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Valladolid: Day Trip from Cancun for Cobbler-Made Shoes

Cancun can be an easy escape, a place where all-inclusives rule and you might never leave your hotel grounds (or beach chair). Your most vexing decision might be your next cocktail choice. But if you get restless from the non-stop relaxation it’s still possible to get a hit of Mexican culture within spitting distance of Cancun– just take a day trip.

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You don’t really need a jeep for the drive– it’s practically all highway– but it’s definitely more fun.

Day Trip to Valladolid from Cancun

For a culture-based day trip within quick driving distance of Cancun (and conveniently right on the way to the Chichen Itza pyramids) consider Valladolid.

You may recognize this shot from Instagram because I’m pretty sure anyone who has ever been to Valladolid posts this exact scene.

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Valladolid isn’t just an “authentic” Yucatan city– it’s also an artist community and expat hub (annoyingly, the New York Times recently christened it “cool”). So while you’ll still find locals dressed in traditional embroidered huipils, you also find newer shops and restaurants in restored haciendas. So far, everything seems to coexist harmoniously.

I’d hope to take a tour of all the Valladolid shops, old and new, and report on my finds. But it wasn’t meant to be. When we pulled into Valladolid we were hit with sheets of rain, the kind of rain so torrential that all you can do is wait it out.

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Foiled by the rain in Valladolid. I was not happy.

Eventually, we made a break for it– running from awning to awning, getting soaked all the while. My carefully plotted shopping map would never make it out of my bag. There was just no way we could make it any farther. So we ate lunch instead.

As we wandered the main food hall, filled with different stalls. I wondered which stall to pick as the vendors all waved us over. My friend Anne though ignored their entreaties and headed straight for the stall manned by a sullen staff that barely acknowledged our existence (Anne’s theory was that the stall that looks like they give no f*cks doesn’t have to try, so they must have the best food).

Theory proven. In fact the food was so delicious (and we were so ravenous) that I am forbidden from posting the insanely unflattering photos of us scarfing it down.

Finally: Souvenir Shopping in Valladolid

After lunch the rain cleared up, but we needed to get back on the road to our final destination, Chichen Itza. While navigating the streets back to our car, we came across an inconspicuous leather sandal shop, Artesanias Articulos de Piel. I made everyone stop and head in.

The shop was amazing– rows and rows of leather sandals, all handmade on site, and priced dirt cheap.

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Just one of the walls of sandals at Artesanias Articulos de Piel

Because I’m dedicated to sharing the shopping experience with my readers, I might have accidentally wandered into the backroom where the cobblers were at work, camera in hand. Fortunately, I was welcomed in (at least no one complained).

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Ok so maybe this guy was a little suspicious when I told him I was a blogger.

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None of us left empty handed– we picked up leather bracelets, bags and my favorite purchase, leather sandals (about $20 US). They are so comfortable (and stylish) that I wore them to death all summer. If I ever head back (and I hope to) I would pick up multiple pairs and styles. There are plenty of great options for men, women and children too.

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I wore these $20 sandals more than my $600 Hermes sandals– they were that comfortable and seemed to work with everything.

While the rain stopped me from getting many photos in Valladolid, I was able to capture this gem on the way out– and witnessed first hand the priority given to my favorite topic, souvenirs.

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4 Responses to Valladolid: Day Trip from Cancun for Cobbler-Made Shoes

  1. Shepard C Willner 10/11/2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Kristin–Are the shoe sizes in Mexico the same as in the US, or are they different? I would think they’re different, as is the case across the Pond with buying socks and shoes. What size shoe do you ask the salespeople at this shop and what do they recommend as the Mexican equivalent?

  2. John 10/24/2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Lol. Love that Shoe Maker’s picture with a suspicious look :). Nice Post!

    • Kristin Francis 11/09/2016 at 6:50 pm #

      thanks! : )

  3. John Miller 12/27/2016 at 1:17 pm #

    Lol! Your friend’s theory about the restaurants that have the best food. Will have to test that for myself.

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