Ciudad del Carmen

Campeche state's second-biggest city occupies the western end of a 40km-long, narrow island between the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna de Términos. Ciudad del Carmen was once dependent on jumbo shrimp, dyewood and chicle (gum) for its livelihood, but in the late 1970s oil was discovered. Investment poured in and the population swelled. The 3.8km Puente Zacatal (Zacatal Bridge) was completed in 1994, linking the city (and its narrow streets) with the rest of Mexico. The privatization of Pemex, Mexico's largest oil company, had a huge effect on local employment and thousands of locals lost their jobs. At the time of research, Ciudad del Carmen was feeling the brunt of this, with vacant buildings, many empty hotel rooms and a rather depressed ambience surrounding its otherwise very pretty plaza.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ciudad del Carmen.