The walled city of Campeche is a colorful and beautiful place to explore on the western edge of the Yucatan peninsula. Whether stopping in for a day or a week, there’s plenty of things to do in Campeche, Mexico.
The historic center of Campeche is even listed as one of Mexico’s UNESCO World Heritage Site as a shining example of a harbor town from the colonial period. Campeche’s fortifications surrounding the city, and the exemplary Spanish architecture are just some of the criteria for which the Unesco designation was made. (Read Campeche’s full Unesco description: here.)
It’s also for these reasons that Campeche makes for such an intriguing stopover to explore in Mexico.
So what’s there to do in Campeche. The following list is our top picks of best things to do in Campeche Mexico.
5) Explore Campeche’s Famous Fortified Walls
uring the 1600s Campeche had a big problem with marauding pirates. So the city spent about 50 years during the late 1600s erecting a massive 2-mile wall around the city. Much of the centuries-old wall is still intact today. So whether by car or on foot, be sure to come right into one of the entranceways to the walled portion of the city.
Once inside, you can find certain points of Campeche’s wall to access the top. You can then walk all across the walls while also taking in nice views of the city below on one side and Campeche’s waterfront on the other.
Exploring these historic walls is definitely a “must” thing to do in Campeche, if not for the walls themselves, but also for the views!
4) Visit All 7 of Campeche’s Baluartes
There are seven baluartes along the old wall of Campeche. These bastions on the wall have interiors in which today houses exhibits, gardens, and small museums. Each of the seven fortifications offers something different. The entire wall is about 2 miles, so you can spend a few hours or a half-day walking around the wall, stopping at each baluarte.
Some are free to enter. Others run from $10-$50 pesos to go inside.
It’s fun walking around the walled city to get to each of them to discover what was inside. They’re all certainly worth the walk and the modest entrance fees.
The Mayan Architecture museum housed in one of the baluartes was among the better of the exhibits. It provides a ton of interesting information and artifacts about nearby ruins, such as Uxmal and those found along the Ruta Puuc. Many ruins sites throughout the Yucatan tend to lack information unless you hire a personal guide. So this small museum is nice to explore to gain some additional knowledge about the ancient Maya, and piece the Mayan puzzle together a bit more.
3) Get Some Exercise Along the Campeche Malecón
As the sun starts to head for the horizon, the Campeche malecón (boardwalk) is the place to be. Campechanos come out to this beautiful waterfront promenade in droves during late afternoon and early evenings for a bit of exercise or just to enjoy life. There are both bike lanes and jogging lanes in addition to areas to simply stroll.
Weight resistance machines and other complimentary equipment are set up to have an impromptu workout session. Aerobics groups congregate as fast-tempo music is blasted for anyone to join. During our last visit, there was a flash mob of women all uniformly dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Whether partaking in the exercise or not, all the action on the malecon is a fantastic scene to enjoy in Campeche.
And while at the malecon, be sure to enjoy a grand sunset. Since Campeche’s waterfront faces the west side of the Yucatan peninsula, this affords great sunset views into the Gulf of Mexico.
2) Eat Seafood at Parador Gastronómico de Cocteleros
Walk as far north as you can on the malecón during the afternoon and you’ll eventually begin to pass local fishermen returning for the day and setting up impromptu fish markets to sell their daily catch. It’s no wonder that just beyond them is a group of about a dozen outdoor restaurants on the water.
As you stroll on by, each restaurant host will come out to (sometimes painstakingly) walk you through their menu offerings. Competition between these individually owned restaurants is fierce. We had offers of free margaritas and other goodies thrown at us if we were to simply dine with certain establishments.
Have a glance at what each of the menus has to offer and depending what you’re in the mood for, take your pick and be prepared to enjoy some of the freshest and best seafood you’ve ever had, all at pretty reasonable prices.
1) Wander Around this Beautiful Pastel City
The buildings in Campeche are painted beautiful pastel colors. You can walk for blocks upon blocks within the walled portion of the city and continue to come across the beautiful colonial architecture. This is really what the city is known for. Restaurants, cafes, churches, museums, park space, clothing stores and other shops dot the cityscape.
Walk around, pop in a store, stop for a coffee, and enjoy the pastel buildings that surround you every step of the way.
Simply walking around this vibrant city tops our list of things to do in Campeche Mexico!