Postcards from Valladolid

Valladolid has been designated one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos so it was calling me, “Come, visit Valladolid.” We bused from Izamal to Valladolid,

The Church of San Servacio in Valladolid’s Main Square.
A water fountain in the center of the Main Square. Oh! Check out her dress. If you read my last post you will know she is wearing a hipil and fustán.

Valladolid was founded in 1543 by the nephew of the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo some distance from where the city is today. It was named after Valladolid, Spain.

Valladolid is derived from the Arabic expression Ballad Al-Walid بلد الوليد, which means “city of Al-Walid” referring to Al-Walid I.

Early Spanish settlers complained about the mosquitos and humidity at the original location, and petitioned to have the city moved further inland. On March 24, 1545, Valladolid was relocated to its current location, built atop a Maya town called Zací or Zací-Val, whose buildings were dismantled to reuse the stones to build the Spanish colonial town.

Valladolid has 6 colonial neighborhoods each with a church and park. We found tranquility in the charming Candelaria neighborhood.
Less than 60 miles from Izamal’s Convent of San Antonio de Padua we find another colonial-era Franciscan now ex-convent and church. The Convent of San Bernardino de Siena was built by Franciscan missionaries between 1552 and 1560 in the Sisal neighbourhood.
The Calzada de los Frailes was built in the 16th century. The Spanish had separated the Mayan inhabitants from the main Spanish settlement, in what were the ruins of the Mayan city Zací. This cobbled street connected Valladolid with Sisal so friars could travel from the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena in Sisal to the church of San Servacio in the center of Valladolid.
Steve standing in the short doorway of a small restored Mayan house on the Calzada de los Frailes.
Located just 2 blocks from the main square is Cenote Zací, a landscaped freshwater cenote or underground sinkhole, in which visitors can swim. It looks so refreshing! This is one of the main things I wanted to do in Valladolid and was disappointed to find the cenote closed and undergoing refurbishment. The on-site restaurant is open for breakfast.

As of the 2010 census the population of the city of Valladolid was 45,868 inhabitants. It is a good city in which to base oneself for visiting nearby major Mayan ruins such as Chichén Itzá and Ekʼ Balam or to Rio Logartos on the coast.

A stop in Valladolid (and a swim at one of the nearby cenotes) is included on most of the Chichen Itza excursions. Large tour buses arrive daily in the main square to dropping off hundreds of tourists.

Valladolid was uncomfortably hot and humid. Walking out to get our morning coffee would cause us to sweat profusely. With very few places to get out of the heat, we found ourselves spending most of the day in our small hotel room where we could strip off sweaty clothes to lie on the bed with the air conditioning blowing over our bodies,

Realizing we pretty much had our fill of colonial cities, we were ready for a break from travel and pounding the sidewalks looking where to eat. Cooler ocean breezes, beaches, and living in a swimsuit was calling. One final decision was required. Where to pass the seven days until our final 11-night reservation in Mexico?

We left town for Playa del Carmen on a ADO bus for 2-hour ride and then lost an hour when we crossed the border to the state of Quintana Roo and a new time zone. At Playa del Carmen we transferred to a taxi for the 12-mile trip to Playa Aventuras for a vacation at an all-inclusive beach resort.

Catch up with you soon from Playa del Carmen. I plan to share the Cost of Travel for two months in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula soon.

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