If you spend much time at Playas Palmeras, you’ll want to visit Campeche. This state capital remains one of the most authentic and beautiful colonial cities in Mexico today, and a Unesco World Heritage site.

As the largest city in the state, and the capital it’s also a great shopping destination should you need major supplies for your beach stay or artisanal crafts to take home to friends and family as gifts.

Campeche, which lies right on the Gulf of Mexico, was founded by the Spanish in 1541, who used it as a major port for the Yucatan Peninsula. Pirates attacked it repeatedly, however, until the Spanish enclosed the city center in fortified walls and bulwarks in the 18th century. The pirate theme remains alive in Campeche today. You’ll see it in everything from tee shirts to museum exhibits.

Shopping in Campeche

While Champotón is great for your day-to-day shopping, you’ll want to visit Campeche if you need larger items, or if you need a fix of American or European-style megastores.

Campeche has several American chain stores, including Sam’s Club, Office Depot, Blockbuster, Radio Shack and liverpool (mexico’s largest departament store chain). Campeche also has a Wal-mart and Applebee’s.

There is also a government-supported crafts shop in Campeche that offers a wide range of goods created by local craftsmen. Here you can find hammocks, hammock-strung lounge chairs, Panama hats, woven table mats and bowls, typical embroidered clothing, handbags, and other items.

We can give you directions to these and other stores if you wish to do a major shopping expedition in Campeche.

Sightseeing in Campeche

As a World Heritage city, Campeche’s sights and museums are well worth a visit all on their own. The city center, with its colorful, restored colonial buildings, is a must. It’s just eight blocks square, so it’s easy to walk. And no trip is complete without a brief stroll along the malecón, the palm tree-lined esplanade that runs along the sea wall that holds back the Gulf waters.

The Tourism Office is on the main square, between Calle 8 and Calle 10, next to the Cathedral. Here you can get a map of the city center and other information. On the same square you can get tickets for the trolley car for rides through the historic parts of town. You’ll probably see the trolley cars, one red and one green, parked in the square.

Campeche has set up a tourism website that provides loads of useful information on the city and state. It’s at www.campechetravel.com.

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