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Barco Isla de Tris is a reminder of Carmen's piratical history

Ciudad del Carmen (sometimes just Carmen) is a city in Campeche, Mexico. Its territory is framed by beautiful landscapes of lake and marine type, complemented by the existence of archaeological remains and by the lush tropical vegetation.


The city is on an island between the Laguna de Terminos and the Gulf of Mexico. Until the 1980s it was connected to the rest of Mexico only by boat; it is now connected to the mainland on either end by bridges and causeways on Highway 180.

The population is about 191,000 (2020). Its economy is mainly based on oil, though there is also still a significant fishing industry.

For centuries Ciudad del Carmen was a sleepy fishing town. In the 1970s, petroleum was discovered in the area and it became an oil boom town. The city is dominated by workers of the oil industry. It is not a real tourist place, although there are a few attractions and facilities for those passing through.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

Highway 180 connects to Villahermosa to the west and Campeche to the north east.

By bus[edit]

Ciudad del Carmen is accessible from a number of cities through the ADO bus line. First-class fares to Cancun are M$570, and fares to Campeche are M$168.

Get around[edit]

Taxis are plentiful and Uber is available.


View of the city from the Laguna de Terms.
  • The Iglesia de la Virgen del Carmen or Cathedral and a few buildings nearby date back to the Colonial era. On Parque Principal Zaragosa, Calle 33, about 6 blocks east of the city's west coast, about a dozen blocks north of Highway 180.
  • The Museum in the old Victoriano Nieves Céspedes Hospital building (Calle 22 between 41 and 41B). It reviews the pre-Columbian times, as well as the history of Ciudad del Carmen and its impressive incorporation into the economy of modern Mexico. They highlight here the excellent examples of Mayan pottery, a ship integrated to the permanent exhibition, the early history of the Island of Tris, the expulsion of English pirates and the foundation of the Carmen prison, in addition to the large stick extraction of dye during the first half of the 19th century.
  • Streets and historical buildings: Ciudad del Carmen has ancient and narrow streets, such as the old Calle del Comercio (now 22), which along with the adjoining roads, were silent witnesses for more than 290 years of the development of extractive commercial activities such as dye stick, precious woods and chewing gum.
  • Marian Diocesan Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carmen and Zaragoza Park. The urban heart of Ciudad del Carmen is located in the area formed by the Marian Diocesan Sanctuary and Zaragoza Park.
El Zacatal Bridge and the City Malecon.
  • El Zacatal Bridge and Malecon: The El Zacatal bridge is the longest bridge in Latin America of its kind, with a length of 3861 meters and a width of 9 meters. It is one of the busiest in the country as it is the entrance to the Yucatán Peninsula, it has two lanes, one in each direction, passable by any type of vehicle. Every day, at 20:00 and 21:00, there is a light and sound show. Illuminating the bridge synchronously with the decorative elements of the boardwalk, during this show a video about the history of the island of Carmen called "Ventanas" and a video about tourism in Campeche is transmitted. If you are lucky you can see dolphins from the bridge and on the boardwalk at sunset.


  • Fishing. Between the Gulf and the Lagoon, there is a variety of salt water fish in the area.
  • The Parque Principal Zaragosa (across from the Municipal Palace, near the waterfront north of the Highway) has free live band concerts Thursday and Sunday evenings.
  • Beaches: The coastal area of Ciudad del Carmen and of the Isla del Carmen, is made up of beautiful beaches. Some have various tourist services. In the urban area of Ciudad del Carmen the following beaches are located: Snail, Lace, Manigua, and North Beach. To the east of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Isla del Carmen, there are the following beach areas: Bahamitas, Tortugueros, Port Royal, and Punta San Julián.
  • Laguna de Términos: Bathed by its waters, to the south of Ciudad del Carmen is the Laguna de Términos. Species such as bass, crustaceans, shrimp, manatee and dolphins, among others, reproduce successfully in its waters.
  • Beyond the lagoon extends the Protection Area of Flora and Fauna of Laguna de Términos. Large mangrove forests, swampy areas, low flood forests, medium and high jungles, tular, carrizales and popales serve as a reservoir of species - crustaceans and fish - and form a favorable site for nesting and habitat for Birds, reptiles and mammals.


  • HandCraft Market, Downtown (Calle 20).
  • Plaza Real, Av Periferica Norte SN, Malibran, +52 938 384 4559.
  • Plaza Palmiras, Carr. Puerto Real Km 2.5, Col. Palmiras.
  • Zentralia, Av Corregidora, Santa Rosalía.


There are a variety of budget and mid-range restaurants in town. Local specialties include fresh seafood, pork & bean dishes, and tamales colorados.


When night falls on Ciudad del Carmen, the city streets come alive as locals and tourists go out for an evening in the many bars, restaurants, public parks, plazas and clubs of this beautiful island. Carmen has a very lively night scene, so don't miss all the clubs. The locals "carmelos" know how to party, and they’re good at it. In the Malecon you can find many coffee shop and small bars or just have a walk there in from of the Mexican Gulf.

In Playa Norte, don't miss the nightlife in from of the main beach of the city.

On Concordia Avenue:


A number of hotels and pensions of various price ranges. Prices are higher than in most smaller Mexican cities, but still reasonable compared to the USA or Europe.


Microhotel, good, cheap and comfortable, contact



Stay safe[edit]

  • Police 3820205 or 060
  • Red Cross 3823130

Go next[edit]

To the west on Highway 180 is Villahermosa and Tabasco. To the east is Champoton, Campeche, and Yucatan.

From Carmen, you can visit several sites with various tourist attractions, located in the southwest of the State of Campeche, stories like Palizada, Isla Aguada, Atasta, Sabancuy and Candelaria.

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