Lying in the heart of the Yucatan state of Mexico, is the vibrant city of Valladolid. Its impressive architecture, rich cultures and authentic cuisine are all markings of the city’s Spanish influence.
Valladolid is distinguished by two must-see landmarks:
- 16th-century Convent of San Bernardino of Siena; and
- San Gervasio Cathedral.
The Convent of San Bernardino of Siena is set within a glorious open green at the end of the prettiest postcard street in Valladolid, Calzada de los Frailes. If you have the time, a lazy afternoon spent relaxing on the lawn whilst children play and parents gather to chat is simply lovely.
Another way I soaked up the culture of Valladolid was watching the crowds of church-goers in their Sunday best gather and spill out of the striking baroque style San Gervasio Cathedral after mass. The benches opposite the cathedral in the Main Square are the perfect spot for this.
These two landmarks teamed with the city’s natural freshwater sinkhole, Cenote Zaci, and relatively cheap accommodation, makes this hidden gem a backpackers dream.
Simply wandering through the streets discovering quirky cafés, cute boutiques, chatting to the locals and of course, sampling delicious food was an absolute pleasure!
Backpacking through Mexico on a budget? there’s lots to do in Valladolid and surrounding areas and eating and drinking is a fraction of the cost compared to the flashier travel destinations in Yucatan, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
If you’re a foodie, then Valladolid is a must for your travel itinerary.
Local cuisine include:
- Longaniza, a type of chorizo sausage made in Valladolid
- Cochinita pibil, this dish is slow cooked with sour oranges, achiote and typically pork which literally melts in your mouth.
- Chocolate! Yes, that’s right, there’s a chocolate factory situated on Calle De Los Frailes.
For more mouth-watering examples of cuisine in Valladolid and where to eat them, read the section on Valladolid on Escaping the City: Top 5 Day Trips from Merida.
Exploring the city by foot is easy so there’s no need to pay for taxis or bikes.
Typically overlooked for the grander and larger Merida just 160km away, Valladolid maintains its undiscovered beauty and charm. Evoking the wonderful feeling of a community rather than a city marked by tourism, I wish I’d stayed longer than 3 days so I could soak it all up.