Valladolid, a little town for chilling

One hundred and fifty km west of Cancun on the Yucatan peninsula is Valladolid pronounced “Vayadolid”. There is something nice about this town and that something made us come back for a second time, it’s actually the third counting a one night stop at the end of our Yucatan drive. Unbeknown we must have been lured back by the Valladolid magic but whatever the reason we are glad we did.

Back in Mexico after our Cuba stint we needed a week to get things done, use the wifi, get some groceries, have a decent meal and decompress whilst deciding where to go next, Valladolid seemed perfect for that.

DSCN4584 Valladolid was featured on our blog “Great walls of Mexico” because it has some crazy looking walls if you like that sort of thing, but it also deserves a little mention of its own.  For anyone who knows Cyprus it can best be described as an old-days Kyrenia minus the sea, it’s simple and easy, very friendly and with enough to keep you occupied and entertained, it has charm plus the comforts for life today.

On the main square
Pinata manufacturer
Pinata maker

At night dogs bark and roosters crow at all hours but there’s also soothing music seeping from dimly lit bars and cafes about town. Our favorite bar was on the main square under archways with some eye-twisting floor tiles and served a mouth watering sausage sandwich. I haven’t mentioned the floor tiles of Mexico and Cuba but they could fill a blog of their own.

On approach to the main square, our favorite bar is under the arch near the crowd

No one’s in a hurry to make a sudden move but we still managed to get a lot done. In 2 hours on the Saturday we got a load of parcels posted at the post office, walked into the local doctor’s surgery and got a script for 100 malaria tablets (malaria, we found out is something like constipation in Mexican so we had to navigate past that first), then bought the tablets at the pharmacy, found a pet shop with cuttlefish to send to budgies in Cuba, bought our bus tickets back to Cancun for Tuesday and purchased souvenirs to send the girls, all for less than $30 and 2 hours. Then chilled with a beer and a caesar salad in a garden setting. Surely we must slow down…

Sunday Salsa in town square
Sunday Salsa in the town square

Sunday evening we salsaed in the town square with the rest and by Mexican salsa standards we weren’t too bad, but after Cuba it felt like we were competing in the lower leagues.

On the town fringes it can get a bit smelly and look out for big holes on the sidewalks, like entrances to Hades these can swallow you whole into god-knows what, plus there is endless stepping up n’ down of the uneven pavements, but it wouldn’t be Mexico otherwise. Further down the road the wafts of bbq chicken get your taste buds going and all is good until the next hazard – maybe a comatose dog sleeping off the night’s barking?

The centre of town is historic and neat, the buildings are painted in a range of rich pastel colours, there are little squares, archways and patterned streets making it look very pretty.

Neat and colouful
Neat and colouful
Traffic jam in downtown Valladolid

Time in Valladolid is perfect for clearing the mind and focusing and if you need advice there is a small US expat community always willing to help. We met a few through Harriet, our airbnb hostess, among them eighty year-old “Don” Thomas who is very chilled and great for a good chat. He moved here 15 years ago and has earned “Don” as an honorary title given to him by the locals.


Walking home one night with Tom he gave us a tour of his restored Casa and a quick piano rendition, that’s is the ease with which Valladolid operates. Making friends with Tom and others gave us a feeling, even just a little of belonging.

Town fringes with Mayan homes

Definitely worth spending a few days here if you happen to be in this part of the world. Just don’t fall down a hole! Malene and I said we would come back if we had a project to work on and needed some peace and quiet, concentration and beer which I so lack.


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