Tabasco is a state in Mexico.
Tabasco is a state in southeastern Mexico situated approximately half-way in between Cancun and Mexico City. Known as the "Eden of Mexico", it is a mostly flat state with lush tropical vegetation, wetlands, forests, and enormous rivers, namely the Grijalva and Usumacinta. The state borders Veracruz to the west, Chiapas to the south, Campeche and Guatemala to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the north. Oil is plentiful along the shoreline and extensive operations are in place to exploit this natural resource. The inhabitants are called "Tabasqueño/as" in formal contexts, although they often refer to themselves as "choco/as".
Tabasco's climate can be summed up in two words: "hot" and "humid". The months of November, December, and January are the most comfortable times to visit, with daytime temperatures hovering between 25° and 30°C (77° to 86°F), although dew points will be high nonetheless, making the air still seem sultry for visitors from non-tropical climates.
Tabasco is divided into five regions, known as Chontalpa, Centro, Sierra, Pantanos, and Rios.
Natives speak a Caribbean-influenced variety of Spanish ("español choco") somewhat similar to that spoken in Cuba and Puerto Rico and therefore can be very difficult to follow. Few people speak or understand English, so Spanish is almost a must for the solo traveler.
Local slang words (perhaps shared with adjacent states) include:
- Asu - An exclamation of pity or weariness.
- Chamba - work. Chambear - to work. "La pura chamba" - hard work.
- Chelo/Chela - Male or female of fair skin, respectively - Mexican or otherwise. You also may hear "chelito/a" or "chelon/a". Similar to the usage of "guero"
- Ijoles! - An exclamation of surprise or shock roughly equivalent to "Oh my!"
As in Central America, vos is sometimes used as a 2nd person singular pronoun (equivalent to "you"),
Public transit links between cities are frequent and good. Transit within cities is also extensive, but the variety of routes and providers can lead to confusion.
As part of its tourism strategy, the state government of Tabasco has implemented five "thematic routes", each allowing the tourist to discover an aspect of the state.
- Ruta Aventura en la Sierra/Adventure in the Sierra Route: Teapa - Tacotalpa - Macuspana - Jalapa
- Ruta del Cacao/Chocolate Route: Comalcalco - Paraiso - Cunduacan
- Ruta Olmeca-Zoque/Olmeca-Zoque Route: Cardenas - Huimanguillo
- Ruta Pantanos/Wetlands Route: Centla - Jonuta
- Ruta Ríos/Rivers Route:
Having an extensive Gulf of Mexico coastline, mariscos (seafood) is a specialty of Tabasco. Look for ostiones (a type of oyster) on menus, as well as ceviche (raw fish or seafood "cooked" in a marinade), róbalo (snook), cócteles (seafood cocktail), and other products from the Gulf of Mexico, which are abundant and cheap, at least by inland U.S. standards.
All the Mexican standards can be found at vendors and restaurants across Tabasco, including regional foods like the Guadalajaran birria to Yucatecan salbutes, and Mexican takes on American food, e.g. hamburgers.
The state's hot sauce, made from habanero peppers and often found at restaurant and kitchen tables, is called Salsa Chimay and available in four varieties, from very hot to extremely hot. If you befriend a Tabasqueña family, they may very well send you home with bottles of Chimay as a souvenir.
Villahermosa has a mediocre selection of international food, including Italian, Japanese, and Lebanese restaurants. In other cities, expect to content yourself with the usual selection of American fast food and Chinese take-out, if that.
Tabasco's traditional state drink is pozol, made from fermented corn dough and cocoa.
Tabasco is also a major center for cocoa production.
Parts of the state have suffered a major security epidemic due to narco-trafficking in the 21st century.