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Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

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Raleigh, North...
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Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

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.

Raleigh, North...
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11. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

!!??104??!! wow. that is nuts. I didn't know we were talking that kind of heat. that must be doubly uncomfortable in a city? Bummer! does it cool off at night any?

I guess we will just stay down at the shore and when we make it back to Mexico, we can go inland. sadly, June is the only time we can get away this year.

Cozumel, Mexico
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12. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

Tonights low is forecast to be 74.

Edmonton, Alta.
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13. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

I vote for Merida as well. I stayed over night in Valladolid a few years ago-very small town. But they do have cenotes close by. I am in Progreso right now and we go to Merida every 2nd day to shop or eat. Both Valledolid & Merida will be very hot in June. Yesterday it was 110 in Merida. At the beach in Progreso it is about 10 degrees cooler.

Cozumel, Mexico
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14. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

I lived in Valladoid for about one year. A nice, interesting town but not a lot to do. It is not too small--about 100,000 people in the municipality but still not a huge choice of restaurants, etc. Yesterday´s official high in Merida was 103.

Raleigh, North...
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15. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

So we have a little one that doesnt do too well for long periods in the heat. Really jazzed up about this area though. Want to make it work (but be sensible) and moving our dates is not doable.

I looked at some historical trends on a couple sites, for Merida in June and it looks like the average high is 95 degrees. And average low is 74. So mid-90's is a bit more manageable. And it looks like there is decent cooling at night, maybe due to topography (steppe) or winds or something? so that (Seems like) good news. here in the Carolinas in summer its hot during the day - but not THAT hot. The real problem here is, it doesn't cool of - it'll be 90 at day and 79 at night.

So I am guessing the big market/Sunday events in Merida would be in the morning and the evening? And in the heat of the afternoon is a little more of a siesta type of deal? Is that true? Or maybe it goes all day and we just adopt that schedule for ourselves. hit the pool or something from Noon-4.

If so, that may still work. I just cannot envision trying to "See the sights," walking around in a busy city of 1MM people in the middle of the day if its 99/100 degrees every day. thoughts?

Cozumel, Mexico
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16. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

As I mentioned earlier , some Sunday events , such as the bicycle route, are morning events. But many Sunday events are mid day and still well attended. Not by me--I am usually indoors in the air conditioning either where I stay or at the mall or cinema. Really the big market is open any day , all day. It is busiest, I find, in the early morning hours.

The people in Merida do well in adapting. I was noticing yesterday in the center, that sidewalks on the sunny side were deserted but packed on the shady side. Where you will always find me. Your idea of siesta or pool at mid day is a good one. I really think you will be ok by being flexible and making minor adjustments to your schedule.

Vancouver
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17. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

My younger daughter isn't good in the heat either (she was 10 when we were in Merida), so we always employ siesta hours. Do some walking around in the morning, lunch, then back to the hotel for the pool or an air conditioned room to rest in until it's dark.

I think the only thing you have to worry about banker's hours for are museums. We did enjoy the Governor's palace (right at the main plaza) and the Anthropology and History museum, but that was air conditioned. If you're willing to make use of taxis if you're too hot to walk, I think it's definitely doable.

One of the things I enjoy most about Mexican culture is that it's common for multi generational families to be out together at night. There are always plenty of small kids running about playing in the plazas or malecons til quite late.

Cozumel, Mexico
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18. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

¨ There are always plenty of small kids running about playing in the plazas or malecons til quite late.¨

Agree, it is nice to see. And most Mexicans, including children, are late night people. Way past my bedtime, ha ha.

Raleigh, North...
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19. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

I love the sound of the late night familial mingling (paseo style). I saw that in Madrid and Seville and its so nice.

if folks are out late then that sounds like the deal - up fairly early to walk around town, do some shopping at the Sunday market. lunch....nap or a swim. then back out around 6 or so to enjoy some color, late dinner...I think I heard there is generally some kind of music at night on Sundays? thanks, all!

Merida, Mexico
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20. Re: Valladolid or Merida with kids.....

Couple of tips:

The Casa de Montejo is a museum like house that can be toured in about 10 minutes so your kids won't die of boredom. The best part of it though, is that it is icily air conditioned. Very nice!

Any OXXO convenience store is a source of liquid refreshments and A/C. Dip into one when you see it, have some local refresco (they sell jamaica and horchata now) and cool off.

Midday siestas and pool time is a great idea.

The Santa Lucia area offers several restaurant options ranging from Dairy Queen to La Tratto to La Chaya Maya to Apoala the latter of which might be too upscale for family dining. Rafaellos makes a fabulous Italian thin crust pizzza and is on the corner of 60 and 49. El Trapiche is some folks go-to restaurant for cheap local fare.

Avoid the sketchy places right on the square except for Sorbeteria Colon, which has sherbets made with local fruit - try the coconut.