My sisters have been in town, and whenever people come to visit, it allows me the opportunity to get out and explore the region. On Sunday, we decided to head west to Valladolid in the state of Yucatan. If you have not been there before, Valladolid is a beautiful, small city located about an hour and 40 minutes from Playa del Carmen and an hour and a half from Tulum. From Playa del Carmen, you take the Merida Cuota (toll road) for $238 pesos.
We headed to Valladolid mid-morning with our first stop planned – Casa de los Venados. If you are interested in Mexican folk art, you must make a trip to this private home that is open for tours. Owned by Americans John and Dorianne Venator, the house was under renovation for 8 ½ years before they could live there. The home is filled with their collection of Mexican folk art and contemporary art, and they open their home every day to the public. The tours begin at 10:00 a.m. and are done in English and Spanish.
This was a real treat for us to visit as the house is incredibly beautiful and when you walk through the front door, you would never know you are only steps from the city center. Everywhere you look there are incredible examples of Mexican folk art that captures the diversity and uniqueness of this beautiful country. The young man who gave the tour walked us through each room, pointing out some of the most significant pieces and the stories behind them.
The tour lasted approximately 45 minutes to an hour, and at the end, you are asked to give a donation of $100 MXN ($5 USD). The money is then donated to local charities.
After the tour, we headed to our favorite restaurant – El Atrio del Mayab. This small, garden restaurant has delicious Yucatecan-style dishes with a gourmet twist to them. They also make really good basil margaritas (margaritas albahaca), perfect for the scorching heat. The garden setting is perfect for escaping the heat of Valladolid, and when we arrived on Sunday, we could hear the parishioners from the Cathedral of San Gervasio singing during mass.
Sunday is a perfect day to visit Valladolid and yes, even though it is hot as we head into May, there are plenty of places to visit, like Casa de los Venados or the garden at El Atrio, to escape the heat.
If you are interested in learning more about Casa de los Venados, visit their website at www.casadelosvenados.com.