Villahermosa is the capital city of the state of Tabasco and its economic and cultural center. Villahermosa is located in southeastern Mexico and is about half way between the two major tourist destinations of Cancun and Mexico City. Villahermosa’s population of nearly 700,000 (1.2 million with the surrounding municipality) earn their living in the industries of oil, agriculture, cattle, fishing, and commerce.
Another reason that Villahermosa is so important to Mexico is because of the deep rivers surrounding Villahermosa. Set amidst the Grijalva, Carrizal, and Mezcalapa Rivers, Villahermosa is responsible for providing more than 30% of the fresh water supply to the entire country. Supplying these rivers is the heavy annual rainfall, for which the regions is known. It’s a humid, tropical climate offering year-round warm weather of about 25º C (77º F), but temperatures have been known to shoot up to as high as 40º C (104º F) in the summer months. The city receives its heaviest downpours during the summer months
Villahermosa was Mexico’s first Spanish colony, originally settled on June 24, 1519 by Cortez when he arrived on the shores of the Grialva River. But, if Villahermosa has a “newer” feel to it, it’s because the city was practically demolished by both American and French invaders between 1846 and 1864, leaving only some monuments in their wake. The city limped along in poverty for many years, until the region’s oil boom began to breathe life into the city. The town has gone by other names, and moved at least once, but in February 1916 it became Villahermosa. So the newness of this 450-year-old city is because it has been rebuilt in recent centuries. Some of the monuments remaining from the rampages have been placed on display in local museums.
A modern city, Villahermosa has a variety of cultural and geographical attractions that are worth seeing or taking part in and visitors will find plenty of things to keep them entertained.
Attractions & Things To Do in Villahermosa
Yumka – an interesting natural recreational area located where visitors can interact with nature and Tabasco’s ecosystems. The area covers 101 hectares of flora and fauna featured in sections of forest, lagoon and savannah (grassland in a tropical area). The wonderful features of the Yumka are too numerous to list. But, a few items visitors can enjoy are an incredible orchid nursery showcasing an impressive species variety, a manatee sanctuary, an aviary, a Bengal tiger area, and free flying toucans and macaws throughout the park.
Popular Culture Museum – displays cultural expressions of the state's ethnic group, including handcrafted items, carved gourds from Jalpa de Mendez, and Tabasco costumes.
Museo de La Venta (La Venta Museum) – features an interesting combination of fauna and archaeology. Divided into two sections, the first presents native animals such as jaguars and crocodiles. The second exhibits ancient Olmec monuments: 33 sculptures carved from basalt and other volcanic rocks.
Anthropology Museum – exhibits include a superior collection of archaeological pieces from the indigenous Indian cultures. Exhibits featuring the ancient Olmec monuments are most outstanding. Sculptures carved in basalt, cultural necklaces, funeral masks of jade, and ornate vases of earthenware and ceramic are also on display.
The Cathedral at Tabasco - built in 1963, the cathedral’s elegant columns and gorgeous Corinthian sections, is a perfect blend with the rest of the cities architecture. Twin towers flanking the Cathedral make a dramatic contrast against the buildings below. At its center, the cathedral features a majestic three-piece dome.
The Tabasco History Museum – is located inside a beautiful Villahermosa home called "La Casa de los Azulejos" (The Tile House), which was built between 1890 and 1915. This museum features a collection of pre-Hispanic and ancient Mexican items, as well as a variety of tiles imported from Barcelona, and 18th century oil paintings.
The Laguna de las Ilusiones (the Lagoon of Illusions) – is a protected area since 1995. Visitors can enjoy seeing crocodiles and several indigenous bird species in their natural environment.
Templo de la Concepcion – Spanish Captain Francisco de Interiano brought an image of the Immaculate Conception in 1799 to Villahermosa inhabitants, promising that he would get one for them, and thus began the numerous attempts at constructing a shrine to house the virgin. The first construction was more like a thatched hut, which was destroyed when the Americans invaded the area. Its rebuilding was again destroyed during the religious prosecutions of 1931. The temple that stands today received a neo-gothic facelift in 1945. However, there’s no word on the whereabouts of the virgin.