Spanish for “beautiful town,” Villahermosa may not, at first glance, seem to deserve its name. Traffic snarls many of the streets and the buildings are plain compared to cities such as San Cristóbal and Mérida.
Villahermosa’s best feature is its lakes, which angle and elbow their way over much of the city. A few hotels—the Graham and Cencali in particular—have pretty lake views and enjoying a glass of lemonade by the water is a nice way to rest after visiting Parque-Museo La Venta.
Considered a gateway to Central Mexico, Villahermosa is easily reached. A fine transportation network connects it with Mexico City, Chiapas, Guatemala, the Caribbean coast, and the rest of the Yucatán Peninsula.
By Air: Villahermosa has a busy, compact airport (VSA, Aeropuerto Capitán Carlos Rovirosa Pérez) about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) east of the city. Inside there is a bank with ATM and exchange services, a tourist information booth, a restaurant, and a few gift shops. Flights arrive daily from many cities in Mexico—including Mexico City, Mérida, and Tuxtla Gutiérrez—and there are often nonstop flights from Houston, Texas.
Near the ADO bus station and a block apart, Comali Plus (Calle Reforma at Calle Bravo) and Transportes Torruco (Calle Reforma at La Arboleda) provide identical service to and from Comalcalco. Vans accommodate 12 comfortably (or 14 uncomfortably), and leave every 20 minutes, 4:30 a.m.–9 p.m. daily (US$2.50, 45 minutes).
By Car: Driving into Villahermosa is easy from both the north and the south. From Campeche and points east take Highway 186. From Campeche along the coastal route take Highway 180. From Veracruz along the coast take Highway 180 east. From San Cristóbal de las Casas and points south take Highway 199 to Highway 186. These all converge in Villahermosa.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition