The lure of small towns

This post is part of my Mexico travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery

Unexpected two days in Valladolid, Yucatan.


↑ Valladolid’s wide central plaza and pastel walls

I had made ambitious plans for my last few days in Mexico: to see two archeological sites Uxmal and Chichen Itza, capital city Merida and the beaches of Cancun. Unfortunately, the mild traveller’s diarrhea from two days ago was threatening to return and I was quite exhausted due to overexposure to sun while exploring the ruins and hitchhiking.

So while I was waiting for a bus outside Chichen Itza and a bus to Valladolid showed up, I spontaneously jumped in. According to the guidebook, Valladolid, a town on the highway to Cancun, is not a tourist hotspot but there is lots to do around it. I like small and quiet towns – great places to catch a breath when travelling on a heavy itinerary like the one I was on.


↑ Main cathedral: Catedral de San Gervasio

Valladolid (वायादोलीद) took me by surprise. A really simple town with nothing much to do but it had a certain vibe that kept you there. Getting off the bus while the terminal was in the middle of the town, I noticed that there were hardly any people lurking around. Emerge out of the bus terminal, walk across the street and buy a glass of sugarcane juice while asking the guy for recommendations for places to stay and go and find the place. Then head over to the mercado central, buy a couple of bananas, eat the greasiest tacos ever and finish off the evening with a leisurely stroll in the park until its dark and the church bells ring.

As a combined effect of the cheerful fruit sellers and taco chefs at the central market, pigeon-chasing kids and board games playing seniors in the central square and the general happiness and peace in the air, I ended up staying in the town for two nights.

↑ Street in the central plaza. It was sunny, then there was rain out of nowhere, and sunny again.

The next day I went swimming in a cenote (sinkhole) near the town, walked on possibly every street of the town and visited the ruins of Ek Balam nearby.

Given the limited amount of travel time I have per year, I am constantly obsessed with going somewhere and seeing or doing something. In Valladolid I just sat in the central park and wrote my journal and about two dozen postcards to friends and family. Time well spent; I was happy, everyone was happy. 🙂

This post is part of my Mexico travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery