Our first night on the road was a pleasant one. Despite there being not much to do in Ciudad del Carmen, I like the city. It is located right on the Gulf and exists mostly due to the oil drilling offshore. To get there, one has to cross a low, two mile long bridge. Likewise when leaving. Ciudad del Carmen is actually an island separating the Gulf of Mexico from the many bays formed behind the island. The downtown area is located on a bay that comes in from the Gulf and is quite calm. But dirty. I would not even stick a toe into that water!
one of the two dreaded bridges leading to and from Ciudad del Carmen
Ciudad del Carmen has a very nice town square. One of the nicest I have ever seen. It is the typical bandstand with tree lined spokes that is so prevalent in Mexico. Lots of trees also. One side is bordered by a church and one by restaurants and shops. Scattered along the other two sides are various vendors in funny little wagon shops that they close up at night and pull away. I assume that there is some sort of warehouse where they lock them all up. An interesting fact about the downtown area, and one to keep in mind, is that they do not sell or allow the consumption of alcohol. Including beer. This is the only town I have ever encountered this in in Mexico. There is also a huge statue of a shrimp as you enter town. I should have gotten a picture of it, but, since I was driving, that was a bit difficult to do.
large statue on the edge of town, just before getting onto the dreaded bridge
Having been in Ciudad del Carmen many times before, we already knew what hotel we were going to stay in. The Parque (17)* just off the town square. It’s a pleasant, slightly modern building and all rooms are air conditioned. We got a room with two double beds for $480** pesos. There is no off-street parking but there are allocated spaces just across from the entrance for your car. They have a night watchman who watches your car. Supposedly for free but he hit me up for $10 pesos “for a Coke to stay awake”. Small price to pay for a guard for the car.
After lugging all of our stuff to the room, we freshened up and headed out for dinner. The hotel clerk had recommended several places we should try along the water front. We knew from past experience that the few restaurants around the square were a waste of time and space. We negotiated our way along the sidewalk across from the malecon. I wish I had taken my camera to dinner. The holes in this sidewalk were incredible. Some of the best I have seen! Plus here and there it was heaved up by tree roots, just waiting to put you flat on your face if you didn’t watch out. We finally found our destination, a place called La Fuente. We overloaded with typical Mexican fare for the area: suaves, tostados and tamales.
Ciudad del Carmen has one of the nicest, largest gas stations I have seen in Mexico
Feeling very full and a bit tired from our first long day, we shuffled our way back to the hotel and turned in for the night.
Total distance traveled: 711 kms/444 miles
Costs: gas, ferry, bridge and road tolls, hotel: $1188 pesos
* We devised a simple rating system for every hotel we stayed in. We each gave it a value rating from 1 to 10. Ten being the highest. So out of a possible 30 points, this hotel only scored 17. You will see this figure in ( ) throughout the rest of the story.
** All prices in this story will be stated in Mexican pesos. To figure out how much it is in US dollars, divide by ten and you’ll be very close.