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 TABASCO State Guide and Directory

Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
The Mexican state of Tabasco is located in southeastern Mexico and encompasses 9,783 square miles. A land of jungle and rivers, Tabasco is located on the Gulf of Mexico. The state is bordered by Campecheto the east, Chiapas and Guatemala to the south and Veracruz to the west. The landscape is lush and thick with vegetation.

Tabasco's fertile land produces many agricultural crops including sugar cane, beans, rice and cacao. Banana, coconut and rubber trees grow in abundance.The flourishing tropical rain forests found here harbor many exotic trees whose wood is prized for their rarity. A great deal of rainfall occurs in this region and the climate can be extremely hot and humid. It is highly recommended to bring both sunscreen and insect repellent while visiting the area.

Tabasco is truly a land of water with its numerous rivers, tributaries and waterfalls. Although the state has modern railways and roads for transportation, the Grijalva and Usumacinta rivers are widely used for the transport of goods and materials. The discovery of oil in the region during the 1970's transformed Tabasco's economy almost overnight.

The capital city of Villahermosa was originally founded by Hernan Cortes in 1519. The city's location on the Grijalva River at the intersection of the Carrizal River make it a strategic port and distribution center for the region. The oil boom brought a great deal of money to the capital and promoted a great deal of growth. It also changed the appearance of the city. New commercial and residential housing developments were created to accommodate the influx of business and today Villahermosa is considered one of the most expensive cities in all of Mexico.

Olmec Head, 1942, Tabasco, Mexico
Olmec Head, 1942
Many visitors pass through the capital on their way to the ruins of Palenque in nearby Chiapas. However, there are some outstanding archaeological sites to explore while visiting Villahermosa.

In downtown Villahermosa is the fabulous La Venta Museum, an open-air park showcasing the famous giant Olmec heads. The Olmec culture which flourished in this region represents the oldest culture of Mexico, dating back to 1700 B.C. A zoo is housed here as well featuring indigenous animals such as the jaguar, crocodile and spider monkey. The museum is situated on a man-made lake called Laguna de las Ilusiones (Lake of the Illusions), so named due to its stunning reflective properties.

Another great place to visit while still in the city is the Regional Anthropology Museum which features archaeological exhibits focusing on the Mayan and Olmec civilizations.

Just outside Villahermosa are the fascinating Comalcalco Ruins of the Mayans. The pyramids located here were made from a type of fired brick that has caused great conjecture amongst archaeologists. The appearance and dimensions are synonymous with those made by the Romans, which has led some to speculate that Europeans visited these shores long before the arrival of Cortes.

Villahermos, Tabasco, Mexico
Cacao in its different forms
Tabasco is the land of the cacao bean. Many plantations in the state grow the fabulous cacao tree whose seeds are converted into a wide variety of chocolate-based food items. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the cacao bean was widely used as currency. As you drive throughout the state you'll see large cacao pods drying in the sun.

There are several plantations to visit while in Tabasco. One located just 3 miles outside the Comalcalco ruins, Hacienda La Luz, is a fantastic plantation to visit. Delicious handmade chocolates can be purchased and there is also a museum dedicated to the art of cocoa production. Tours are available and the grounds have lovely botanical gardens to explore.

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