Today, we are going to get lost and dream in a heroic city.
I am pleased to present you the small city of Valladolid. It is located in the Yucatan Peninsula, you know in Mexico. It is also knows and the Heroic City or The Sultan of the East. Her motto is “Cuatro Veces Heroica” or Four Times Heroic.
Valladolid is not that well known among visitors to the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Some people visit for a few minutes as part of an all day Chichen Itza tour. And it is precisely the famous Mayan city that brought me here.
See, I really wanted to take my time to explore Chichen Itza. I wasn’t that enthusiastic about taking a day tour from Cancun. First, the drive is about 2 to 3 hours each way. Additionally, some of these tours reach the ruins in the afternoon when they are packed with hundreds of tourists. Looking for options on where to stay close to Chichen Itza, I stumbled upon Valladolid. After reading some info about the city (and looking at some pictures), I was sold. I was going to stay in Valladolid for two nights. And thank God, it turned into a fantastic experience. I feel like a got a taste of the real Yucatan. I am so grateful for skipping horrific Cancun (more on that at another time).
Valladolid’s original name was Zaci or Zaci-val (like the cenote found on town). When the Spaniards arrived to the area, the Mayan structures resembled them of Valladolid, Spain. And that is how the town got its current name. The conquistadores ended up using the stones of the Mayan buildings to give life to their own constructions.
The city played an important role during the Yucatan’s Caste War (approx. 1847-1901). During this revolt, the native Maya of the peninsula reveled against the residents with European blood. History books recount how this bloody conflict lasted more than half of a century. Others claim that this war lasted about 85 years. A lot of Mayas moved to British Honduras (today Belize) trying to find peace. It is also accepted that the first spark of the Mexican Revolution was ignited here.
Nowadays, Valladolid is a charming colonial tow. It is known for its colorful houses, elegant churches, authentic food and traditional clothing. I strongly urge you to consider this town. It is located 45 minutes from Chichen Itza (you can even reach the ruins by colectivo and pay very little money). There is 1 cenote in town and 2 nearby. You can ride bikes around Mayan towns. You can enjoy the real atmosphere of the peninsula. There is something about this little town that is not easy to find somewhere else.
To get you excited, I put together this post showcasing the doors and windows of the town. Some time ago, I did a similar post about Parati, Brazil. Hope you enjoy the beautiful and unique Valladolid.