Vibrant hues, lively music, and some of the best food you’ll ever eat. Especially when you actually venture OUTSIDE of those resort gates and dive into the REAL Mexico.
Mexico auténtico, as the locals would say.
And perhaps no place we ventured during our April media trip to Yucatán embodies authentic Mexico more than Valladolid.
Just a short distance from the majestic ruins of Ek Balam (and a stone’s throw from Chichen Itza), this heralded “Pueblo Mágico” or magic village, is a sight to be seen.
Pueblos Mágicos are designated by the Mexican Tourism Board and are comprised of a select group of towns across Mexico whose cultural, natural, and/or historical significance have been deemed “magical”.
The sort of towns those who crave authentic travel experiences gravitate to.
The sort of places you’ll fall madly in love with.
Like magical Valladolid.Before even getting a peak at the town itself we stopped at El Meson del Marques (the BEST hotel in town according to our local guides) for lunch first.
Hey, we’d climbed A LOT of Mayan ruins that day and had worked up quite the appetite.The hotel has a beautiful restaurant nestled right off the main city square. After touring around the property a little, we found a cozy place to sit and ordered lunch.
Isn’t the decor in this private room just beautiful? First we started off with Sopa de Lima, a lime-infused chicken soup very similar to the Tlalpeño Soup I had last year in Tulum and which I recreated for the blog last summer (it’s a great vegetarian take on this Mexican classic!).For such a simple soup it packs a huge punch of flavor — especially since it’s made with such fresh limes!
Next came our entrées: Yucatán-style pulled pork (better known as Cochinita Pibil),the traditional sausages of Valladolid (la tradicional longaniza de Valladolid), a house specialty,and these Papadzules, a dish unique to the Yucatán.Resembling enchiladas, papadzules consist of corn tortillas dipped in a sauce of pepita (pumpkin seeds) filled with hard-boiled eggs, and garnished with a cooked tomato-pepper sauce
It’s a bizarre dish to be sure…
But one you should seek out at least one during your next trip to Yucatán if only because you’ll never find them anywhere else!After lunch we headed out towards the main city square to have a look around.Stopping to admire the hotel’s beautiful fruit cart on our way out. Exploring Vallodid feels very much like stepping into another world. The sort of authentically beautiful place that photographers like Simeon and I just can’t resist shooting. The city is vibrant, colorful, and lively. Not to mention magical.So many beautiful colors and colonial buildings to shoot! Everything in the town centers around this main cathedral of the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena.Which soars above the rest of this small town with its impressive, spanish colonial facade.It’s a busy cathedral with lots of activity as people enter and exit.
And a peek inside is definitely recommended — isn’t the interior surprisingly light and modern almost?The main city square just in front of the cathedral is full of its own hustle and bustle too.Complete with beautiful benches,and plenty of food vendor carts around.
We fell particularly in love with this dish Seth discovered:
LOVING #VALLADOLID if for nothing else than Marquesita de Cajeta…the love child of a crepe and a waffle stuffed with caramel!!!! Street food in the #yucatan is on another level! #marquesitas #yucatanturismo #yucatan #visityucatan #fulltimeemotion #yucatanfulltimeemotion #lifedoesnotsuck #valloldolid #streetfood #cajeta cc: @yucatanturismo #chicityfoodietravels #ccftravels #ccfyucatan #chicagotakesmexico
Walking around town with one of Seth’s crepes is easily one of delicious experiences I’ve had, both culinarily and inspirationally.
Everywhere you turn this town surprises you. It feels almost like old-world Havana meets Mexican food mecca.And being a magic city, the town itself is a true riot of color on every corner.
I was especially smitten with the pink buildings (remember when I fell head-over-heels for Mérida’s Rosas y Xocolate?).
And thankfully there were PLENTY of pink buildings to shoot!Oh hey, Erin!
We shot to our heart’s content in the glow of the afternoon golden hour, munching on rolled crepes as we went. It was a beautifully colorful and cultural way to end our day at Ek Balam and is exactly the magical place you’re looking for if you’re searching for an authentic, non-cliché day in Yucatán.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary visit to Valladolid through the Mexican Board of Tourism to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are ALWAYS my own.