Forts and Colours of Campeche

There isn’t a ton of things to see in the town of Campeche, most people come here as a jumping off point for nearby Mayan sites like Edzna or Uxmal. That is, of course, if  they spend more than a night. This port is worth visit, though. It is surrounded by six forts, two of which, Fuerte de San Jose, and Fuerte de San Miguel sit high atop the hills to the east and west of the town, the center of which in itself was a fort.

Though not identical, the forts surrounding the center are of similar Spanish colonial construction and one would be hard pressed to tell them apart in photographs.

As is often the case for me, I hadn’t really thought my plans through, and between the day’s heat, the poor quality of the bicycle I rented, and the distances involved, visiting the forts turned into more of an ordeal than anticipated. I suppose it wouldn’t have been so difficult had I not ridden an additional 8 km out of the way on broken pedals. You think I’d finally learn to check first, but each time I rent a bike I find something else I hadn’t thought to look at before setting off. So far I’m up to pedals, brakes, gears, size of bike and some other minor things, the lack of maintenance is both staggering and somehow unsurprising at times.

Perhaps, in hindsight, asking directions would also have been to my benefit.

That said, the ride along the city’s waterfront promenade and the view from the two forts were welcome rewards for my efforts and exhaustion.

Back at the city’s centre, the water no longer laps at the walls but it is still rather beautiful. The buildings are painted nearly every shade of pastel, and between that and the water, Campeche has a very relaxed atmosphere.

I found myself stuck here, spending four days reading in the park, walking the streets of the centro, and taking in the nearby market. It was a nice pause, and a great place to practice my Spanish. Its a shame most travelers I saw barely spent a day there – the place deserves more.