Family (me, wife and two boys ages 8 and 10) are making a trip to Yucatan in early June. 8-9 days on Tulum beach as the kids’ first international trip. Lucky dogs – I didn’t leave the US until I was nearly 27.
Anyhow….the beach will be great, but we wanted to add a couple (2-3) days on the backside to visit one colonial town. Merida (MD) and Valladolid (VD) sound great. Dates are not set but trending it could be a Sunday/Monday night deal. Drive inland from Tulum and back over to Cancun to fly out. Probably going to have been to Coba already, but may hit Chichen Itza while inland. Guessing we will be cenote’d out by the time we get inland. So more or less just going to be staying around town. Not a ton of sidetrips planned from our base in either MD or VD.
So we like architecture, strolling squares, light shopping for antiques, local art and wears. Mommy and I will want to have some drinks but nowhere either too fancy nor too touristy. We love markets and live music/events….but not formal concerts per se (more like public, open air stuff)….. Basically we like to try to blend in and feel “local.” Eat local (street food is cool); that type of stuff. Took the kids to Puerto Rico a few years back and by accident happened to be staying on Vieques during their local patron Saint festival. Was really cool to just get sucked up into a neighborhood and feel a part of something. And still feel safe.
Anyhow…Valladolid looks really quaint. And manageable being we will be there only 2 days maybe. Sounds like it has great local shopping and food and gets a lot of “up and coming” and “next big thing” nods which I like. Yet the same restaurant (or two) and the same leather goods and art store (or two) get mentioned over and over. So is this really a case of like 2 or 3 blocks of interesting stuff around the square and then it peters out real quick? Reviews are mainly glowing…and people that seem to prefer MD over VD seem to fall in two categories: younger (so want more of a city with clubs and more going on) or they are from Mexico (they may not want a “little slide of old Mexico” since they are natives).
Merida seems to have also great architecture. And has a market day (Sunday?) that sounds fun. But I want to make sure its not too much of either tourist market (with junk) but would have some good local art or snacks….second hand stuff. Sounds like lots going on…live music in squares and such. MD also has a Million people. It’s a City. So is it manageable for 2-3 days? But I have also seen people that say its “gotten too big, crazy” or is “sprawling.” Is there like a mini-Valladolid neighborhood section we could just plop down into in Merida that won’t feel like a city?
VD sounds like you can drop into town and soak in some local color real quick. No hassles. But I don’t want to be stuck staring at each other in the park every night in VD because it shuts down at 8PM. And while MD I assume has many more good restaurants and festivities, I am not in Mexico for the club scene (this trip anyway). Just don’t have much interest being in a big City where stuff is all too spread out to even enjoy or is too much of a headache to get in/out of.
Has anyone done either/both with kids? At only 2 days or so, I want to pick one (only); any input is appreciated.