Offering a wealth of festive traditions and culture, Campeche is a welcoming and entertaining getaway for expats during the holiday season. With its balmy and warm weather, Mexican and international themed music and dance festivities, and historical architecture, the Mexican Gulf Coast city offers a host of activities for expats and tourists. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
For John Wells and his wife Tonja Aaron-Wells, spending the holiday season in Campeche, Mexico, on the Yucatán Peninsula’s Gulf Coast, is a four-year tradition.
Their house is only four blocks from the main square of the historic, colonial city.
Every Christmas a nativity scene is set up nearby. Swags of holly drape the arches of the colonnade on one side of the square, and trees in the park are strung with lights. The 18th-century cathedral is floodlit every evening, the stone façade glowing in rich, creamy tones.
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A packed program of state-sponsored events starts in November and lasts until nearly year’s end. Open-air concerts, jazz festivals, performances by dance troupes, parades and theater performances fill the program—and most events are free to the public.
For John and Tonja, most of these activities are just a walk away. Their evening routine is to have dinner at a local restaurant, then head out to the fun. “You feel relaxed, and you can stroll through the festivals,” says Tonja. “There’s such a diverse bunch of things to do.”
The city brings in a mix of both Mexican and international performers for the events. “I think it’s important that they bring these high-end entertainers to Campeche,” Tonja says. It’s certainly a bonus for expats and tourists as the many dance- and music-based events require no Spanish-language skills.
“We enjoy the festivities in the big church,” says Tonja. “There’s always something going on in there—a wedding or something.” With the cathedral doors open and events inside it spilling into the street, “you feel you’re part of it,” she explains.
With busy careers back in the U.S., Tonja and John only get to Campeche a few times a year. The year-end trip is usually one of their longest stays. Still, “everyone is always so friendly to us,” says Tonja, “even though we don’t speak the language. We’ve even been welcomed into different people’s homes for Christmas meals.”
Campeche’s warm Christmas-time temperatures (in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit) are a draw for many visitors from chilly climates. But for Tonja, Mexico’s culture and traditions are one of the biggest attractions.
“It’s just been a welcoming and wonderful experience,” says Tonja. “It’s good throughout the year; not just during the holidays.”
This article has been republished from International Living.