Smack-dab in between Cancun and Mérida lies Yucatan’s third largest city Valladolid, often overlooked by travelers passing through. Like so many cities in the Yucatan, Mayan and Spanish influence can be seen everywhere in this “undiscovered” city that gained its “Magical Town” status in 2012. The “Sultaness of the East,” as it’s often referred to, has recently begun to attrack the Tulum overflow. As the hip and trendy beachtown gains more and more popularity for its laidback, cool vibes, well-seasoned travelers are looking for the next unspoiled piece of Mexico. Located in the center of the Yucatan peninsula, Valladolid’s further proximity from the beach has lent to its ability to stay under the radar while still offering a culture-rich experience.
Valladolid was built on top of the Mayan city Zaci. It’s authentic charm is centered around Parque Francisco Canton Rosado, the city’s town square where the Cathedral of San Gervasio towers high and serves to be a great sight to see. From the town’s center square, pastel-painted haciendas, like washed-out Easter eggs, stretch out down roads filled with traditional Mayan finds. Nearby, Cenote Zaci is a short three blocks east from the central square and makes for an easy day-adventure. The sinkhole is 280 feet of pure refreshment. For an intoxicating experience, visit Coqui Coqui Perfumeria, located on Calzada de los Frailes, that holds a perfumery, showroom, spa and guest suite. The fragrances are created on-site and and are a unique blend of old Franciscan-monk formulas mixed with ingredients commonly found in Mayan medicines. Any well-seasoned Tulum traveler will recognize the name of the perfumery; the owners, Francesca Bonato and Nicolas Malleville, found the rustic Coqui Coqui Tulum Residence & Spa where Malleville first experimented with the fragrant concoctions. Find perfumes with notes like tropical agave, tobacco and sandalwood.
A common food typical to this region is habanero peppers and pork, so expect to fill your stomach with dishes that heavily incorporate these ingredients. A particularly popular restaurant that serves up plenty of Yucatecan food is Hosteria del Marqués which is located inside hotel Mesón del Marqués. Another hot spot is Taberna de los Frailes, an open-air garden restaurant that overlooks the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena. The New York Times even claimed there’s no better place for Yucatecan food than here, so come hungry. For a classic Italian experience of pizza, pasta, and other traditional dishes try Casa Italia, located in Parque de la Candelaria.
For lodging, consider staying at the elegant and romantic 90-room Mesón del Marqués. Located in the heart of the city, this hotel has a swimming pool, gorgeous gardens and a typical Mexican style, along with its popular restaurant Hosteria del Marqués.
For more information, visit: visitmexico.com/en/main-destinations/yucatan/valladolid