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Cities Campeche (Campeche)

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What once was a fishing Maya village „Ah Kim Pech“ became in the year 1531 a small colonial town of New Spain and an important port. Gold, silver and spices were transported from here to Europe. This fact was not unnoticed by the English and Dutch buccaneers. Many pirate attacks almost left the city in ruins until a huge wall with 8 bastions and two forts were built. The former city that is still surrounded by the old wall is now the most beautiful historical part of Campeche, protected by Unesco. Even thought todays Campeche has more than 200 000 inhabitants, the city conserves a tranquil, laid back atmosphere.
What here: The most spectacular houses can be found on the 59th street, that connects „Puerta del Mar“ with „Puerta de la Tierra“, Sea gate and Land gate, two originally only entrances to the walled city. The old walls still surround the major part of the historical town and there are 8 bastions that serve as museums or a botanic garden (very very little botanic garden!). Not far from the Sea gate is a main square with a cathedral and about 3 blocks out of the gate is the Golf sea with its waterfront promenade Malecón. Not good for swimming but excellent for a walk over the sunset! Both forts are located a little further from the old town (you need to take a bus from the market or take a cab for about 35 – 40 pesos). Northern „Fuerte San José“ houses a museum of port´s maritime history, the southern „Fuerte San Miguel“ has a great archaeological museum with findings from Calakmul, Edzná and other Maya sights in Campeche.

Seafood is a very common dish in Campeche. The local specialty is Pan de Cazón (tortilla cake filled with shark meat and tomato sauce). A very good place to try it is restaurant Marganzo, calle 8 between 57 and 59. One block from the main square.

Backpackers will be happy at Monkey Hostel (right at the main square overlooking the cathedral) or at Hostal del Pirata (Calle 59, číslo 47). But beware the private rooms with private bathroom at the Pirata. If you want your own private space choose rather Hotel Colonial on calle 14, # 122.

Hotel Santa Marina (calle 57, 31) is a good middle of the road option. Still a little bit rustic rooms, but a cortyard with sunbeds and all sea style. Price is very friendly and includes breakfast. If you don't like it, just cross the street and check Hotel Maya.

Hotel America Centro is my favorite. On calle 10, just two blocks from the main square this colonial hotel is full of style. Green inner patio and wide shadowy corridors are a great place to relax. The rooms are fine, some only with windows to the patio, others with balconies on the street (more light, noice and resh air) depends what you preffer. The price is about 50-60 USD for a double.

How to get here: By ADO buses from Cancun (7 hours), Mérida (2,5 hours), Palenque (6 hours) or Villahermosa (6 hours). The bus terminal is somewhat far from the historical center, you will need a cab. Campeche also has a small airport.