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Whether or not you solely have at some point, or just a little longer, these are the very best issues to see and do in Villahermosa, the state capital of Tabasco, Mexico…
Lots of people – and on-line sources – advised me to skip Villahermosa. The Mexican state of Tabasco is best identified for its oil fields than for tourism, and most of the people agreed that there’s merely not sufficient to do within the state capital to tempt vacationers.
However I used to be passing by means of anyway, so I made a decision to provide Villahermosa an opportunity! And I found that this river-surrounded metropolis truly has rather a lot to supply.
It will not be fairly the “lovely city” the identify guarantees, however there’s lots to fill a day or two in Villahermosa. It is a metropolis of large rivers, serene lakeside walks, and wealthy archaeology. Oh, and top-of-the-line ceviche I’ve eaten shortly! And should you keep longer, there are many day journeys to discover extra of Tabasco itself.
For those who’re merely passing by means of, as I used to be, or sticking round for some time, these are my picks for the very best issues to do when you’re visiting Villahermosa. Buen viaje…
Shortlist: For those who Solely Have a Day in Villahermosa
Since many individuals simply cease over in Villahermosa for a day on the best way to elsewhere, right here’s a fast record of the can’t-miss stops. Extra data on each within the subsequent part.
- Parque-Museo Villahermosa – Mesoamerican archaeology in a park setting with a small (skippable) zoo.
- La Cevicheria – for superb seafood (or vegan ceviche).
- Malecon de las Ilusiones – lakeside stroll.
- Regional Museum of Anthropology – for Mesoamerican artefacts and the realm’s historical past.
9 Issues to do in Villahermosa
Tabasco basically is a little more of an “off the overwhelmed path” vacation spot in Mexico. Villahermosa doesn’t get lots of non-native vacationers, so should you’re not Mexican it’s possible you’ll end up standing out.
This may additionally imply (typically) decrease costs than extra touristy spots in Mexico – winner! It helps should you can converse just a little Spanish right here, as I discovered not many individuals I interacted with spoke English and most excursions I noticed seemed to be solely in Spanish. BUT everybody was tremendous pleasant and really affected person with my (disastrous) Spanish.
Anyway, with out additional waffle, listed here are the highest issues to do in Villahermosa…
1 – Uncover Prehispanic Carvings at Parque-Museo La Venta
Definitely, the highest factor to do in Villahermosa is to go to the Parque-Museo La Venta. This “park museum” is filled with sculptures, altars, and different stone relics from La Venta, an historical Olmec metropolis in Tabasco state that pre-dates Chichen Itza by over a thousand years.
In actual fact, the Olmecs have been the first main Mesoamerican civilisation. They based La Venta round 1200 BC, and between about 800 to 400 BC it was crucial settlement in Mesoamerica.
A lot of the sculptures which were transferred to the Parque-Museo in Vellahermosa date from 700-400 BC. Most spectacular are the big carved stone heads – considered portraits of Olmec rulers.
Indicators are all in English in addition to Spanish and have a lot of data. The sculptures are laid out alongside a path that winds by means of a forest, so wild animal encounters are usually not unusual. Particularly the coatis: cute, fluffy mammals who appear to have the run of the park! There are additionally lizards, boas (apparently) and occasional monkeys, in addition to the ever-present mosquitos – convey repellent!
It’s price noting that there’s additionally a zoo contained in the Parque Museo. Enclosures have been largely massive and appeared to be in OK situation, however I discovered it just a little miserable. For those who dislike animals in captivity, you possibly can skip the zoo and head straight for the Archeological Park as soon as inside.
High tip – go to on a Monday, when entrance is free for everybody (besides throughout summer time holidays). That is additionally good should you don’t need to really feel such as you’re supporting the zoo. On different days, guests pay $57 MXN (about $3 USD).
DAY TRIP – La Venta itself is about 1.5 hour’s drive from Villahermosa and could be visited as a day journey.
2 – Stroll Alongside the Laguna de las Ilusiones
Within the northwest of Villahermosa is a huge and delightful lagoon known as Laguna de Las Ilusiones. Skirting the lake is the Malecon de las Ilusiones; a large walkway shaded by bushes which winds alongside the water’s edge by means of the Parque Tomás Garrido Canabal.
There are distributors promoting road meals, scurrying coatis, and a few playparks for households. It’s a very beautiful, serene space and an incredible spot for a stroll when you’re executed visiting La Venta. The lake itself is wealthy in birdlife; stroll alongside the Malecon recognizing nice egrets, herons, and cormorants.
I like to recommend visiting within the late afternoon, when the solar is much less fierce and the golden mild makes the lake all of the extra lovely.
3 – Climb the Mirador de las Aguilas
Sadly, this was closed after I went: apparently, it’s a little bit of a potluck as as to if you’ll discover it open or not. So don’t make a visit right here particularly! However should you’re visiting the Laguna de las Ilusiones anyway, and also you’re fortunate sufficient to search out this free commentary tower open, climb to the highest for some gorgeous views of the lakes. From pictures I’ve seen on-line, it appears nicely price it!
4 – Eat Ceviche at La Cevicheria Tabasco
Truthfully, it is perhaps price visiting Villahermosa JUST to eat at this restaurant!
La Cevicheria Tabasco has an incredible vary of recent, scrumptious ceviche and seafood dishes (there’s additionally a yummy-sounding vegan ceviche) – all served in a cool atmosphere with unbelievable service. I like to recommend the ceviche de la casa (which comes with a ginger dressing). And should you’re a fan of Mexican agua frescas, attempt the brilliant pink Agua de Matalí (just like agua de jamaica).
5 – Admire the Señor de Tabasco Cathedral
You’ll be able to see the dual towers of the rosy-hued Tabasco Cathedral from throughout the town. It was constructed between 1945 and 1970, after the unique cathedral was destroyed throughout an anti-religious marketing campaign within the Thirties. Because of this, there’s not a lot in the best way of historical past or spiritual iconography to see, however the facade and the tall, carved towers are fairly – so it’s price swinging by in case you have time.
6 – Wander Across the Zona Luz
Like many different Mexican cities, Villahermosa has a historic centre, known as the Zona Luz. It’s not as fairly as others I’ve seen, however there are a couple of good streets with pastel-coloured buildings – notably Narciso Sáenz and the pedestrianised Calle Lerdo de Tejada – and there seemed to be various new stuff popping up after I visited, so the realm has the potential to grow to be fairly beautiful.
- Plaza de Armas – the town’s most important plaza, dwelling to the Authorities Palace.
- Monumento al Bicentenario de la Independencia – a big, rusted iron monument on the far aspect of the Plaza de Armas.
- Simon Bolivar statue on the prime of the steps at Calle Lerdo de Tejada.
- Parque de los Pajaritos – a cute, leafy sq. dwelling to various parrots and a (now fortunately empty) aviary.
- Galería de Arte El Jaguar Despertado – small gallery and cafe showcasing native artwork and tradition.
7 – Study Extra on the Regional Museum of Anthropology
Villahermosa’s Museo Regional de Antropología “Carlos Pellicer Cámara” is seemingly Mexico’s second-largest assortment of anthropological artefacts. Housed inside a big, fashionable constructing, it’s an incredible place to be taught extra concerning the Olmec civilisation, in addition to the historical past of the Maya, Zoque and Nahua cultures in Tabasco.
That is additionally the house of the notorious Tortuguero Monument 6 – the stone pill that gave rise to the parable that the Mayans had predicted the ‘finish of the world’ for twenty first December 2012.
8 – And at Casa de los Azulejos
Generally known as the “home of tiles”, this attractive blue-tiled constructing within the Zona Luz is dwelling to the Tabasco Historical past Museum.
The displays inform the story of the state’s historical past, however actually, the principle purpose to go to is for the gorgeous Catalan tiles which cowl each room.
9 – Stroll Alongside the Grijalva River
Maybe the “hermosa” (lovely) a part of Villahermosa comes from the variety of parks, lakes and rivers there are within the metropolis centre.
In case you have time for one final exercise in Villahermosa, take a stroll alongside the Grijalva River’s jap financial institution. You’ll be able to cross the river through the wordily-named Puente Peatonal Manuel Pérez Merino (previously the Puente Solidaridad) close to the Plaza de Armas.
On the far aspect, you’ll discover a large esplanade and a cycle lane. Between the walkway and the river is a protracted space of parkland with a gravel path winding between lush tropical bushes and flowers.
There was additionally a brand new esplanade being constructed on the city-side financial institution after I visited, so quickly you’ll be capable of stroll a circuit alongside each side of the river.
The place to Eat in Villahermosa
Antigua Cafe – a cute little spot for breakfast or lunch with respectable espresso and a pleasant view of the Obelisco Plaza. I cherished the home particular Cappucino Antigua.
Cafe del Correo – OK espresso and really pleasant service within the coronary heart of the Zona Luz.
La Cevicheria Tabasco – I already talked about this one above. Nice restaurant with recent ceviche (together with vegan choices) and wonderful service.
For those who discover any extra nice locations to eat in Villahermosa, go away a remark to let me know and I’ll add them in!
Extra Day Journeys from Villahermosa
- La Venta – Go to the archaeological website of an historical Olmec metropolis from between 1200 and 400 BC. It’s a few 1.5-hour drive from Villahermosa, or you possibly can take a bus or colectivo from outdoors the ADO station.
- Chichonal Volcano – Hike into the Chiapas mountain vary to succeed in the highest of a volcano for a view of the emerald-green lake contained in the caldera.
- Villaluz Waterfalls and Tapijulapa “Magic City” – rappel and zipline over waterfalls, go to a cave, and go to the Pueblo Magico of Tapijulapa. For those who don’t need to e book a tour, it’s additionally potential to go to each of those spots by driving. You must also be capable of get to Tapijulapa by bus and colectivo (connecting in Jalapa) nevertheless it appears like a difficult journey.
- Pantanos de Centla – A Biosphere Reserve and in depth wetland area in Tabasco. Take a tour to see native wildlife.
- Palenque – the well-known Mayan ruins of Palenque in Chiapas state are simply over two hours from Villahermosa. You will get there by bus, and take a colectivo straight to the ruins from outdoors the ADO station – though personally, I believe it’s price spending at the least an evening in Palenque earlier than returning. It’s also possible to take a day tour to Palenque from Villahermosa which features a guided tour of the ruins.
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