A Visit to Valladolid

Pardon my lengthy absence from the blog — I’ve just returned from vacation in Cancun. I didn’t spend much time studying human settlement patterns — I was happy to spend most of my time in the Club Med compound, and there was nothing about Cancun, which was first developed only 30 years ago, that struck me as worth seeing. However, we did take one day trip to Chitzen Itza, the magnificent Maya ruins, and stopped briefly in the charming colonial town of Valladolid on the way back to Cancun.

Valladolid is a “third world” urban area in terms of living standards. But the center city, serving a municipality of about 70,000, has a charm that I have found lacking in the cities of most developing nations that I’ve visited. Borrowing its city plan from the city of the same name in Spain, Valladolid has a large public square in the city center, which is flanked by the obligatory Cathedral as well as banks, shops, restaurants and small hotels — many of which are open to the air. Other than a cell tower emplanted in the square, the entire area was well kept, well maintained and attractive.

The town center is so delightful that it has become a frequent stop for excursions from Cancun into the interior of the Yucatan peninsula. We stopped for the obligatory Margarita.
What’s the lesson of the story? My takeaway is this: A community need not be wealthy to create quality places where people enjoy spending time. There was nothing arresting about any of the buildings, or even the park, in Valladolid. The building fronts were plain, and the Cathedral was not especially impressive in size or ornamentation. But the elements of the town center were laid out in a way that engendered pride among the people who live there and made it a place worth visiting.

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5 responses to “A Visit to Valladolid”

  1. Larry G Avatar

    Welcome Back Jim. You ..have been missed.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Valladolid is fine place for a de-gringoized vacation. Close to Chichen and Cobah is a bit farther down through the selva.

    I think there’s now a straight shot from Valladolid to Chetumal and Belize.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Obligatory cathedrals and mararitas.

    My kind of place.

    Hope you had a good one.


  4. Groveton Avatar

    Lack of culture in Cancun?

    Have you ever heard of Senor Frog’s?

    Hundreds of drunk Americans and Europeans guzzling beer from gigantic glass containers?

    You’d trade that for cathederals?

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Yo, Bacon!

    Friend of mine went to some of those places. He drank too much tequila and signed a contract to buy property.
    Then he spent the rest of his holiday with a Mexican lawyer trying to un-buy the property.
    True story! You got off easy.

    Peter Galuszka

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