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Impressions of Valladolid

boston,ma.
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Impressions of Valladolid

Well, we all made it safely back to our snowy homes and I wanted to share some of my impressions of Valladolid. This is the 4th time we have visited the town and the third where we have stayed overnight. This time we stayed 6 nights.

I really feel it's well on it's way to becoming a destination in itself and not just a place to grab a bite to eat on the way to some where else. There are a number of excellent restaurants now and the list grows each time I visit. The two top places on the tripadvisor list weren't there when we visited 3 years ago. There are a few museums of interest too like the chocolate museum and the Mayapan mescal distillery. The first time I stayed there Dzitnip was the only cenote I knew of and now they are all "open for business". Great for kids. You can rent bikes or scooters to buzz around on. The shopping is excellent, at least according to my gang(I'm not a shopper myself). I did buy a guyabera though. (trying to blend in?!??). We also took advantage of a festival going on during our visit. The expoferia (candelaria festival) is massive, with a carnival that includes many rides, a bullfight ring, and a rodeo ring. It's huge. I actually got lost for a while wandering the grounds. I can't see any family regretting bringing their kids for some fun at this event. I was by myself and speak almost zero spanish but I never felt uncomfortable for a moment. I even walked the 7 blocks back to my hotel without a worry. The locals seemed very friendly and were helpful as I stumbled when trying to purchase a pastry in the many small bakeries I always wander into. I even atae a small bread shaped like an ear of corn!

But the biggest change to me is the beginning of an expat colony. The american library opened a few years back and through the efforts of Casa Hamaca's Dennis Larson and others fundraising for local school childrens programs is underway. If you've ever been to san miguel de allende you'll know the impact of the library and the donation programs. It's nice to drop in on these places and talk to the expats who are far more informative than any guide books. Casa de los venados is a wonderful visit and a great fundraiser for local youth. A group of people recently carried out a successful spaying program on the stray dog population(a feature in many towns in Mexico). I really enjoyed meeting these people as they enhanced my experience tremendously. Have a beer with Dennis at Casa Hamaca, you won't regret it.

Over all the four of us had a wonderful time and we all agreed we want to go back. And wander around the neighborhoods. You'll find markets and shops many people miss that are worth exploring.

Edited: 07 February 2015, 15:43
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Valladolid
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Casa Hamaca Guesthouse
Casa Hamaca Guesthouse
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1. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

ricka, nice report; thank you for sharing.

Se diviertan!

Limbo
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2. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

You got a great pulse on Valladolid in just a short stay! Thanks for sharing. Denis's reputation is well-earned and I think that Casa Hamaca is a great place to stay for tourists looking for some immersion and a glimpse into the daily life of Valladolid.

One thing that I was happy about seeing is that there are now places to get a good late night taco. Years ago it was a much, much sleepier place at night.

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Casa Hamaca Guesthouse
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boston,ma.
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3. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

The town definitely needs a hang out bar for those in the mood to stay out a bit later. I was wandering the Candelaria area taking in the festival (and eating incredible flan on the street) and I walked by Naino's and had a chat with Mario who owns the place. He's waiting for his liquor licence and while we were talking two of the receptionists from the Meson where we were staying walked up to the door. I talked to them a bit and they and others are starting to hang out there after work. Right now they bring in a bottle of wine but they gave me the impression it could become the place to hang out. The music he plays is certainly cool and the front of the rstaurant has couches and chairs. I can't wait to go back and see how the place develops.

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Hostel Candelaria
Hostel Candelaria
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Valladolid, Mexico
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4. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

Yes, I agree! La Chispa used to fit the bill for that, but I am not sure that it still has that same type of energy. And when I was there in September, Absenta was packed both nights we went.

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5. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

I am planning a backpacking trip to Valladolid soon. As a solo blonde female traveler who speaks limited Spanish, are there any safety concerns in Valladolid?

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Cozumel, Mexico
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6. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

¨I really feel it's well on it's way to becoming a destination in itself¨

I was afraid that would happen and it likely will. I lived there for over a year and enjoyed the fact that as I was often jokingly told by the lady selling ADO tickets, I was one of the two gringos in town. I know different people have different things they look for and one of mine is not seeking out other expats in town. I have now kept a place in Merida for years which has a huge expat community but I know none. All my friends are Mexican , as they are in Cozumel. (Merida has long had an English library. And in recent years headlines in the local press of wrong doing there by officers)

Agreed with gb´s comment about getting a good late night taco in Valladolid. About the only place I knew for a late night torta some years ago was the cart in front of ADO. (he also supplied the late night entertainment--sometimes I would walk to ADO late at night and you could hear his music blaring for blocks away)

Brittany, I think you will have no worries. I have been on the Couchsurfing site for years and while in Valladolid several of my guests were young, single female travelers. One from Switzerland, remains a good friend to me now. One from Spain was hitchiking her way through Mexico---not something I recommend but she seemed to have no problems.

Sorry to write so much but it happens when you get me started on Valladolid.

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7. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

Valladolid is indeed waking up from its sleepy town feel and there have been serious injections of money in the development of the city as a 'destination'. All progress is not necessarily positive but so far, the town remains attractive and not overrun with touristy activity except around 3-5 PM when the giant tour buses on the way back to the coast from Chichen, stop to disgorge tourists. After that, everything goes back to normal. Much history in the area, and I enjoy the Taberna de los Frailes and the newer Yerbabuena for really good food and gracious service. No one has mentioned the Casa de los Venados which is a destination in and of itself.

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8. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

Brittany, I would not be concerned at all. I have spent tons of time in Valladolid alone and have never had any issues. In fact, in all my years in Mexico, I have had very few incidents that have transcended the merely irritating and become highly unpleasant. None in Valladolid, one in Merida, a couple in Cancun (due to sheer amount of time spent there), and one in Mexico City.

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Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Mexico
boston,ma.
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9. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

They are definitely cleaning the town up. One road was completely torn up while they put the electrical wires underground. To be honest though, I can't imagine a Mexican town without a thousand wires hanging off of the buildings!

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10. Re: Impressions of Valladolid

We just had a great stay in V. Not sure what was meant by "No one has mentiond Casa de los Venados, as I mention it all the time, even suggesting it to Ricka in another thread - Plus it's the #1-rated attraction here on T-A. But one thing I will mention - V has some of the best comida de la calle we have yet found. Terrific, and oh-so-tasty! I will give a special mention here to Rubi and her food cart, usually placed on the corner across fro the ADO station. Possibly the best torta (carne asado) that we have ever had in Mx. Another point to mention is that while Denis is admittedly doing good throughout the pueblo - he is doing it using your money. His Casa Hamaca is far overpriced compared to the competition - and I mean twice the price. If you want to pay those rates, fine, but you could stay elsewhere (whih we did this time) and maybe donate some $$ to a worthy cause ( we gave more to C de los V). Anyway, we loved our stay in V...it is very safe...it has not come close to turning into a "Gringolandia" yet...it makes a wonderful base for exploring nearby ruins and cenotes...and we will be back.

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Casa Hamaca Guesthouse
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