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Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Lansdale...
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Trip report--cenotes and sandals

We started our stay in Mexico on Isla Mujeres where we never had a communications problem. This was not so in Valladolid where almost no one we encountered spoke English. We drove from Cancun in a rental car and took the toll road which is faster and also more frightening than traveling the free road .Crazy drivers ! The toll is 241 pesos which is collected about 3/4 of the way between Cancun and Valladolid. On our return to Cancun, we used the free or "libre" highway. It is slower because it goes thru many little towns , each with it's many topes ! But I think it was worth the bumps-- each was fun to drive thru. It gave us a more intimate view of the people of this area.

We stayed at Tunich Beh which is a very small hotel, I think maybe 7 rooms. It was plain,nothing special,but very clean. The "breakfast" is not good. Bad coffee, toast, jam.bananas, cereal and , of course boxed milk. Not even good orange juice. We did use the pool once but we a little concerned that the water seemed cloudy.The towels looked to be about 20 years old !

We happened to be in Valladolid on a Sunday evening when they close off part of the street around the square. There was music and dancing in the street and people everywhere.. Vendors had set up their bicycle carts all around the square and children were eating sweets and ice cream. It was a highlight of our visit.

Our choice of Valladolid was for Ek Balaam and some of the cenotes around there. We chose not to go to Chitzen Itza because of the crowds.We were not disappointed at Ek Balaam. It was spectacular and truly not crowded .The first cenote we visited was Dzitnup. It has stone steps going down into the cenote as well as stone steps to enter the water.Since I have trouble with bending one of my knees I was afraid to go down those steps into the water. And there were a lot of people just sitting on those steps, too. So I didn't go in but it is fabulous to see . The cave has only a small opening in the very top so most of the lighting is artificial.Then, by recommendation of a bartender we talked to, we found the Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman cenote. It is an old hacienda that has a restaurant and pool as well as a cenote.This one seemed to have only locals visiting. The steps down to the cenote were cement and the steps into the water were like a wooden ladder so I was able to get in this time. It was quite an experience for us. My feeling, as we floated around surrounded by the black eyeless fish, was that this thing must be forever deep.And this cenote is completely open at the top, which I understand is unusual.

We visited the artisanal agave distillery which is right outside of town. The tour is short and sweet and interesting.It's really not much,but I'm glad we went. It did cost to go in , I can't remember exactly, but not much.

Shops are everywhere in the center of Vallaodolid and for blocks on end as you drive away from the square. We purchased wonderful handmade leather sandals for about $20US.I think the place is known for it's sandal making and the shops are there by the dozens.And there are probably hundreds of shops selling the traditional Mayan dress, which you see many women wearing.

We didn't find much in the way of food that we really liked.It was really traditional Mexican. The food at Taberna de los Frailes was good but pricey. The two large hotels on the square are lovely but the food is just so-so.On our last night we discovered La Casona de Valladolid ( Calle 41 near the square) and loved the place and the food. But if you really like Mexican food, you'd probably love all the food !

I wouldn't choose to go back here again whereas I might be tempted to revisit Isla Mujeres. But we enjoyed seeing a different side of Mexico. And before I go , let me warn you that getting google map directions around this part of the world seems to be hit and miss.And street addresses on websites can be completely wrong ! So.... rent a car and drive at you own peril !! Or maybe just call a cab !!!

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Valladolid, Mexico
Colo Spgs
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1. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Or get the Mayan Adventure map from

cancunmap.com

Lansdale...
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2. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Co-pilot- If I had known we would go to Valladolid I would have . But we went to Isla Mujeres with no planned date to leave and didn't know where else we might end up ! But it was great fun regardless of getting lost more than once !

Plattsmouth...
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3. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Thank you Cherokee!

Colo Spgs
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4. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

"We drove from Cancun in a rental car and took the toll road which is faster and also more frightening than traveling the free road .Crazy drivers !"

I drove that road last year to see Ek Balam and then the road had few vehicles. Two lanes each way I believe. I never had any safety concerns.

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5. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

A fair and balanced trip report. It sounds like you really explored Valladolid and environs. Thanks for sharing.

Valladolid isn't for everybody, but for that matter, exploring outside the tourist zones isn't for everybody either. Once you leave Cancun and the coast, English-speakers are harder to find, the food and lifestyle become more traditional Yucatecan. The one exception is Merida, where you will find some English and a diversity of restaurants.

Your trip reminded me of my first visits to Yucatan. I know what you mean about crazy drivers on the Cuota or toll road. I'd be cruising at 120 kmh, and someone in an SUV would blast by me as if I was standing still.

Glad you had a good time!

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6. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Its nice you got away from the touristy Isla and saw more of the real Mexico. The traffic does sometimes pass you at high speed on the toll road but its the same all over Mexico. It really doesnt frighten me, I just move along at the speed limit.

Nice you chose Ek Balam to visit. In my opinion, one of the areas best sites.

Valladolid does have good choice in handmade sandals. Its also where all my Mexican friends buy their silver or gold jewelry.

Lansdale...
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7. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Robert - I had noted from your suggestions on this forum about the jewelry. But the nicer stores we found seemed to have the same stuff I can find here in the States. Maybe the prices were better but I was looking for the one-of-a-kind silver I had found in a store on Isla.And actually their things were from Taxco.

Limbo
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8. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Mayans usually wear more gold than silver for some reason...so Valladolid is a better choice for gold.

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9. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Yes , gb is correct. I should have said that when I recommended Valladolid for jewelry. Now that I think of it, I think my Mexican friends only buy gold there.

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10. Re: Trip report--cenotes and sandals

Most of the usual silver trinkets seen in tourist areas are indeed from Taxco; the exception being the very fine "filigrana" silver jewelry that the Yucatan is famous for.

Nice trip report!

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