Pueblos Magicos: Visiting quaint, nature-rich Palizada is a vacation for the senses
Once a refuge for pirates, the river village Palizada in Campeche, Mexico has transformed into the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation. Palizada is frequently overlooked, and used as a stopping-off point on the way to Ciudad del Carmen. But if you pause to appreciate the peaceful town, you will be rewarded by the warmth of its locals, mouth-watering traditional food, beautiful nature and unique sunset experience.
The quaint town is bordered by the Palizada River, which flows into the Laguna de Terminos. Two statues spring up from the boardwalk: the Monumento a la Madre (Mother’s Monument) in front of the Presidencia Municipal, and a replica of the Statue of Liberty. The most cherished town symbols, however, are located in the main park. Standing tall and colorful is the San Joaquin Parish Church, which was first built over two centuries ago. A statue of Benito Juarez, who served five terms as President of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, welcomes visitors to the church.
Across the river is the Casa del Rio, a white farmhouse built in a French style. In reference to Marseille, France, “Marsella” is still legible across the roof’s tiles, which is where they were made. In past centuries, European ships docked nearby and traded Palizada logwood for these French tiles. These bundles of local precious wood were originally referred to as “palizada,” and eventually named the town.
At the end of the boardwalk is the Mercado Municipal, or Municipal Market, where the otherwise peaceful town is alive with hustle. The best authentic Palizada cooking can be found here. Tortuga en su sangre is the most traditional plate. The translation? “Turtle in its own blood. Don’t worry – the turtle is prepared with red sauce, not blood! For something sweet, it is recommended to try a sweet cream dessert with cinnamon and lime called manjar blanco. The drink of choice is coconut with gin, a legacy from the pirate days. Other delicious options include freshwater gar and morjarra. Since the town is on the water, a lot of the traditional food is seafood.
A lot of the activities are based around the water as well. The groundwater provides a rich nature experience, covered in evergreen forests and a diverse collection of species. One of the most popular dwellers of this ecosystem is the crocodile! Near Palizada is a crocodile farm, where you can see the animal at all different ages, including their eggs. It is not everyday you get to observe crocodiles so closely, and worry-free! Visitors are encouraged to enjoy a scenic river boat ride to admire the breathtaking scenery, or try their hand at fishing in the river.
As the sun dips down across the horizon, clouds of herons fly over the river, billowing their white bodies against the sky’s canvas. They streak across the sunset to sleep near the river, their calls mixing with the sounds of the other animals to provide an unparalleled soundtrack for a beautiful sunset.
A trip to Palizada provides relaxing for your mind, body and soul – and a whirlwind adventure for your senses. Between the fiercely exquisite colors painted by nature, and the enchanting sounds from the extensive wildlife, Palizada is a magic town from Campeche.
The Pueblos Magicos program identifies towns that reflect “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handcrafts. There are currently 52 destinations throughout Mexico that have earned the Pueblos Magicos classification.