Mexican Valladolid is a small city 200 km from the Yucatan coast, the center of the municipality of the same name. It attracts tourists with its proximity to the historical complex Chichen Itza, the Ek-Balam archaeological park, the ruins of the ancient city of Koba, the cenotes of Ik-Kil, Dsitnup, Samula, Shkanche. The road to them from Merida or Cancun takes 2-4 hours, and from Valladolid to Chichen Itza, for example, the bus takes 45 minutes. In the morning, you can slowly get acquainted with the mysterious monuments of the Mayan civilization, until crowds of tourists from the coast have come. And the prices in the local hotels are much lower than there. According to populationmonster, Valladolid is one of the largest cities in Mexico.
How to get to Valladolid
There is no airport in Valladolid, the closest ones are in Merida (165 km) and Cancun (160 km). The bus departure point is the airport or bus station. From Merida, the trip to Valladolid will last 2-3 hours, from Cancun – a little less.
Mexican Valladolid was founded in 1543 by a certain Francisco de Montejo and named after the then capital of Spain. The Mayan city of Sasi, which stood on this site, was destroyed, and the stones were used to build new buildings and churches. After the departure of the Spaniards, local mestizo natives, who called themselves Yucatecs, seized power. Bloody uprisings of the Indians, called the “war of the races”, followed. In the middle of the 19th century, there was even an independent Yucatan Republic on the peninsula, which was quickly destroyed by the government army. Valladolid was razed to the ground several times and rebuilt. Oil was added to the fire by the emergence of a new religion of “Talking Crosses”, which synthesized Catholicism and ancient beliefs.
The victory of the Mexican Revolution in 1915 turned Valladolid into a quiet provincial town, where only the tourist boom after the Second World War, which opened the historical complex in Chichen Itza for visits, returned to active life.
Valladolid is small, it is beautiful and interesting to walk along it. Fixed-route taxis “collectively” connect the city with nearby historical sights. From the city bus station, they reach Chichen Itza, in 45 minutes, to Ek Balam in 30 minutes. Taxis are available and car and bicycle rentals are available.
Cenotes of Valladolid
Valladolid has two absolutely extraordinary “beaches”. Both are located in cenotes – karst failures filled with clear fresh water. Cenote Zasi in downtown Santa Ana is shallow and open, and for 15 MXN you can splash around all day. Cenote Dsitnup, which is 7 km from the city, on the contrary, is covered with an almost solid vault, the light breaks in through several holes. Bats are found here, and a mystical atmosphere reigns. But many people like to swim in it, since the water is always the same temperature – about +25 ° C.
There are many housing in Valladolid, but you will have to look for a budget one. Most of the hotels correspond to the category 3 “stars”. The average price of a room with a fan is 430 MXN, with air conditioning – 490 MXN, five-star apartments – 4500 per day. The cost of an overnight stay in a hostel is about 170 MXN. The service is consistent with the declared “star”.
Cuisine and restaurants
The Yucatan menu is not as spicy as in the north of Mexico, and therefore more familiar to tourists from Europe. Pork, turkey, chicken meat are in honor of local culinary specialists.
Yucatecs’ favorite delicacy is cochinita pibil, roasted suckling pig. It is necessarily served with an unusual achiote sauce made from the seeds of the annatto plant.
Many street vendors sell local fast food “papadzules” – tacos with hard-boiled eggs and pumpkin seed “pipiato” sauce, priced at 55-80 MXN. There are no Michelin-starred restaurants here, but the food in all establishments is delicious. The price of chicken nachos is 100 MXN, “pok chuk” – pork marinated in orange juice and baked in banana leaves – 75 MXN, coffee – 20 MXN, local beer – 30 MXN, the average bill for tourists for a dinner with alcohol in a restaurant is 200 MXN from a person.
Sights of Valladolid
The streets of Valdolida are interesting in themselves. Colonial-style houses are brightly painted, the ground floors are occupied by souvenir shops, workshops, cafes and shops selling local sweets. Reclining chairs in the Rosado park have a very original design – people sit in them facing each other.
The oldest local temple is the Cathedral of St. Gervasius, its construction began immediately after the founding of the city. This is a classic white stone building with high towers on the sides of the facade, above the main entrance there are sculptures of Peter and Paul. It is very brightly lit at night. The Church of St. Bernardine and the monastery of Sisal in the old days were stormed more than once by the rebels, then by government troops. In the central square rises the Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria, considered the patroness of Valladolid.
On the central square, in the park “Rosado” is the building of the local town hall, painted with paintings in a characteristic Mexican style. They tell about episodes of endless uprisings and revolutions that shook this region for centuries.
Nearby is the Municipal Museum of San Roque, in the halls of which archaeological finds made in the city and its environs are exhibited.
Bird watchers will enjoy a trip to the Lagartos River, 80 km from Valladolid. In summer, pink flamingos from the Celestun Nature Reserve fly there to nest. A guide with a motorboat brings you almost to the flock and turns off the engine so as not to frighten the birds. A fantastically beautiful sight, especially at dawn and dusk, when their plumage is additionally colored by the light of the Sun.