If you’re visiting Mexico and especially the Yucatán peninsula for the first time, you just can’t skip the region’s highlights.
After a three hours drive from Bacalar, we arrived in Valladolid where we stayed three nights. The city was the perfect base to explore the surroundings.
Valladolid is a small town in the Eastern part of the Yucatán peninsula and famous for its colonial architecture. People love to emphasise how clean the city is. Despite the pollution caused by the many cars, they’re totally right.
There’s not much to see here. The cathedral ‘Iglesia de San Servacio’ and the Main Square are pretty, as is the ‘Convento de San Bernardino de Siena’. It’s an old monastery built in the form of a fortress.
Reportedly there are light shows at night at this ‘fortress’. That’s what they told us in our hotel. But the information about when and where and if doesn’t seem reliable. We were there waiting for it, but nothing happened. So we decided to go the bar across from it. Well, it wasn’t too bad either.
Valladolid has a few really good restaurants. We’ll tell you about it in a different post.
I’m not going to tell you about the historical facts as you can all look them up yourselves. Much more important is that you shouldn’t skip Chichen Itza just because it’s probably the most touristy place on earth. Seriously, we haven’t seen such a huge parking lot before. And it’s totally necessary here regarding the endless amount of busses that came here to bring the masses.
The ruins are large and impressive. The whole area is amazing and in really good condition. So the real question is when to come here?
Answer: As early as possible. But even then you won’t be alone here. Spoilt by Tikal in Guatemala, the masses of people at 8 a.m. shocked us a little bit. Especially some kind of people we met there. But we definitely won’t expand on that. But still amazing ruins and surroundings.
Cenote Ik Kil
Just a short drive from Chichen Itza we were so lucky to be the first at this Cenote. Ik Kil is probably one of the most popular on the Yucatan Peninsula. Therefore we didn’t expect to find this place without the crowds.
The Mayas used this place for religious rituals. For example sacrificing virgins by throwing them into the water. Or just use it as drinking water. Somehow these stories must be true.
We had this place to ourselves for 15 minutes before the first busses arrived. The peace here was magical. The lianas hanging down make this Cenote look like a painting.
Las Coloradas at Rio Lagartos
This was my personal highlight. I saw this place on Instagram for the first time and fell in love instantly. What’s nothing special for some people was a dream for me: a pink lake. The colour intensity depends on the amount of sunshine.
When starting in Valladolid, the weather god didn’t seem to like us this day. Additionally, the dusty roads weren’t really trustworthy. When we finally reached the spot, it was hot and humid, but the sun came out and we were totally happy.
Actually, Las Coloradas is a small fishing village with the loneliest beach on the peninsula; beautiful and full of pelicans.This was the first highlight.
The second one was the pink lake. As there’s no tourist infrastructure, you definitely need a rental car to get here. Maybe there are busses. We don’t know. But it’s definitely easier with your own car.
There were only a few people here and one guard keeping an eye on people to not get into the water.
The ‘Pink Lagoons’ are artificial salt ponds. The reason for the pink colour are microorganisms which are also responsible for the coloration of the flamingos.
And thanks to those microorganisms we could take these pretty pictures. Las Coloradas gets hyped more and more (at least online), but it’s still an insider tip!
Felipe Hoil Aguilar
Visitar la Península de Yucatán, México, es una experiencia inolvidable, desde Ruinas Mayas, Hermosos Cenotes, Ciudades Coloniales y si se trata de comer, la Gastronomía es variable para los paladares más exigentes. Dediquen un día a mi ciudad Valladolid, haaa pasen por el Mercado … no se olviden de compra Miel !!