Valladolid, Yucatan

Located half way between Cancun and Merida is Valladolid. East of this town is Chichen Itza whereas west is Cancun; north of Valladolid are the ruin site of Ek Balam and the town of Tizimin; and south of Valladolid is Coba. It is easy to get to Va

The city downtown square, the Zocalo, or central town plaza, is where locals and visitors congregate to sit on benches, mingle, and enjoy the setting. Mayan ladies can be seen in their traditional dresses selling their wares displayed on the fence surrounding the Zocalo.

The Cathedral is a point of interest on the Zocalo and is one of seven colonial churches scattered around town, the most famous of which is the 16th century San Bernadino Convent.

Valladolid has two significant cenotes (natural freshwater wells or sinkholes) on either side of town. Cenote Zaci has a popular open-air restaurant with a beautiful view of the cenote and good food. Cenote Dzitnup is a spectacular underground dome room with crystal clear water and a hole in the ceiling where a shaft of light beams down during the summer months.

Named after the capital of Spain, at that time, Valladolid, Yucatan´s Valladolid was established by Spanish conqueror Francisco de Montejo on 28 May 1543, at some distance from the current town at a lagoon named Chouac-Ha.

Early Spanish settlers complained about the mosquitoes and humidity at that location, and petitioned to have Valladolid moved further inland. On 24 March 1545, Valladolid was relocated to its current location, built atop a Maya town called Zaci or Zaci- Val, whose buildings were dismantled to reuse the stones to build the Spanish colonial town.

The following year the Maya people revolted, which was put down with additional Spanish troops coming from Merida.

In 1840 the city had some 15 thousand people. Valladolid and the surrounding region was the scene of intense battle during Yucatan´s Caste War, and the invading forces were forced to abandon the city on 14 March 1848, with half of them being killed by ambush before they reached Merida. Valladolid was sacked by the Maya rebels; it was recaptured later in the war.