Valladolid –  An Authentic Mexican Town in the Yucatan

Here in Valladolid we found many women wear the traditional Mayan huipil — white cotton blouses or dresses adorned with bright, flowered embroidery. Traditional dress in everyday life reflects a deep culture that we enjoy and seek to find in a place.

And if you fancy yourself in one, you can buy them in the Mercado de Artesanias, a block from the city’s beautiful, newly refurbished Parque Principal, or Zocolo as they are commonly known in Mexico.


The beautiful square of Valladolid… a perfect place to just relax and soak up the sun.

Valladolid (pronouced Viyo – doh – leed) is deeply Mayan, from the cuisine — sweet and spicy, heavy on the beans and slow-roasted pork — to the guttural consonants of the Mayan language heard on its streets. Valladolid is a place to stop and relish, in hindsight we would have chosen it over Merida for our stay. I’m not saying we didn’t like Merida, Valladolid just felt better.

Why Valladolid?

Because it fits with our love of small, tranquil places and it feels – well authentic. I know “ authentic” is a bit cliche, but I think Valladolid is truly deserving of authentic.

The natural splendor of the Yucatán surrounds the town…the flat, porous limestone shelf of the Yucatan Peninsula is penetrated by thousands of sinkholes, or cenotes, filled with fresh water and there are many to be found in and around  Valladolid.


The underground Cenote Caci – just a few minutes walk from the centre of Valladolid

We found one of them, the Cenote Zaci, about three blocks east of the central square. Though it’s not exactly remote, the stone steps leading down to the sinkhole, which lies within a cave like formation surrounded by jungle foliage, delivered me to another world yet again –  seemingly far away from Valladolid.


Completely still… he thinks we can’t see him!

Lizards and birds were perched in the nooks and crannies of the limestone walls that rose up around the sinkhole; the cool, blue water, about 280 feet deep, was perfect for diving if you must. Otherwise you can just jump off the 23ft walls into the cool blue water.

Or you could just stand in the way and pose for selfie with your iPad!

Caci Cenote Valladolid

Sorry I just couldn’t resist the hideousness of this… she posed and posed and then posed again…I’m sure she go the perfect shot.

Like so many colonial towns in Mexico,  Valladolid is laid out on the classic grid radiating from a central town square or zocolo as they are known.  And because we’re in the Yucatan, there are no rivers or hills, so everywhere is walkable, I really like that.

The zocolos in Mexico are all unique and we really loved this one in Valladolid.

Around the town square are plenty of restaurants, the town hall, and a 16th century Spanish colonial Cathedral of San Gervasio with its twin steeples towering over the town.

Cathedral of San Gervasio

Valladolid is a wonderful central hub to explore the entire Yucatan Peninsula or a charming, convenient, and affordable stop for a few nights, if you’re looking to get away from the tourist crowds of Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

Day trips in any direction can take you to the beaches of Tulum, The Caribbean, Rio Lagartos for flamingos and crocs, and of course explore numerous Mayan ruins including Chichen Itza, Cobá, Ek Balam and many more.
Although the bus system is great I would definitely hire a car next time we go there.  It would just add another layer of flexibility and ease of deeper exploration.
Hope you enjoy the beautiful and unique Valladolid as much as we did, even if it’s only for a day.
There is something very special about Valladolid that wasn’t easy to find elsewhere in the Yucatan… Maybe it was this Mum and her four super cute babies… or was it something else?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge