Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

As Merida and the rest of the state of Yucatan come into the spotlight, travelers looking for the next hot destination are setting their sights on Campeche. Developers are taking notice and are already on track to start developing the next "Mexican riviera."

Campeche, directly to the west of the state of Yucatan, is one of the three states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula, along with Yucatan and Quintana Roo. With an extended coastline that hugs the Gulf of Mexico, and the rest of the state shrouded in undeveloped jungle, it presents a wealth of off-the-beaten-path travel opportunities that investors and travelers in the know are capitalizing on. In fact, according to Expedia, Campeche is one of the top trending travel destinations for 2020.

$200 million is being poured into Sabancuy, Campeche, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The destination is being hailed as Playa Mundo Maya. The tourism project will take up an area of 148 acres, which will include bungalows, two pools, a restaurant, beach club, shops, a spa facility and an exhibition center. There is also talk of more eco-hotels being developed in the future.

The new "hotel zone" is being designed with the traffic from the Mayan train route in mind, opening up new beach destinations all along the edge of the peninsula that have been previously overshadowed by Cancun. Today, Sabancuy is a quiet inlet with powdery white sand that is often the nesting ground for turtles. The closest city is Ciudad del Carmen, which is where the nearest airport is located. While a completion date has not been announced, the permits have been approved to break ground.

The development of the coastline is going to highlight the rest of what the state of Campeche has to offer, from dozens of Mayan ruins to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, and the Historic Fortified Town of Campeche, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and one of the most postcard-perfect examples of colonial Mexican architecture.

The state has 17 archaeological sites, including Calakmul, which is the largest Mayan city that has ever been discovered. In fact, the ruins are recognized by Unesco as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Within the jungle, which makes up more than half of the state, there are more than 86 species of mammals, including jaguars and pumas.

Campeche has bones for the luxury community, as well, with gorgeously renovated historic haciendas that have been turned into five-star hotels. Take, for example, the Hacienda Puerto Campeche, a Luxury Collection Hotel, located directly in the Centro Historic of Campeche's capital. The brightly colored oasis within the downtown is a haven of hospitality. The 16th century retreat features beautiful gardens, stunning rooms, a beautiful restaurant, and a pool that has been built out of the crumbling ruins of the former hacienda that used to live on this land.

Outside the city, the Hacienda Uayamon was built in 1700 and today provides an urban respite to enjoy the countryside outside the capital city. Dark wood and colonial furniture set the tone for enjoying beautiful suites (some with private pools), fine dining and the raw, untamed jungle of the wilderness of Campeche. One of the best perks of the hotel is strolling through the candlelit gardens, or taking the quick trip to the Mayan archaeological site, Edzna.

While destinations like Merida and the coast of the Yucatan are picking up steam, Campeche is waiting in the wings. Now is the perfect time to see all that this state has to offer, before everyone else catches on.

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