Yucatán and Campeche States: Places to Explore

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Valladolid

The second-largest city in the Yucatán State, Valladolid (vay-ah-do-lid), is a picturesque provincial town that's been growing popular among travelers en route to or from Chichén Itzá (or Río Lagartos, to the north). Francisco de Montejo founded Valladolid in 1543 on the site of the Mayan town of Sisal. The city suffered during the War of the Castes—when the Maya in revolt killed nearly all Spanish residents—and again during the Mexican Revolution.

Despite its turbulent history, Valladolid's downtown has many colonial and 19th-century structures. On Sunday evenings at 8 pm the city's orchestra plays elegant, stylized danzón—waltzlike dance music to which unsmiling couples (think tango: no smiling allowed) swirl around the bandstand of the main square. Valladolid is renowned for its longaniza en escabeche—a sausage dish made with pork, beef, or venison, served in many of the restaurants facing the square. In the shops and market you can also find deals on sandals, baskets, leather goods, and Xtabentún liqueur.

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