No Matter Where You Go There You Are
Day 3 Valladolid
After a good night's sleep we woke up to the reality that we had to leave Holbox. No, say it's not so! Damn, we love this little island. We lingered and had breakfast a little place called Et Voila (yes it's French). I had a traditional Mexican breakfast while Lisa had a pancake with Nutella (fruit bowls included). The pancake was literally like a cake and while delicious, it was too much but the price was cheap. We found everything in Holbox to be very affordable. Alas, it was time to go. We packed up promising to come back and took a golf cart taxi back to the ferry pier. We ferried back to Chiquila, walked over to our rustic parking lot and paid our $12 to get the car out. We put 20 liters of gas in the car and headed to Valladolid. The drive was uneventful (yay) and took a couple of hours to get to the city. Just a heads up, if you rent a car, have some music saved on your phone and bring a male to male cord to plug into the radio. The long drives can actually be quite boring and this way you won't have to listen to the same Mexican music over and over.
A little about Valladolid. The town was originally founded by the Spanish in 1543 taking over a current Mayan city. The site has historical relevance as a location for the 'Caste Wars” and “the first spark of the Mexican revolution. The city is designed in an easy to navigate checkerboard pattern with a park in the town square in the middle. It is definitely a colonial town with pastel buildings and Spanish architecture. Valladolid was declared a “Pueblo Magica” (magical city) by the Mexican government in 2012 because of its natural beauty, cultural riches and historical relevance. Don’t miss a chance to have a tour of Casa de los Venados (House of the Deer). This is an 18,000 sq. ft. private home / museum of Mexican folk and contemporary art owned by an American couple who spent nearly ten years renovating this masterpiece of colonial architecture. Tours (in English and Spanish) are given most days at 10 am but advance reservations are advised. There are over 3000 pieces of art in this collection which is one of the most comprehensive and extensive collections of Mexican folk art in private hands. Calle 40 #204 at the corner of 41, just ¼ block from the main square.
We checked in to our hotel, Casa Valladolid Boutique, and we were pleasantly surprised. The grounds themselves were charming with a pool, lots of tropical plants and a nice breakfast dining area. The hotel was only 2 blocks from the city square. The room itself was amazing. It was large with 2 nice double beds. The bathroom was also very large and modern with a nice spacious shower with a rain shower head and plenty of hot water. We were on the second floor and there was a window that opened up to the courtyard. There was also a small balcony with chairs to relax and enjoy the scenery. We were pleased that the room was less than $60 per night.
It was still early in the afternoon and we decided to walk over and explore Cenote Zaci. Cenote Zaci is cenote in the center of the city. A cenote (sin o tay) is a sinkhole in limestone with a fresh water pool at the bottom. Cenotes are located all over the Yucatan Peninsula. The cenote was only a 4 block walk from our hotel. This cenote is an open cenote that is around 150 feet across and 200 feet from top to bottom. It was located in the old settlement Zaci (thus its name). It is a fairly easy walk down to the water. The water was clean, cool and refreshing. The Maya felt that swimming in cenotes could be magical, and we will not dispute that feeling. This place was amazing. There were several different levels that you could jump or dive from but do so at your own risk. After enjoying part of our afternoon here we walked up to the restaurant at the top and enjoyed a cocktail and some (really big) empanadas.
We went back to the hotel and prepared for dinner. Some very good friends of ours (Karen and Dan from Cozumel Sailing) had recommended Casa Itali an Italian restaurant that was their favorite. We looked up the location and found that it was literally right around the corner from our hotel, in fact I think that our room may have backed up to the kitchen. Casa Itali is a small place with only 32 seats, so it fills up fast. We were waiting with several other people at 7 o'clock when it opened. We were able to get seated at a small table for 2. The restaurant filled up quickly. Whenever I go to a new Italian restaurant my go meal is the lasagna which I ordered. Lisa ordered the pasta and vegetables. We also got a bottle of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo to go with the meal. The food was absolutely delicioso. Now I know why it is people's favorite and they keep coming back. The best part was that the total bill was around $25 for the both of us. Amazing.
We went back to our room. I walked a couple of blocks and got another bottle of wine. We hung out on our balcony and looked back on the great day that we had and started to plan the next day's excursion.
Day 3 Another fantastic day!