“Valladolid is a great base for exploring Chichen Itza and other nearby Mayan ruins.”
I’ve written before that there is too much hype and expectation around the world’s most famous attractions. But the opposite could be said of the towns and cities that surround them, which are written off as bases: places that offer convenient access to well-known visitor sites – but are uninteresting in themselves.
This was roughly my expectation for Valladolid. I had a cunning plan to stay the night, wake up early and catch a bus to Chichen Itza – beating the onslaught of tourists travelling from Cancun. I considered that I might visit the nearby Ek Balam ruins the same day – or perhaps early the following morning. And then I’d move swiftly on. Nothing more to see here, right?
This plan was thwarted pretty quickly. After arriving at my hostel, a search on Tripadvisor revealed details of a house-come-Mexican-art-collection, and the hostel manager offered to guide a bike trip around the city. Next, a new hostel buddy suggested that we visit the coastal town of Rio Lagartos for a boat trip and flamingo spotting. So there you go. You spend a day in the rain in Cancun travel planning, think you’re an expert and it all goes out the window, just like that.
First up: Cenotes (pronounced see-note-ez and AKA sinkholes):
When you hear about sinkholes on the news, its generally in the context of an alarming story about someone’s house in Florida being swallowed by a hole that appears randomly in the ground. This was my understanding, anyway. But while they very much have a dark side, sinkholes can also be fun. As is the case in Mexico. In Valladolid, there are several with in a short cycle of the city centre, which I visited twice: once with hostel guy (Vallolid resident), and once with another hostel guy (who had a map). This was lucky because a sense of direction is not a thing that I have. (We still managed to get lost on the latter occasion because I was convinced we needed to go left even though the map said right.)
Anyway. Here are some pictures:
Next up: Mezcal tour
We found this one just around the corner from our hostel. It costs nothing, and they show you how Mezcal (which is a lot like Tequila but smokier because they toast the Agave – the plant it is made from) is made. And then you get to taste some Mezcal. I wasn’t a big fan of the pure Mezcal (although I would choose it over Tequila owing to the fact that Tequila reminds me of terrible hangovers) – but – the Mezcal liquer was delicious. Particularly the caramel flavour.
We – ambitiously – opted to take the tour in Spanish and I am proud to announce that I understood about 75% of what was said. Lack of photos due to me needing to concentrate very hard.
And to conclude (for today): Colonial buildings, colours and a convent.
Valladolid is small, colourful and peaceful – and quickly felt like home. I liked the painted buildings a lot.
Oh – and I found a dog wearing a t-shirt and singing. Which only happens in the best of places. Cheers Valladolid!