Travel Guide to Villahermosa and Tabasco | Mexico

I continued my adventures and misadventures throughout Mexico with a quick visit to the state of Tabasco and its capital, Villahermosa. It’s well off the typical tourist trail, but always keen to try something new, I hopped on a bus from Campeche and found myself in Villahermosa. It’s not really a popular travel destination, among Mexican and international tourists alike. There are some interesting things to do in Villahermosa, though. If you find yourself in the area, here’s a quick travel guide to Villahermosa to keep you busy.

Advertisements

This post contains affiliate links. That means that I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of these links.

Is Villahermosa Worth Visiting?

Yes and no. I don’t think Villahermosa and Tabasco are worth going out of your way for. There are so many magical places to explore in Mexico, and while the state of Tabasco does have some gems, I’d recommend prioritizing other places in Mexico. I love Mexico, and it is a goal of mine to visit every Mexican state. I was in the neighboring state of Campeche, so I figured, why not?

I stayed in Villahermosa for three nights. I actually quite liked the city, but from a tourist standpoint, there isn’t much to do. You can explore all of Villahermosa in a day, and then make a few day trips to nearby attractions. Many people I spoke to were surprised to run into a traveler in Villahermosa, because quite frankly, it doesn’t get many. It’s a popular city for big conventions and flights to and from Villahermosa are cheap from within Mexico. Internationally, though, Villahermosa flies under the radar, and kind of rightfully so. It has potential, but when there are so many unforgettable destinations in Mexico, Villahermosa can definitely be skipped over.

It was a pleasant way to break up the long journey from Campeche to Mexico City and I’m glad I went. But I’m also traveling indefinitely and occasionally look forward to those boring breaks in the action. Your time would be much better spent in the state immediately south and my personal favorite, Chiapas.

Advertisements

How To Get To Villahermosa

This region of Mexico is serviced by the ADO bus line. You can take the ADO bus to Villahermosa from most big cities. From Campeche, the ride cost me about $40 for a six-hour ride. It was a bit steep, but the buses in Mexico can often feel like first-class flights. You get lots of leg room, Wi-Fi, charging ports, and water. Palenque is another popular tourist destination nearby, and only a couple of hours by bus to Villahermosa.

One can also fly to Villahermosa. It’s a big city, so flights are more affordable than they would be to Campeche or other neighboring cities. From Mexico City, expect to pay about $50, or more if you have checked baggage.

Oh, and before you go, make sure to have good travel insurance handy whenever you’re out adventuring. I use SafetyWing to keep me covered throughout my travels for as low as $40 a month.

The Best Things to do in Villahermosa and Tabasco

Villahermosa isn’t the most exciting city, but I did enjoy my time here. It’s a very authentic Mexican destination, and even sitting in a small plaza while eating esquites made me happy. A few days here should be enough to experience the city and Tabasco to its fullest.

Parque Museo La Venta

This was my favorite thing I did in Villahermosa by a long shot. This is where you’ll find the famous Olmec stone heads, dating back to the 7th century BC. It only cost 50 pesos ($2.50) to get in and I spent about two hours here. Bring mosquito repellent. It was like walking through a beautiful, jungly park where you’d occasionally stumble into a millennia-old stone sculpture. It’s far more enjoyable than looking at old statues inside a building. There are only about 20 Olmec sculptures here, but the walk is nice and you’re surrounded by beautiful, lush greenery all throughout.

The only thing I didn’t like was that it also doubled as a small zoo. I’m not a big fan of zoos, especially tiny ones where the animals don’t have much room to roam. They had a jaguar and a black panther here. Beautiful animals, but their enclosures were nowhere near big enough. You’ll also see some snakes, crocodiles, colorful birds, monkeys, and others. Coatimundi also roam around the park, and can get quite aggressive if they think you have food.

Walk Along Laguna de Las Ilusiones

Just outside the entrance of La Venta Museum is a nice park where you can walk along the lake. Just watch out for crocodiles. It’s a calm, scenic walk and you’ll find street vendors throughout the trail. It’s a popular hang out for locals, and I followed the trail all the way back to the center of Villahermosa. There’s another nearby park, Parque Tomas Garrido Canabal, that you can check out. It has a path lined with tall palm trees. It was beautiful, and a good opportunity for a nice photo in Villahermosa.

Advertisements

The Pastel Buildings of Zona Luz

Villahermosa does have a historic center, but the scenic part of it is quite small and easy to miss. You can find it on Google Maps as Zona Luz, and just wander around that area looking at the pastel buildings and historic sites like the Casa Siempreviva and the Casa de los Azulejos. There’s a cute cafe here called La Antigua that’s worth a visit. The Plaza de Armas of Villahermosa is also quite meh, but you can walk to the tall, ugly stone tower and cross the bridge for some good views of the huge river.

Eat at La Cevicheria

This was a unanimous recommendation from everyone who has visited Villahermosa. If you want great seafood in a unique environment, make sure to stop by La Cevicheria.

Cathedral of Tabasco

The most iconic cathedral of Tabasco can be found about halfway between the historic city center and La Venta Museum. You can’t miss it. It’s very tall, but quite small otherwise.

Day Trips from Villahermosa

Thankfully, the rest of Tabasco is a little more exciting than Villahermosa. If you’re looking to get out of the city, you’ve got quite a few options.

Advertisements

Tapijulapa Pueblo Magico

This is the only designated pueblo magico in Tabasco and it is located about 2 hours away from Villahermosa. To get here, you can take a colectivo to Jalapa and then transfer to another colectivo to Tapijulapa. It’s a small, quiet town with white buildings and red roofs. It’s not very exciting, and unless you also plan on visiting the nearby waterfalls, I don’t think it’s worth the four-hour round trip from Villahermosa.

Villa Luz Waterfalls

These waterfalls are one of Tabasco’s most famous natural attractions. It’s a good day trip if you want to get out into nature and see some beautiful waterfalls. It pales in comparison to the magnificent waterfalls of Chiapas to the south, but it makes for a good, chill adventure. You can also go rappelling here if you visit with a tour.

Comalcalco Archaeological Site

Located about an hour away from Villahermosa is a hidden gem of an archaeological site. You can catch a colectivo or a Comalli bus to the town of Comalcalco and then take a taxi to the archaeological site. There won’t be too many other people here, so it’s perfect for roaming around and getting your Lara Croft on. There are tons of archaeological sites in Mexico, and while it’s no Palenque or Uxmal, it’s worth stopping by if you’re in the area.

Grutas de Cocona

The Grutas de Cocona are a natural attraction close to the town of Teapa. You can catch a colectivo to Teapa and then catch a taxi or another colectivo to the caves. If you have your own car, you can visit the Grutas de Cocona, Tapijulapa, and Villa Luz waterfalls all in one day. 

Volcan Chichonal in Chiapas

A couple hours south of Villahermosa is a stunning laguna inside a volcanic crater. Chiapas truly has it all, doesn’t it? Despite being in Chiapas, Villahermosa is a good kicking off point for people who want to visit Volcan Chichonal with a tour.

Advertisements

Palenque

The pueblo magico and archaeological site of Palenque are just a two hour drive away from Villahermosa. It makes for a good day trip, although I’d recommend spending a couple of nights in Palenque. The town itself isn’t too exciting, but some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Chiapas, like Agua Azul, Misol-Ha, Welib-Ha, and Roberto Barrios. And of course, you’ve got some of my favorite Mayan ruins. 

Where To Stay in Villahermosa

So I usually stay at hostels, but Villahermosa didn’t have any hostels. Luckily for me, the hotels here were pretty affordable. I stayed at Sleep Inn Villahermosa for about $30 USD a night. That price included breakfast and a nice room with a view on the fifth floor. They also have a gym and business center, but because of COVID, both were closed. It’s a great value for the price, and if Villahermosa was a bit more exciting, I could’ve been content to stay here much longer.

All in all, I enjoyed my time in Villahermosa for what it was. Despite being warned by a few people that it wasn’t a great city, I found it to be fine. If you’re on a mission to see as much of Mexico as possible, pay Villahermosa and Tabasco a visit. Otherwise, there are a ton of other places to see in Mexico. You can check some out in my Mexico travel itinerary below. It’s a 68-page guidebook jam-packed with information over 30 of my favorite Mexico travel destinations.

If this post helped you out, show some love and support for the blog and help keep my adventures going by buying me a beer! My adventures are entirely self-funded, so any show of support is greatly appreciated, and allows me to keep writing helpful travel guides and creating travel content to help you all travel the world on a budget.

One thought on “Travel Guide to Villahermosa and Tabasco | Mexico

Leave a Reply