Take Your Spouse to Valladolid for an Anniversary Weekend to Rekindle Romance
Take Your Spouse to Valladolid for an Anniversary Weekend to Rekindle Romance
When most think of romantic getaways on which to spend their anniversary, they often think of European destinations like Paris, Rome, and London. However, the perfect destination for your anniversary trip might be much closer than you think – Valladolid, Mexico.
Valladolid, the largest city in the heart of the Yucatan, is central to beauty in the form of ancient cenotes and a landscape painted with Mayan ruins. Quaint, calm, and beautiful, Valladolid is ideal as an anniversary destination.
The reasons why are myriad, and range from romantic relaxation to adventurous exploration. No matter where you go or what you do, you’ll be greeted by one of the most beautiful backdrops in the western world, complete with engaging locals, breath-taking history, incomparable food, and one of the most pleasant surprises you could have while traveling.
How To Get There
Most couples traveling to Valladolid will find themselves flying into Cancun, about three hours northeast. From Cancun, there are multiple choices in how you get to Valladolid including bus, private transfer, or rental car. A preferred method for many travelers is to rent a car, as the numerous sites to visit around Valladolid will make you want to be as flexible as possible.
Once in Valladolid, you’ll be within a short drive of multiple locations that will bring out the adventurer as well as the romantic in each of you, from the awe-inspiring shores of Tulum to the cool waters of the cenotes in and around Valladolid. Additionally, Valladolid is central to Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, two of the most notable Mayan ruin locations and places that should unquestionably be a part of your travel itinerary.
What To Do In Valladolid
In addition to seeing the areas around Valladolid, you want at least a couple of days to simply explore what downtown Valladolid has to offer. Home to some of the most beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan, Valladolid is also the scene of world-class dining, romantic sunsets, and local markets full of authentic goods and soothing afternoon strolls.
Make sure to spend your time in Valladolid in slow motion, as it’s a city that is ideal for casual moments between couples simply sitting, enjoying a beverage, and watching the day pass by. While the temptation will be to move fast and see everything there is to see, you want to make sure to take the opportunity to simply chat while letting the vibe of Valladolid take you over.
In the city center, at the Plaza y Parque Francisco Canton, nearly every night there is a gathering that can’t be missed. Often, locals engage in music and dance that is local to the area while honoring Yucatan culture. These gatherings are touching as well as entertaining, and are perfect for setting the stage in late afternoons for great nights. In fact, Valladolid is ideal for couples seeking time to connect. As the nights set and the streets clear, revelers give way to clean streets and songbirds playing midnight tunes for those on a casual stroll.
By day, however, you want to be out in the enveloping Mexican sun jumping hand-in-hand in ancient cenotes or browsing small shops throughout the city center. Valladolid comes alive as the sun rises, and the local energy comes to a driving crescendo. If the sun begins to bear on you, there’s plenty of places to take repose. No matter where you stop, there’s a cold drink and some of the most delicious food available anywhere waiting for you.
El Atrio del Marab
For the ideal ending to any date night in Valladolid, you’ll want to visit El Atrio del Mayab, in the city plaza. The outdoor seating area at the back of El Atrio is idyllic, with soothing fountains and ivy-covered rock walls reminiscent of a secret garden. The setting is calm and romantic, and is a place to truly savor your experience in Valladolid, and is one of the most romantic in the city.
Exploring Around Valladolid
Valladolid will pull out the adventurer in you, as its location is perfectly situated among Mayan ruins and cenotes. Less than a half-mile from the central plaza is Cenote Zaci, one of the largest cenotes in the Yucatan and the sight of cliff-diving competitions of up to fifty feet! Once you have both gotten a feel for swimming in cenotes, finish off your visit to Zaci by having a casual lunch at the onsite restaurant which offers local Yucatan fare.
Nearby are two other cenotes definitely worth visiting – X’Keken and Samula. These cenotes, located only five minutes’ drive from downtown, offer a different profile of cenote with partially caved ceilings allowing only the thinnest whisper of light down into the cenote interior. Ideal for romantic selfies in the crisp waters, X’Keken and Samula are on the same grounds, no more than a few hundred yards from each other.
From Valladolid, the nearest major Mayan ruin site is at Ek Balam. Explorative couples can travel here to climb Mayan pyramids, swim in cenotes, and take pictures of a truly grand Mayan concept. The primary pyramid stretches high above the Mayan wilderness, and the climb is worth the work. As you sit above the canopy, the rolling Yucatan lays out before you in a seemingly never-ending sheet of bold green. Mound after mound rises from the landscape, many of which are undiscovered pyramids yet to be reached and excavated through the dense forest.
From here, the energy and power of the Yucatan is palpable, and perfect for couples seeking a re-connective experience.
Slightly further from Valladolid is Chichen Itza – the grandfather of all Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. Traveling from Valladolid to Chichen Itza, though not far, takes you through areas of pure wilderness leading to small towns that are great for a roadside meal and a look around for locally made bags and souvenirs. These aren’t your stereotypical souvenirs, however, as the locals display tireless talent at creating hand-made goods such as wood-carvings, purses, bags, and clothing.
Chichen Itza is massive, and something that features the most well-known structures in Mayan lore. From the Mayan Ballcourts and the Temple of the Warriors to the Pyramid of Kukulkan, it’s a must-see attraction in the Yucatan that will overwhelm and overpower you.
Tulum Aerial Beach View
Those with extra time and willing to drive a bit further can travel east to Tulum, an utterly stunning beachside ruin with resorts and local hotels surrounding. The azure waters of the Caribbean slam against the rocky cliffs under Tulum as couples walk side-by-side on the stark-white sands, and the thought occurs that “these Mayans had the right idea”. Tulum is one of the most beautiful locations in all the Caribbean, and features the Grand Cenote just a few miles away.
No matter where or how far you decide to venture, Valladolid remains a short distance away and beckons you back after a long day of exploring.
The Ideal Anniversary
Valladolid is the heart of the broader Yucatan lands, perfect for any couple looking for a romantic get-away in one of the most beautiful, moving, and unspoken-of locations in the world. Valladolid is truly ideal for any couple, whether adventurous travelers or those looking for a more casual destination. Those looking to climb pyramids or swim in ancient waters have their place, as do those seeking a romantic evening and a meal to remember. So, scrap your plans for Europe this anniversary. Let Paris wait. Valladolid is what you want, and what every couple needs – a romantic get-away that moves and connects.
Tracy, along with husband Justin, are the owners and writers for a popular travel blog called "A Couple for the Road". Their website is a couple's travel blog that focuses on food, drink, and culture written from a personal and artistic perspective for the avid traveler.