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Campeche is a historical fairyland, its walled city center a tight enclave of restored pastel buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, fortified ramparts and well-preserved mansions. Added to Unesco’s list of World Heritage sites in 1999, the state capital lacks a little of a 'daily life' ambience, as few people actually live in the historic center. But leave the inner walls and you’ll find a genuine Mexican provincial capital complete with a frenetic market, peaceful malecón (boardwalk) and old fishing docks.

Besides the walls and numerous mansions built by wealthy Spanish families during Campeche’s heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, seven of the baluartes (bastions or bulwarks) have also survived. Two preserved colonial forts guard the city’s outskirts, one of them housing the Museo de la Arquitectura Maya, an archaeological museum with many world-class pieces.

Campeche is the perfect base for day trips to Edzná, the Chenes sites and neighboring beaches.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Campeche.