent the style called Rio Bec.

The archaeological zone of Edzna is located 61 km southeast of Campeche City. It was a ceremonial center and one of the most interesting Mayan cities due to its progressive development of hydraulic works, drainage systems, and the creation of chultunes to catch rainwater.

In Calakmul is a Mayan archaeological site, located deep in the jungles of the greater Petén Basin of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and is one of the largest and most powerful cities ever uncovered in the ancient Mayan lowlands.

Also, within the Calakmul municipality, in the village of Miguel Colorado is a beautiful cenote filled with fresh water and surrounded by lush vegetation. If you’ve not seen a cenote, or even if you have, this is one to check out!

Located in the municipality of Hopelchén are several Mayan archaeological sites just waiting for you to explore. They include Chunan-Tunich, Dzibilnocac, Santa Rosa Xtampak, Hochob and Pak-Chén.

Also be sure to visit the nearby cave complexes of Chuncedro and Xtacumbilxuna’an. The Xtacumbilxuna’an grotto features an incredible light and sound show, combining technology with nature, and intertwining unique and beautiful images and sounds. Amazingly, visitors also enjoy concerts and unforgettable multimedia shows at the cave.

Spanish version of this page: Campeche

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