Getting There & Departing
By Plane -- Villahermosa's airport (airport code: VSA) is the main port of entry into this region. Continental ExpressJet (tel. 800/525-0280 in the U.S., or 01-800/900-5000 in Mexico; www.continental.com) has direct service to/from Houston on a regional jet. Aeroméxico (tel. 800/237-6639 in the U.S., or 01-800/021-4000 in Mexico; www.aeromexico.com) and its subsidiaries have direct flights to and from Mexico City, Monterrey, Mérida, and Veracruz. Mexican discount carrier VivaAerobus (tel. 01-81/8215-0150 in Mexico; www.vivaaerobus.com) has a direct flight to/from Monterrey. Another domestic discount carrier, Interjet (tel. 866/285-9525 in the U.S., or 01-80/0011-2345 in Mexico; www.interjet.com.mx), has flights to and from Mexico City.
By Car -- Hwy. 180 connects Villahermosa to Campeche (6 hr.). Hwy. 186, which passes by the airport, joins Hwy. 199 to Palenque and San Cristóbal de las Casas. The road to Palenque is a good one, and the drive takes 2 hours. Between Palenque and San Cristóbal, the road enters the mountains and takes 4 to 5 hours. On any of the mountain roads, conditions are apt to worsen during the rainy season from May to October.
By Bus -- The bus station is at Mina and Merino (tel. 993/312-8900; www.ticketbus.com.mx), 3 blocks off Hwy. 180. There are eight nonstop buses per day to/from Palenque (2 1/2 hr.). There are eight nonstop buses per day to Mexico City (10 hr.), six deluxe services on ADO-GL, and two superdeluxe on UNO. To/from Campeche, there are eight buses nonstop per day (7 hr.); some of these go on to Mérida.
Arriving -- Villahermosa's airport is 16km (10 miles) east of town. The trip takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Once you cross the bridge over the Río Grijalva, turn left to reach downtown. Taxis to downtown cost 180 pesos.
Parking downtown can be difficult; it's best to find a parking lot. Use one that's guarded round-the-clock.
Visitor Information -- The State Tourism Office (tel. 993/316-5122, ext. 229) has two information booths: The one at the airport is staffed daily from 10am to 5pm; the one at Parque-Museo La Venta (next to the park ticket counter) is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm.
City Layout -- The downtown area, including the pedestrian-only Zona Luz, is on the west bank of the Grijalva River. About 1.5km (1 mile) upstream (south) is CICOM, an academic organization with the large archaeology museum named for the poet Carlos Pellicer Cámara. The airport is on the east side of the river. Hwy. 180 passes the airport and crosses the river just north of downtown, becoming Bulevar Ruiz Cortines. To get to the downtown area, turn left onto Madero or Pino Suárez. By staying on Ruiz Cortines you can reach the city's biggest attraction, the Parque-Museo la Venta. It's well marked. Just beyond that is the intersection with Paseo Tabasco, the heart of the modern hotel and shopping district.