For most of our trip, we stayed in a town called Campeche. It's south of Merida and a good middle point for exploring mangroves and petenes, but I could have spent days just walking through the colorful streets of this city.
And by colorful, I mean this place has ALL of the colors. This was what I saw when I stepped through the doors of my hotel:
We were told that it was a real "Pirates of the Caribbean" type town (and it has all the Renaissance Festival style pirate themed pubs, restaurants, and knick-knacks to prove it). Back in the days of yore, the place was so put upon by pirates that they protected themselves from invasion by surrounding the bulk of the town in battlements. Many of these battlements still stand tall, which gave the town a very European feel - castles and churros are a delightful combination, I tell you.
Campeche is also something of an uneven city. The ground wasn't scaled when the buildings went up, which seemed to be a point of frustration to those who built the sidewalks. They, at least, are level, which was a sometimes a challenge...
From the top of the battlements we could also see that many of these lovely buildings were not all that they seemed to be. They hide a wilderness inside....I wanted to explore them.
There was a secret place inside one of the battlements with recreation musket rifles and halberds. So, of course, this happened:
And finally, Campeche is home to a cathedral I could not capture well enough with my lens. On our first night in the city, I watched a group of women bless and carry a tall statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe around the square and into the church. She was dressed in blue and waiting inside to receive the many pilgrimaging Guadalupanos.