By Juan Sempere
A couple of hours away from the world-famous resorts of Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, is a true slice of Mexican history nestled in the plains of Yucatán. One of Mexico’s oldest towns, Valladolid is the perfect spot for delving into Mexico’s past. Visitors will take a trip through time of sorts and experience traditions, folklore, natural wonders, and architecture along its immaculate streets.
Here are some of the experiences you definitely should look forward to during your day trip to historic Valladolid:
You’ll witness some magic. Well, that’s due to Valladolid’s status as a “Pueblo Mágico,” a government program that acknowledges select townships in Mexico as bearers of unique traditions, historical relevance, and an enchanting appeal to visitors. This town, founded in 1543 by Spanish conqueror Francisco de Montejo, obtained the “Pueblo Mágico” status back in 2012, and the steady influx of international tourists is proof of its enduring charm.
You’ll take a trip to the past. Valladolid’s architecture is the first thing that captures the eye, and many consider it a small-scale version of Mérida, the state capital that’s also considered one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Most of the colonial buildings and the classic mansions are well over a hundred years old, and great care is placed in their maintenance. Nearly every edifice has a story of its own, whether from the time of Spanish rule and the Mayan Caste War to the early days of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
You’ll eat like a king. Hungry for some traditional Yucateco cuisine? Most restaurants around the downtown area will sate your appetite with delectable standards like the ubiquitous cochinita pibil (slow cooked pork in achiote sauce), sopa de lima (a tangy spicy soup that kinda resembles Thai food) and Longaniza de Valladolid, a sausage that’s highly sought after by charcuterie connoisseurs.
You’ll get refreshed. By now you must know about the cenotes, those freshwater sinkholes found all over the Yucatan peninsula. Well, Valladolid has Cenote Zaci smack dab in the middle of the town, providing visitors with the welcome respite of its cooling, pristine waters. You can also take a short trip to nearby Ek Balam, another spectacular cenote that also happens to be located right next to a Mayan archeological site.
You’ll shop ’til you drop. Valladolid is also famous for its wide variety of leather goods and traditional attire (cotton, wool and linen for the most part), and also for fairly priced handcrafts and souvenirs. Take your time to look around the shops and stalls, the walk in itself is a perfect way to enjoy every corner of this magnificent place while you run into your dream bargain.
You’ll make new friends. It’s often said that natives of Valladolid are amongst the friendliest people in the entire country, and their hospitality is just a sample of how much they care for those willing to experience their unique town. There are plenty of English speakers around to assist you, since the area’s historical richness guarantees an overabundance of knowledgeable tour guides. So pick a spot on a bench at the Park of the Heroes, eat some mango slices while you people watch, and tell the nearest local how much you’re enjoying your time there: It will guarantee you’ll get a smile in return.
Tours of Valladolid’s Colonial grandeur, invigorating cenotes, and rich history depart from Moon Palace Resorts and Palace Resorts properties, with guests able to use Resort Credit for the tour.