Valladolid, Cenote and More Ruinas

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Valladolid was a breath of fresh air. A large enough city often overlooked by tourists who bus directly from Cancún to Chichén Itzá, it had everything we need, including a number of interesting things to see—minus the crowd. For Mexico, we pretty much ditched the guidebook. Hotels are cheap here and my Spanish is more than enough to get by. We are on our own. It feels great.

In a way, Valladolid reminded me of Arequipa. A city stuck between tradition and modernity, a noble and proud place with a rich history. Sun-drenched colourful walls, women wearing the traditional Yucatán dress, a zócalo center to the life of the people… in many aspects, Valladolid is your traditional Mexican city.

It’s hard to believe all the CNN security warnings and reports on Mexico. I have no doubt there is drug-related violence but I feel it was blown out of proportion by the media. I feel safe in Mexico. Safer than in Honduras, for sure. People are welcoming and it’s not a problem to hang out outside after dark. Like in any place, we still pay attention but again, I would in any major U.S. city.

On the first day, we headed to Chichén Itzá, an hour away. Our second day there was busier. We started by checking out Cenote Zací in the morning. Cenotes are limestone sinkholes filled with fresh water, there are a lot of these in Yucatán and Quintana Roo. I wasn’t expecting much of that cenote because it was located right downtown (sometimes, the less accessible the better!) but it turned out to be better than expected. In the early morning, we were the only visitors and the water was a deep blue, and amazingly clear: we could see the limestone walls and the fishes swimming!

In the afternoon, we headed to Ek’ Balam, a major archeological site. It’s hard to access and it’s much less popular than Chichén Itzá so it was mercifully quiet and vegetation still covered most of the site. In these kinds of places, the atmosphere is everything and wandering around the ruinas almost alone was quite enjoyable. The site isn’t that big but the huge acropolis was well worth the steep climb for the view on the jungle.

Finally, I finished the day around the zócalo for some street photography. Zócalos (main plazas) are often at the centre of people’s life in Latin America. This is where you can grab some street food (and I’m not one to say no to marquesas, aka Nutella crêpes), observe the people, have a good chat and relax.

Valladolid Cathedral

Ek Balam

Cenote Zaci

Cenote Zaci

Cenote Zaci

Cenote Zaci

Ek Balam

Ek Balam

Ek Balam

Beetles in Mexico


Mexican Bar



Selling Tamales

Drumming in the Park

At The Park

At The Park

At The Park

Three Mexican Teens

Night Traffic


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Hi!
    I loved Valladolid! The food was great and the people very kind. I strongly recommend you to go a Coba ruins, if you have time. The view from the top of the piramide is breath taking. Also, if you are in the mood of cenotes, the cenote Dos Ojos is spectacular (also Gran Cenote, and the beach of Xcacel (totally virgin and a sanctuary of turttles)
    I really wish go another time before we move to Montreal, but I think it don’t be possible!

    Enjoy as much as you can my beautiful Mexico (well… im sure you are!)

    Best regards and great pics!

    • Thank you for the precious tips! We still have a few days left before heading back to Canada, so we will try to visit some of your suggestions. And I agree, Valladolid is a great city, kind people and plenty of sights nearby.

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  4. What a great post! I love learning about over-looked destinations. Your photos are wonderful, too. And, mmm, I could go for a marquesa right now!

    Thanks for submitting this post to the Traveler’s Show & Tell over at Mental Mosaic: Even Home is a Travel Destination. I hope to see you there again. 🙂

    I hope you checked out the other posts and will leave comments on their blogs, too.


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