If you are near Chichen Itza, Tumul or Ek Balam, try to make time for Valladolid. It is a small town with 16th century style buildings. The buildings are tall, flat, colored with huge ceilings and wooden doors. Many of these buildings have now been converted into shops, restaurants and art boutiques. This town has transformed into yet another tourist destination which is quite sad because that takes away the real feel of a place. Still, you will find enough locals around dining at restaurants or relaxing in Francisco Cantón Rosado Park (the main center park) that lies right in the middle of the busiest intersection and also opposite San Servacio o Gervasio Church.
Notice how the building is a bit lopsided
While strolling through the park, heavenly smell of something being baked dragged me to a tiny stall selling fresh Marquesitas. A little man was baking fresh crispy pancakes on a hot, round griddle and filling them up with meat, cheese, fruits, marmalades or chocolate depending on people’s demands. I chose banana, Nutella and walnuts filling. It was amazing.
We did not have enough time to explore much of this little town. We walked around the whole main square, gazing up at the colourful buildings and searching for a good restaurant. Several people guided us to a corner restaurant, done up in a real vintage style, named Las Campanas. We ate there, totally tired from our Chichen Itza and Ik Kil trip, and decided to call it a day when gongs sounded at the Cathedral.
Intending to go back to our resort in Playa Del Carmen, we kept getting lost. Valladolid has numerous tiny lanes, many of which are one way. The GPS device kept getting confused. We reached dead-ends, roamed around in circles and asked people who couldn’t communicate in English. That way, we got to explore the non-touristy portions of the city. These sections of the city would remind you of any old city of India – the same haphazard traffic, small box shaped row houses, cars and motorcycles parked here and there, grocery, shoes and clothes local stores. I would squeal once in a while when an old colourful vintage building would come to sight.
I found out later on that Valladolid also has a few historic buildings and a cenote (meaning, a water cave). It would be a good idea to stay here if you intend to visit Chichen Itza, Ek Balam and Ik Kil. You can visit these places and also explore this little town without having to travel long distances from Cancun or Playa. Strolling or getting lost in pretty lanes of Valladolid in evenings would be such a bliss.