Yucatan

Yucatan is paradise – #2: Campeche (Mexico)

The second part of our trip led us from Bacalar to Campeche, on the Gulf of Mexico.

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Driving from Bacalar to Campeche was not fun. We we were literally driving through the worst tropical storm I had ever seen (well it was the first tropical storm I had seen actually…). The road was pretty bad – it was a two-way road with many holes – and we could hardly see anything because of the heavy rain. We had initially planned to make a stop at Calakmul to visit the pyramid but the weather was so bad that it was totally impossible. So after a pretty aweful day on the raod, we finally made it to Campeche, on the other side of the peninsula. The sky was grey but the rain had finally stopped.

Campeche was a great place to stay at to explore the region. During our stay, we visited:

  • the beautiful colonial town of Campeche
  • the archeological site of Edzna
  • the archeological site of Uxmal
  • the beautiful hacienda of Uayamon.

1. Campeche

We stayed a few nights in Campeche. We enjoyed the pleasant and laid back atmosphere of the city. At night, you can have dinner at one of the many terraces of the main plaza and enjoy a beautiful view on the cathedral.

Campeche is a beautiful and colorful colonial city on the Gulf of Mexico, founded in 1540 by the Spanish conquistadors on the site of a Maya fishermen town. Unfortunately very little trace remains of the original Maya city. Large city walls and fortifications were built by the Spanish to protect the city from pirates and these walls are still visible today. As the city was a prosperous harbor exporting goods to Europe, it drew the pirates’ attention. The colonial city is very well preserved which explains why it is listed as aUNESCO World Heritage site.

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After a good night of sleep in this beautiful colonial city, we started exploring the region, on the footsteps of the Mayas!

2. Edzna

Going to Edzna meant going deeper into the jungle. As it had rained a lot the previous day because of the tropical storm, when I think back about Edzna, the first thing that comes to my mind is mosquitos! Even though we were covered with repellent, it did not stop them from being all over us. It made the visit not fun. We quickly visited the pyramid and left the site because the mosquitos were so annoyinng.

But other than that, Edzna was amazing! The pyramid is very well preserved and it definitely was worth the trip. If it had not rained that much the previous day, we would not have been bothered by mosquitos.

This Mayan site was probably built around 400 B.C. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, the site had long been abandoned. With a height of 40 meters, the five-level temple is amazing.

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3. Hacienda Uayamon

On the way back from Edzna to Campeche, we stopped at the beautiful hacienda Uayamon. The hacienda was built in the 18th century and has now become a luxury hotel. You can freely walk around this peaceful and beautiful site even if you are not staying at the hotel.

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4. Uxmal

The next day, the blue sky was back! We finished our stay in Campeche with the visit of the impressive site of Uxmal. If you should only visit two pyramids in Yucatan, these would have to be Chichen Itsa and then Uxmal. With a height of 35 meters, the incredibly well preserved pyramid of the Magician seems to strike out of the jungle.

Climb the nearby “Grand Pyramid” and the amazing view you will have on the Pyramid of the Magician and the surrounding jungle will leave you speechless.

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A few tips

  • The best way to climb a pyramid

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I had not thought about that before, but climbing a pyramid is not such an easy thing to do. The steps are very high and narrow and they will take you several meters high.

Needless to say that if you have fear of heights like me, it can become complicated. The worst part for me was going back down.

So the best way to climb a pyramid is not the one I did – I sat down and went down step by step, which took quite some time.

The best best is to walk in diagonal. In this way, your whole feet rest on the step. Once you have reached the end of the pyramid, you start a diagonal in the other direction.

Try to wear good shoes, so that you don’t twist your ankle.

  • Finding your way in Yucatan

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Finding your way in Yucatan is not easy. There are not many signs on the road – sometimes there are just none! – and your GPS probably won’t be of any help in the jungle! There will be times when you will reach a crossroads and there will be no sign to indicate which way to go!

You will therefore have to use more traditional ways. Have a good paper map handy! A map will never fail you.

If you are lost, do it “a la mexa”: Ask local people. This usually works pretty well. They will always be happy to help you. But be careful because Mexican people will always try to help you and to indicate a direction, even if they don’t have a clue where it is you want to go! So when they start saying “todo derecho” (straight ahead), it probably means that from this point they are not very sure. So ask again someone else when you reach this point…

Continue reading

  • Next stop: Merida. Click here to read the article.
  • All articles about this country: click here to see all articles about Mexico.
  • All articles about this trip: click here to read see all articles about this roadtrip around the Yucatan peninsula.

The global iterinary of our trip

Click on the markers for more details

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Yucatan is paradise – #1: from Cancun to Bacalar (Mexico) - La petite valise d'Aurélie 20 February 2016 at 17 h 35 min

    […] stop: Campeche. Click here to read the […]

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