With cobblestone streets and pastel-hued homes, the fortified city of Campeche is one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s most picturesque colonial cities. Its walls were built to protect the town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from the ravages of pirates in the 17th century. Highlights include several forts, good museums, and a cathedral dating to the mid-16th century.
The best way to discover Campeche is on foot, with a stroll through the walled colonial zone and along the malecón (waterfront promenade). Must-see attractions include the cathedral, the old city gates, and Fuerte de San Miguel, a fortress–turned–archaeological museum.
Visit Campeche independently or as part of a sightseeing day trip from Mérida. Many Campeche tours include a stop at the artisan village of Bécal, about 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of Campeche, renowned for its hand-woven panama hats.
Things to Know Before You Go
- English is widely spoken in almost all of Campeche’s tourist areas.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as the best way to explore the town is on foot.
- Haciendas, hidden cenotes, and Maya ruins are all just a short drive away.
- Set aside some time to visit the artisan village of Bécal.
How to Get There
Campeche sits on the Gulf of Mexico, about 256 miles (312 kilometers) southwest of Cancun on the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula. The easiest way to get to Campeche is by bus from Mérida or Cancun. Or, if you’re driving, take Highway 180.
When to Get There
Campeche can be visited year-round and receives far fewer tourists than other popular resort destinations on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. From May to October, expect temperatures in the 90°sF (30°sC) with higher-than-average humidity and a chance of wet weather.
Campeche Maya Ruins
While in Campeche, set aside some time to explore the Edzná archaeological site. Located less than an hour southeast of the city, its well-preserved Maya ruins of platforms, temples, and palaces are representative of the Puuc architectural style. Edzná is believed to have been inhabited as early as 600 BC, though it didn't gain significant influence until around 400 AD. Noteworthy structures include the Great Pyramid and the Temple of the Masks.