"Cabana Boy's Ciudad del Carmen Page" Ciudad del Carmen by Cabana_Boy

Ciudad del Carmen Travel Guide: 83 reviews and 119 photos

It had been sixteen years since I had been to Mexico and even then I hadn’t been to a “real” Mexican town; that is I don’t consider Cancun & Cozumel real Mexican towns... But this time would be different, my purpose was business related, no scuba diving, no nice beaches, etc. I was headed to the heart of Mexico’s oil field, Ciudad del Carmen in the state of Campeche. Carmen is the economic center of Campeche and a place where Mexicans intermingle with Texans and Louisianans on their side of the border….

One of the many things that I remembered from my previous trips to Mexico was the heat, it’s damn hot in Mexico and I was head back for the month of August. Although I was excited to be headed back to Mexico, I dreaded the timing of my trip for the heat factor. As it turned out, Carmen experiences a bit of a rainy season during August and the heat wasn’t a problem. Unfortunately that couldn't be said of the city’s drainage system!!!

I landed in Carmen during a late afternoon thunderstorm and as we drove to the hotel the streets were absolutely flooded... Cars were stopped in the middle of intersections, people were walking through waist deep water, and this, I was told, was a daily occurrence this time of year!!!

Despite all the money pouring through Carmen and the nice shiny PEMEX buildings, the city/state still hasn’t found enough of a tax base to put in a proper drainage system. I was also told that public works projects only get completed around election time or when a foreign company demands and pays for it. Moreover, if an international company such as Walmart or Burger King wants to open a store in Carmen, they must first open one in the city of Campeche, not because of customer demand, but that's where the Governor is from. Incidentally, one can’t bring beef across Campeche’s state border either because the Governor owns a few ranches… Such is life in Mexico…extraordinarily simple with an economic twist for those in power…

But even still, Carmen is an amazing place. Amazing in the sense that it exists. Situated on an island, Carmen has grown from its early days as a haven for pirates to its present day status of being the driving force behind Mexico’s oil industry. As the state run oil producer, PEMEX, moved in, along with the host of usual suspects in the international oil industry, the entrepreneurial spirit has taken hold and the locals in Carmen are as creative as anyone. Bars, restaurants and shops of every kind have opened to service the needs that every oil town has.

  • Last visit to Ciudad del Carmen: Aug 2003
  • Intro Updated Apr 17, 2005
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