Free Mexico Travel Guide and Travel Information

Ciudad del Carmen

Ciudad del Carmen is a city located on the southwest coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Campeche, Mexico. The city is located southwest of Carmen Island, which stands in the Laguna de Términos.

The city is known for its connection to the oil industry. Ciudad del Carmen was a small city mostly devoted to fishing until the 1970s when oil was discovered in the region. Since then it has grown and developed substantially.

The city is also the seat of the state of Campeche’s Carmen municipality, which includes the city and the surrounding area. The 2010 census population of the municipality of Carmen was 221,094 people, second only to the capital municipality of Campeche.

Ciudad del Carmen is known as one of the best locations to find seafood in Mexico.

The city is nicknamed “The Pearl of the Gulf”.

Geo & Climate

Ciudad del Carmen is located on Carmen Island covering an area of 11,513 hectares. The island is 40 km in length and is 6 to 8 km in its widest parts. The island is mainly 2 to 3 meters above sea level.

Ciudad del Carmen is characterized by its coastal location. The city is surrounded by beautiful beaches, mangroves, and lagoons. The landscape is a mix of coastal plains and wetlands, making it an ecologically diverse area.


Like most of the cities along the Yucatan’s gulf coast, Ciudad del Carmen exhibits a Tropical savanna climate.

Ciudad del Carmen has a pronounced dry season that lasts from January through May, with the wet season finishing out the year. September and October bring copious rainfall, with both months averaging well over 200 millimeters.

The best time to visit Ciudad del Carmen is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. This period offers pleasant weather with lower chances of rainfall and more opportunities to explore the city and its natural surroundings.

Remember that Ciudad del Carmen can get quite warm and humid, especially during the wet season, which spans from May to October. It’s advisable to stay hydrated and use appropriate sun protection when exploring the city and its attractions.


As of 2010, Ciudad del Carmen had a population of 169,466, up from the 2005 census of 154,197.

The vast majority of habitants in Ciudad del Carmen come from other places.

This extreme emigration and immigration pattern displays diversity in culture and lifestyle, the petroleum industry is in part responsible for this phenomenon that results in a rich and extraordinary culture mix.


The history of Ciudad del Carmen dates back to the pre-Hispanic era when it was inhabited by Mayan communities. Ciudad del Carmen was an important location that served to connect the Aztec and Mayan civilizations.

During the colonial period, the city became a hub for trade and fishing.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries when the city of Campeche was a trade hub between Spain and New Spain (Mexico), Ciudad del Carmen was inhabited by pirates and served as a port for repairing ships and planning attacks against the Spanish.

The city got its current name on July 16, 1717, in honor of the Virgin of Carmen, believed to be the protector of the island, when the Spanish forces evicted the pirates from the island and took control of the city after a long period of occupation.

Since then, every year at the end of July, Ciudad del Carmen has turned into the very center of the regional social, cultural, and religious festivities, on the fair that celebrates the island’s protector virgin.

This border area at the western edge of the Yucatán Peninsula was previously part of the state of Yucatán, then of Tabasco. Since 1863 it has been part of the state of Campeche.

In the mid-1970s Ciudad del Carmen was transformed from a fishing and shrimping city into a hub for oil. Ever since, Carmen has become a home for Mexican and foreign oil workers alike, including many Texans, and now houses many foreign companies.

However, its real transformation occurred in the 20th century with the discovery of oil in the region. The oil industry led to rapid development and urbanization, turning the city into a key player in Mexico’s energy sector.

Tourist Attractions & Sightseeing

Things to see and do in and around Ciudad del Carmen:

The Catedral del Carmen is a historic and architectural landmark in the city. The cathedral holds significant religious and cultural importance for both locals and visitors. The cathedral dates back to the 18th century.

El Zacatal Bridge connects the city to the mainland and offers panoramic views of the city’s coastline and surrounding waters.

As late as the early 1980s the city could long be reached only by ferry or small motorboats operating between Ciudad del Carmen and Zacatal. This changed with the construction of a causeway bridge to the mainland in the 1980s (eastbound) and another one in 1994 (westbound).

The construction of the first bridge was motivated by the sinking of one of the island’s pangas which resulted in the death of nearly everyone on board. The bridge Puente El Zacatal, constructed in 1994, is one of the longest in Latin America.

The city’s waterfront promenade, known as Malecón, is a lively area filled with restaurants, shops, and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll.

Given the city’s history with the oil industry, visiting the Oil Museum provides insights into the region’s economic significance and its impact on Ciudad del Carmen’s development.

Playa Norte is one of the most popular beaches in the city, offering soft sand and clear waters. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports and beach activities.

Located near Ciudad del Carmen, Isla Aguada is a charming fishing village known for its peaceful beaches and vibrant local culture. It’s a great place to experience the coastal lifestyle.

Isla del Carmen Nature Reserve provides an opportunity to explore the local ecosystem, including mangroves and diverse bird species.

Tourist Assistance + Emergency Numbers

You can dial 078 from any phone, where you can find free information about tourist attractions, airports, travel agencies, car rental companies, embassies and consulates, fairs and exhibitions, hotels, hospitals, financial services, migratory and other issues.

Or dial the toll-free (in Mexico) number 01-800-006-8839.

You can also request information the email


General Information: 040 (not free)

National Emergency Service: 911

Radio Patrols: 066
Police (Emergency): 060
Civil Protection: +52(55)5683-2222
Anonymous Complaint: 089

Setravi (Transport Mobility): +52(55)5209-9913
Road Emergency: 074

Cruz Roja: 065 o +52(55)5557-5757
Firefighters: 068 o +52(55)5768-3700

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