Campeche is a small fortress town on the gulf coast of mexico. It is the capital of the state of Campache and was declared a world heritage site in 1997. The city was founded in 1540 as the Spanish began the conquest of the Yucatán Peninsula. The fort was an important shipping port and thus attacked by many a pirate, which led to substantial fortification of the city. Most of the forts and original buildings survived but only 500 metres (1,600 ft) of the original wall remains. (wiki)
The ride to Campeche was quite nice, glad that I took the day bus, so I could see the terrain along the way. I was wondering why, on the map, there were only a couple of very small towns and only villages in-between, seemed like it was open swamp land.
Well, shortly after we got out of Palenque, the climate turned hot and dry, and there was nothing but scrub brush… the entire way. We did stop a couple of times and believe the largest town was Escarcega, where it is possible to jump off and grab another bus straight across to Bacalar, or Chetumal.
We arrived early afternoon at the ADO central station, which is actually a bit of a walk (couple a miles) to the fortress walls. It was very hot, so I decided to grab a bus to the end of the road. From there, you just need to walk across the street to enter the city walls. The hostel I had chosen, RR Hostel, was quite close to the entrance.
I checked in and was actually a bit hesitant when I saw the accommodations. The mattress was a bit rough and the bathroom, like a cave…. small, dank and very dark. There were a total of 6 beds, I believe, cramped into a couple of rooms. Anyway, I had only checked in for two nights, so I would take a look around and decide what to do next.
I do remember now… before I left Palenque, someone had told me that one day is more than enough for Campeche, so, two nights would, most likely, be enough. After checking in, I went down to central part and took a stroll through the streets. Many of the buildings were beautiful and well preserved, especially near the center. As you stray further out towards the fortress walls, you start to notice that the fronts of the buildings are there, but nothing behind. The houses have actually collapsed, but the facade is still maintained.
By late afternoon, I had already walked most of the city. It was ever so quiet, save a couple of places near central park and the cathedral. Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral was very beautiful, with a small building on the side that had plants, crosses and a number of tombstones in the walls.
As the sun started to set, I headed to the water’s edge, to enjoy the sunset, but was a little surprised to find that there was no beach whatsoever. There was a boardwalk, Malecón de Campeche, that was nicely laid out with lanes for cyclists and walkers. I took a walk down to some huge Mexican flags, then back to a statue, where a large group had gathered to watch the sunset.
The sunset was quite nice. Large crowds had gathered around the CAMPECHE sign to take selfies, including myself! 🙂 After the sun wendt down, I headed back into town to find something to eat.
I stopped at Patroni’s Bar in a small walking street, Calle 59, that is lined with a number of restaurants and bars. It was a delicious burger, a bit expensive, but very good. I believe it was around $15 for the burger and a couple a coronas. It’s ok to splurge every once in a while! (I have been averaging $15 per day in Mexico, for food, accommodation, drinks, activities and transportation)
Well, by the end of the day, my legs were worn and I was quite tired. Throughout the day I’d seen the city and wasn’t quite sure what to do the following day. Anyway, I walked back to the hostel, had a quiet night, chatted with people staying there and went to bed.
In the morning, the owner of the hostel and I were talking over breakfast. It was interesting that he was a bit angry about some of the reviews people had left about his place. Interesting, in that I was thinking about the kind of review I would leave, after the terrible night of sleep I’d had the night before, the awful shower in the dark, with water up to my ankles, because the drain was stopped-up….. I definitely wasn’t happy and still had one night remaining, but didn’t really want to move after having already paid in full.
Well, spent most of the day walking the streets, enjoying the historical buildings and architecture. I did stop at a coffee shop, which was quite nice, and wrote in my blog for a while. It was quiet and the atmosphere was peaceful.
It gets quite hot in the afternoons, so I went back to the hostel for a siesta. In the evening, tried to find a little taco joint and found something near central park that had tostadas.
That night, I couldn’t sleep… again. The mosquitos were swirling and at some point around midnight, I started to itch over my entire body. Right around my waist it was itching terribly and I felt a tick embedded in my skin. It was dark… very late… and I really didn’t want to go down stairs, turn on a light and take a look, so I thought I’d just wait until morning. I continued to itch the entire night and didn’t really sleep. The next morning, the tick was gone. I believe I had scratched it off, because I could feel the head or pinchers in my skin and there was a large red area around where he bit me. I was still itching and had hives all over my body, so, after breakfast, I ran down to a pharmacy to grab some allergy medicine.
Quick Note…. I just read a Wiki article about Campeche and found out that the native name, “Ah-Kin-Pech” means “place of snakes and ticks.”
Anyway, It was morning and I was more than a little pissed off that I itched the entire night and didn’t sleep a wink. I packed up my things and left shortly after breakfast. Thought I’d just go down to where the owner of the hostel told me the Merida collectivo terminal would be
I took a city bus down to the front of the ADO station, then walked to where I was told it would be. I asked around and no one seemed to know what I was talking about (didn’t help that my Spanish is still terrible). It was blistering hot and I was… not in the mood, so I just went back to the ADO and asked about the next bus to Merida. They had one that was leaving within about a half an hour, only took two hours to get there and cost MXN$ 275 ($14)….. so, I booked it.