Ninth Wave Mexico, an NGO whose work centres on environmental custodianship and awareness, offers extended volunteer placements in Campeche.
by Flossie Wildblood
The walled city of Campeche has been a UNESCO heritage site for nearly 20 years. With its colurful houses and peaceful seafront, it becomes all the more enchanting when illuminated each evening by a peach-pink sunset.
Since it’s comparatively small and miraculously free from the flocks of tourists you’ll encounter elsewhere on the Yucatan, it’s easy to wander about on foot -or else to hop on an antique tram at the Parque Principal for a meandering tour of the historic centre.
Photo by @rutasyrutinas
The real core of Campeche is Calle 59, a great place for people-watching – over a coffee in the morning or a mezcal in the evening. Amongst its best venues are Lu’an, where you can order eggs done pretty much every way -divorciados, motuleños, rancheros- and Chocol’ha, which smells permanently of rich Mayan hot chocolate. As a bonus, these cafes participate in a city-wide ‘Green Business’ scheme, encouraging customers to ditch disposable cutlery, straws and so on, and disposing of their food and plastic waste in a eco-friendly way.
Just around the corner, on Calle 51 is the Viatger Inn, where a lively community gathers every Saturday from 10am-2pm to sell organic and artisan produce. At the weekly ‘Mercado Verde’, you’ll find anything from handmade necklaces and Lebanese food to shampoo bars and vegan ice-cream. Again, reusing and recycling are a key part of the market’s ethos, and everything you buy there is guaranteed to be sustainably sourced.
Both the Mercado Verde and Green Business Scheme are run in conjunction with Ninth Wave Mexico, an NGO whose work centres on environmental custodianship and awareness. If you’re in the city for a few days, it’s worth dropping into their base -Xaman Ek - and taking part in one of their regular craft or language workshops. If you’re looking to spend a little longer in Campeche, they offer extended volunteer placements, turtle conservation programmes and expeditions to the nearby Usumacinta river.
Other top sites to visit in Campeche are the Museo de la Arquitectura Maya, the Museo de la Ciudad, and of course its imposing 16th-century cathedral. However, you don’t need to travel far beyond the city walls to encounter Mexico’s historic and geographic heritage.
Within two hours’ drive are the Miguel Colorado cenote and the Mayan ruins of Edzna – both essential visits. You can spend a whole day at the cenote, swimming and kayaking in the blue-green water, and there’s even a (deceptively high) zipline that goes all the way over the top.
Climbing up and down the ancient ruins at Edzna is best done early in the morning before the crowds arrive, but there’s also an evening light show all year round.
To connect and be part of progressive environmental and community programs in Campeche, [email protected]
Cover Photo: @rutasyrutinas
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