The small state of Tabasco lies wedged on Mexico’s steamy southern Gulf coast, where numerous large and small rivers snake their way across the coastal plains, creating a vast network of lagoons and wetlands, and rich agricultural country.
Villahermosa, situated on the banks of the Rio Grijalva and the centre of the country’s oil industry, is a modern city of tree-shaded boulevards and sprawling parks, thanks in large part to the oil boom. The enigmatic Olmec culture flourished around 1500BC along the state’s western border with Veracruz, and Parque La Venta in Villahermosa features an open-air archaeological museum showcasing important stone relics from the Olmec civilisation, including mysterious huge stone heads weighing up to 20 tonnes.
Away from the city, areas of interest include the Mayan archaeological site of Comalcalco and traditional cacao plantations. Villahermosa has a regional airport offering easy connections with Mexico City and Merida, and the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Chiapas are just 2.5 hours’ drive away.