Things to Do in Valladolid, Yucatan - Madison Eats
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    Things to Do in Valladolid, Yucatan

    Mar 08 2017

    Valladolid, Yucatan is a beautiful colonial city in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula. There are so many fun things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan. Whether you travel solo, with friends or as a family take a look at our list of top things to do while you are there.

    Getting there:

    Shuttle service from Cancun start upwards of $300 USD for a group of 6. I recommend Islaholics transport. An aside: the ADO buses are very comfortable and affordable, and I highly recommend using that! But for this tour, I was using private transport.

    Two hours later, a straight shot through a landscape that was as flat as a pressed tortilla, we arrived in Valladolid. Valladolid is a quintessential colonial Yucatecan town, cathedrals dotting the streets, plazas filled with ornate benches and young lovebirds. Decorative archways frame wooden doors, and brightly painted stucco covers the rough stone and mortar walls of the houses. Narrow cobbled sidewalks lead you from one street to another, where old men sit in the doorways of their houses, greeting folks as they walk by, and young school children pass on their way home, batting each other on the head in the universal sign of a crush.

    Take a cooking class:

    Our cooking class was led by the women who cook daily at the guesthouse. We decided to learn to make tamales as that was something none of us had made before. The women were well-prepared, having headed to market in the morning to buy the ingredients: banana leaves, fresh corn masa (oh, how I long for that!), pulled pork and shredded chicken, fresh beans, achiote paste, pork fat, and summer squash and onions for a vegetarian filling.

    After our hands-on class, we spent an hour strolling around town, returning to enjoy the fruits of our labor – tamales with pulled pork and chicken, vegetable-filled tamales and tamales with fresh beans.

    After loading on sunscreen and filling water bottles, we walked the few blocks to Xkopek (we learned the name means “naughty dog”), a local apiary that raises sacred Mayan stingless bees, the melipona bees.

    I had selected this apiary based on its proximity to our guesthouse and the ease of communication with Jorge, our guide and member of the family that owns the land. But the experience we had there was far richer than I could have ever imagined. Jorge led us through his grandparent’s land on this 45 minute tour. He talked about Mayan culture and beliefs, the decline of the honey bees, the importance of preserving these bees and the products they use from the bees. After our tour we tasted the honey, propolis and pollen. It was incredible. The melipona honey was so delicate and floral, like a fine wine. We all bought some before leaving. A late dinner at Taberna sated us (especially the grilled watermelon appetizer and cocktails). That day stands out in my mind as one of the best.
    We were headed to Isla Mujeres the next day, and fell asleep that night, content. We explored the local market early the next morning with Denis, owner of Casa Hamaca, where we loaded out bags with fresh mango, mocajetes, vanilla and hot sauce.

    After visits to the impressive Ek Balam ruins (my favorite of the tour; not crowded and you can climb on them – all 106 steps!), the mystical Samula cenote and Mayapan tequileria, we headed to Isla Mujeres, about 3 hours door to door including the ferry ride.

     

    Otehlia Cassidy stands in front of the WI State Capitol.

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