Posted November 28, 2015 by Kay Walten in Mexico Destinations,Mindful Traveler,Yucatan Activities
Valladolid in Yucatan is an easy day trip, and yeah all of our staff has been there before, heck Jose is from there… but we wanted to see Valladolid through your eyes, the eyes of a visitor. So recently we jumped into a van for the day and headed to Valladolid to basically have FUN!
Complete with stops at the convenience store for munchies, we left the Riviera Maya at 8:30 for a full day of checking out the second oldest colonial city in Yucatan. We started our morning with a private tour of Casa de los Venados which is the largest privately held folk art collection in all of Mexico.
Now before you poo-poo folk art, you do not need to be an art lover to be amazed. This incredible collection is housed in a restored historical villa. Every room, every piece, tells a story from the Maya, to the Lacadon Indians of Chiapas, to Frida Kahalo and Diego Rivera.
The owners, John Venator and his wife have hosted dignitaries from Mexico and North America in their home. They welcomingly open their doors to you to visit their collection first hand. There is no entry fee, a donation is requested however. All proceeds go to local charities.
In order to get a well rounded understanding of the town, we divided up in teams and had a bit of a scavenger hunt. Everyone had different budgets for their day but everyone had money left over, so you can enjoy Valladolid no matter what the budget. Everyone came back with great stories of what they saw and their thoughts about this colonial town…
Jose: …well having some Spanish skills is helpful..but what I have learned is that Valladolid is a still a town where you can have the feeling of the true Mexico, the real Mexico with it’s people and it’s problems. It is a place where no one will try to sale you something…it is a place where you can find 450 years of history and hidden spots that have it’s own magic. Away from AC and tables full of food you will find, feel and smell what Mexico is. You could find truthful people who can only want to help…that might do the whole trip unforgettable and you don’t need a big budget to spend a day in Valladolid or get nice memories of your trip.
Steve: Valladolid is a great alternative for someone that wants to get some historical and cultural insight for the Yucatan without the need to travel far from other destinations in the area. Given its location, it is great for either a break from beach time to explore the city and / or using as a hub while exploring nearby ruins and cenotes.
Paulina: The best thing you learn at Valladolid you can’t learn on Internet or from a book is the richness of history, there are a lot of facts we don’t know and that make the whole difference, it goes from a regular excursion to an unforgettable trip, you not only learn from the city but you also experience the passion of the local people, they still protect and treasure every place and keep anecdotes fresh in their minds like if those happened only days ago, from dates to names and legends, you can tell by every guide´s face they really love the culture of this place. Warmth of people and their willingness to help tourists, from the churches, museums to the stores, everyone is extremely friendly and helpful and try their best to make you love the place.
Kay: It’s all about the food. From traditional Yucatecan dishes, tasty street food to chocolate factories. It’s easy to eat the day away.
Poke your head into a doorway and you may be surprised at what you may find.
You don’t have to drive to Jalisco for tequila and mescal. On the north side of the city mescal is the elixir of choice. Tour the tequila-mescal factory and you can sample the goods.
Old school style thrives in Valladolid.
Katie: I was struck by the variety and quality of the arts & crafts in the area. It was refreshing to see such great shopping especially coming from the coast where a lot of the stores & markets offer the same or similar items.
Marianne: You can see the real Mexican culture and traditions you won’t find anywhere else on the Caribbean.
By foot was most common for our team to travel, some smart folks negotiated a price with our driver and a couple people hired a taxi for the day which was economical compared to renting a car.
Gary: That was my first time hiring a taxi for a few hours and just asking them for suggestions about where to go and what to see. Of course in order to do this effectively someone needs some Spanish skills, but I found it fun and would certainly do it again. A traveler with no native language skills could be advised to come armed with a book of key phrases or better yet a tablet with same and translation software.
And of course there are cenotes in and around Valladolid! Whether you are a swimmer or not, its a cool natural feature worth checking out. Marianne did go for a swim that day, which is a perfect way to cool off from the heat of the afternoon.
Milka summed it up:
Aprendi a apreciar su cultura maya, conocer personas agradables que hacen que tu visita sea mas amena , admirar su catedral, plaza y disfrutar su comida tipica . un lugar que vale la pena visitar! I learned to appreciate its culture, meet nice people that makes your visit more enjoyable, admire its cathedral square and enjoy its typical food. A place worth visiting!
Insider tip: What we did not know, is there are catacombs underneath the convent de San Bernardino de Siena. Milka and Paulina were able get a private peek at what lies underneath this historic landmark.
Paulina is our concierge, and she if you want to do a day trip, we can hook you up with our friend and driver Miguel. You can contact Paulina at [email protected] and if you want to explore on your own, we can help you with hotel reservations and recommendations for restaurants and more.
A big muchas gracias to Posada San Juan. Wow this is a gem of a hotel a few blocks from the zocalo. This was our base camp for the day, and I would not hesitate recommending the hotel as your place to stay during your visit. The hotel design hold the tradition of Yucatecan design and style. The staff is charming and I cannot wait to return.
Tweet: Check out the second oldest colonial city in Yucatan – the Valladolid. bit.ly/23zuSe7
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