By Dan and Lisa Goy from the August 2016 Edition
Heading southbound on Hwy 180 from Isla Aguada, our next stop was Campeche, Campeche, situated on the Gulf of Mexico. Headed for the Echo Villas Kin Ha Resort on Siglo XXI listed in the Church’s Mexico Camping Book.
We parked the RVs across the street from main resort. Lots of room for the six of us, access to electricity, water and Wi-Fi, even a clean pool, which was fun.
The office nearby even had a washroom and shower, which came in handy. We spent three days here (January 21, 22 and 23) and at $250 pesos a night, a very reasonable price. Laundry and groceries were just up the street and we were only a 20-minute drive from the City Centre.
Prior to arriving in Campeche, we had really never known much about the city. It was founded in 1540 by Spanish conquista-dores as San Francisco de Campeche atop the pre-existing Maya city of Can Pech. The Pre-Columbian city was described as having 3,000 houses and various monuments. Unfortunately little trace remains.
The city does retain many of the old colonial Spanish city walls and fortifications that protected it (not always successfully) from pirates and buccaneers. The state of preservation and quality of its architecture earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Originally, the Spaniards lived inside the walled city, while the natives lived in the surrounding barrios of San Francisco, Guadalupe and San Román. These barrios still retain their original churches; the one in Guadalupe is almost 500 years old.
The most significant features of this city was the fortifications, zocalo, barrios. Our bus tour was worth every peso, a great way to get an overall look at the town. The city of Campeche is an example of urbanism in a baroque colonial city, with a reticular and regular plan, its urban trace, a model of colonial port cities, reflects the main role that it played as a commercial, religious and military connection point characterized by its high level of integrity and homogeneity. More than one thousand buildings with a historic value have survived as witnesses of space and temporal superimposition of several significant historic periods of Mexico.
Due to the constant attacks of both English and Dutch buccaneers and pirates such as Francis Drake, John Hawkins, Laurens de Graaf, Cornelis Jol, Jacobo Jackson, Jean Lafitte, Francisco de
Grammont, Bartolomé Portugués, William Parker, Francisco Nau, Edward Mansvelt, Henry Morgan, Lewis Scot, Roche Braziliano and Michel de Grammont for almost 160 years, in 1686 the government started to fortify the city. The French engineer Louis Bouchard de Becour was commissioned to unify all the defensive works that surrounded the city with a wall. At its completion, the wall surrounding the city of Campeche was 2,560 meters in length, forming an irregular hexagon around the main part of the city, with eight defensive bastions on the corners.
Our stay included a dinner downtown, lots of walking, a free laser show in the main square that was fabulous and we had a chance to drop into our first regular Mexican market selling everything you could imagine. We piled in the Van and headed into town each day, lots of free parking and very friendly people. Campeche was a great find for us as it must of been for the many other foreign tourists we encountered. We look for-ward to returning in the future.
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Dan and Lisa Goy, owners of Baja Amigos RV Caravan Tours, have been making Mexico their second home for more than 30 years and love to introduce Mexico to newcomers.