Gulf of Mexico

I call the Gulf of Mexico’s long sweeping shore the “Forgotten Coast.” Between the border city of Matamoros and the ancient fortresses of Campeche, you’ll find some 1,500 miles of mostly tourist-free Mexico, including everything from exceptional seafood, beaches, nature reserves and archaeological sites to countless overlooked towns and villages. Only two cities on the entire Gulf–Veracruz and Campeche–can be called tourist attractions, and even their following is quite limited. With the exception of bird-watchers, treasure divers and fishermen, this amazing arc of beaches, jungles and wetlands sees few visitors.

As much as we enjoy the Gulf, it does have its drawbacks. The climate is not only quite wet, but it can also be shockingly cold in winter and steambath-hot in spring and summer. Because it is positioned directly in the path of storms from Canada and the American Midwest, the Gulf can experience schizophrenic winter weather. In comparison to the Pacific Riviera and Caribbean coasts of Mexico, the Gulf’s low beaches and often slightly turbid waters take a distant third place. By the time you factor in a healthy mosquito population and the inevitable pollution from major offshore oil fields, you might wonder why there are any tourists at all along this coast.

In spite of these problems, the Gulf Coast remains a very exciting area for beach combing, fishing, birding, camping and general do-it-yourself exploration.

(The above paragraphs are excerpted from The People’s Guide to Mexico; all rights reserved.)