Ten years ago I came to Valladolid for a night with my fellow study abroad students. It was my 20th birthday and we set out to find a bottle of tequila to bring back to the hotel only to find that most places were closed. We ended up with a bottle of unlabeled clear liquid we got from a convenience store. I believe I threw it up in the hotel lobby. For the rest of my year in Merida Valladolid was always a little bit of a joke to me, another mid-size colonial town with yes, some pretty buildings and nothing to do. In 2012 when I saw an article in the NYT calling Valladolid the new Yucatecan cool I laughed and didn’t even click on the link.
So, here I am a decade later totally charmed after 24 hours. Per the usual in these parts, Valladolid was built in 1545 on top of a Mayan town, whose buildings were destroyed and stones reused to construct the Spanish infrastructure. To get a complete historical picture keep in mind that Valladolid makes a good base to explore the surrounding spectacular Mayan ruins like Ek Balam, Chichen Itza, Coba, and my favorite, Uxmal. Cathedrals might be pretty, but these ruins will make your jaw drop.
I’m glad I returned— a little more perceptive, adventurous, and much more selective with my tequila choices.
http://www.diamantedechocolate.com/home.htm (on Calzado de los Frailes)
https://www.facebook.com/YerbabuenaDelSisal (good for breakfast)
http://tabernadelosfrailes.com (the cochinita and pie de limon are to die for)
(Both restaurants above are near San Bernardino)
La Selva, a local spot for panuchos and salbutes, popular Yucatecan snacks. Open for dinner. You won’t spend more than $5 USD. Calle 31 con calle 42.
A lovely restored colonial home now housing a B&B. Wonderful people.
Mercado Municipal (go in the mornings)
Calzado de los Frailes
El convento de San Bernardino de Siena