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Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The Ultimate Guide to Valladolid, Mexico

by Tsvete Popp

This post is part of the series Mexico

Other posts in this series:

  1. Is Cancún Worth a Visit or It Is an Extremely Overrated Tourist Trap?
  2. Things to Know Before You Visit Chichen Itza in Mexico
  3. The Best Cenotes Near Valladolid You Can’t Miss ~ Mexico

Valladolid is a small and colourful colonial city in Mexico and a visit should be on every traveller’s list! When planning a trip to Yucatan, Mexico, many travellers will choose to stay in Mérida. But the colonial city of Valladolid is quite simply one of the most vibrant, authentic places you’ll find in Yucatan! Valladolid is the hidden gem of Yucatan and is still off the beaten path which makes it a great opportunity to experience the more authentic Mayan culture and history.

 

Many tourists visit Valladolid on a day trip from Cancun and Playa, or they just skip it! Travellers and backpackers just stay for one night while passing through to Chichen Itza and other destinations. Not us though, we stayed here for three nights as the city is a great base for excursions to Ek Balam, Coba, Chichen Itza and countless cenotes in the area. But we didn’t use the town as a home base for discovering the region’s attractions only – Valladolid is worth exploring too!

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

 

Valladolid has been a designated Pueblo Magico, which means the Magical City, since 2012 due to its charming buildings, interesting local arts, craftsmanship, and surrounding natural beauty.

 

From strolling through its colourful streets and tiny cafes to exploring the cenotes and enjoying the Mayan food, or just diving into the Mayan culture, history and way of life – Valladolid is the place to be!

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Hotel Quinta Marciala, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Hotel Quinta Marciala, Valladolid, Mexico

 

Walk Around Historical Valladolid

 

We just loved to walk around the historical city centre and watch people coming and going! The tiny and colourful colonial buildings are absolutely charming and perfect for taking some photographs. If you don’t want to explore the city alone, Valladolid offers a Free Walking Tour every day. In Valladolid, you can dive deeper into traditional Yucatan culture and enjoy the positive vibes of this peaceful city!

 

The historical centre has a great vibe and it is more than lovely to wander around the cobblestone streets. My very favourite activity in Valladolid is just walking around and enjoying Valladolid’s architecture and hidden gems. The town has been a designated Pueblo Magico, which means the Magical City, since 2012 due to its charming buildings, interesting local arts, craftsmanship, and surrounding natural beauty.

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Parque Fransisco Canton Rosado

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Parque Fransisco Canton Rosado

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Parque Fransisco Canton Rosado

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Parque Fransisco Canton Rosado

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico
 

Cool Off in Valladolid’s Cenotes

 

One of the coolest things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula is visiting a cenote and this was also my favourite activity during our road trip in Mexico! Probably the most beautiful cenotes of Yucatan are located near Valladolid. The small colonial city is the perfect place to stay, not only because of Chichen Itza or Ek’ Balam but also to enjoy some of the greatest cenotes in Mexico!

 

The best way for visiting the cenotes is by renting a car, otherwise, you’ll need much more time and effort if you want to visit all the interesting sites of Valladolid. But – Valladolid is the ideal base to visit cenotes, even if you don’t have your own car! Many cenotes can be reached by colectivo or even bicycle.

 

Cenotes are a system of more than 6000 of natural sinkholes, found all over the Yucatan in Mexico. Cenotes are prevalent in the Yucatan Peninsula where the ground is primarily made up of limestone. In fact, a cenote is a deep sinkhole filled with rainwater and water flowing from underground rivers coming up to the earth’s surface. Cenotes are actually all connected with one another, forming the longest underground river in the world.

 
You can find the best cenotes around Valladolid here:
 

Cenote Oxman, Valladolid, Mexico

The Best Cenotes Near Valladolid You Can’t Miss ~ Mexico

This post is part of the series Mexico Other posts in this series: Is Cancún…

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Cenote Suytun, Valladiolid, Yucatan, Mexico 3

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Sac Aua, Valladolid, Mexico

Cenote Sac Aua

 

Visit Valladolid’s Cenote in The Center Of Town

 

There are numerous beautiful cenotes near Valladolid, but you can visit one even in the centre of the town in its historic centre! Cenote Zaci is the most visited cenote of Valladolid. It was named after the pre-Spanish conquest Zaci! Back in the days, Cenote Zaci was a huge cave that collapsed only partially. Nowadays Zaci has a huge gap of 40 by 50 meters that lets a lot of natural light inside the cenote. Cenote Zaci is covered in beautiful green trees and other vegetation and there are also multiple stalactites hanging from the roof.

 

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana

 

Visit Chichen Itza and Swim at Cenote Ik Kil

 

Holding the title as one of the new seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza is the most well-known and frequently visited Mayan ruins site in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the second most visited archaeological site in Mexico. The pre-Hispanic city in Yucatan and UNESCO World Heritage Site has a challenging 1000-year-old history. The most famous attraction of Chichen Itza is the Temple and Pyramid of Kukulcan, known also as El Castillo.

 

 For me, the best place to stay when you want to visit Chichen Itza, to explore the best cenotes in Yucatan and visit other interesting ruins is Valladolid! The journey by car is only 40 minutes, so you don’t have to wake up at 4 a.m. in order to get as early as possible at Chichen Itza.

 

Getting to Chichen Itza: Chichen Itza is located in the centre of the Yucatan Peninsula and is situated 45 km west of Valladolid (45 minute drive), 119 km east of Merida (1.5 hour drive), 197 km west of Cancun ( 2.5 hour drive), 181 km west of Playa del Carmen (2 hours drive).

 

Opening Hours: Chichen Itza is open from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. On Sunday all Mexicans can visit the historical place for free so it can get more crowded.

 

Entrance Fee: The government of Mexico has doubled the ticket prices for visiting Chichen Itza for foreigners. The price is now at 480 MXN which is about 22.50 € (instead of $242 MXN).

 

Light & sound show: The show starts at 7 p.m. in the autumn and winter, and at 8 p.m. in the spring and summer. It’s included in the price of admission.

 

Swimming in cenotes Nearby: You cannot swim in the Cenote de los Sacrificios at Chichen Itza, where numerous human skeletons were found but there are numerous cenotes nearby where you can. The closest and most famous one is the Ik Kil cenote, which is a pretty but very busy one. I recommend Cenote Zaci, Cenote Dzitnup, Cenote Suytun, and Cenote Xkeken – here you will find more authentic experience!

 
Everything you need to know before visiting Chichen Itza:
 

Visiting Chichen Itza, El Castillo, Kukulkan Pyramid

Things to Know Before You Visit Chichen Itza in Mexico

This post is part of the series Mexico Other posts in this series: Is Cancún…

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Visiting Chichen Itza, El Castillo, Kukulkan Pyramid

Visiting Chichen Itza, El Castillo, Kukulkan Pyramid

 

Visit Ek’ Balam and Swim at Cenote Xcanche

 

The ruins of Ek’ Balam are located just north of the colonial city of Valladolid in the centre of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The archaeological park is surrounded by the dense jungle of Yucatan. I absolutely loved the natural feel of these ruins with plants growing everywhere between the structures. The atmosphere was so peaceful, relaxing and quiet.

 

The best thing about the ruins of Ek’ Balam is that it is visited by only a fraction of the tourists that visit the more popular sites of Chichen Itza and Tulum!  It is lesser-known, uncrowded and slightly off the main tourist path.  I thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful and quiet atmosphere at the ruins being able to explore the surroundings and enjoy the incredible panoramic views of the jungle from the top of the Acropolis.

 

Getting to Ekʼ Balam: Ekʼ Balam is located to the north of Valladolid:  30 km north of Valladolid (30 minute drive), 175 km east of Merida (2 hour drive), 173 km west of Cancun ( 2 hour drive), 156 km west of Playa del Carmen (1.5 hours drive).

 

Opening Hours: The archaeological park is opened between 8 am and 5 pm from Monday to Sunday. The ticket office closes at 4 pm.

 

Good to know: Mexicans can visit Ekʼ Balam on Sunday for free. So, you can expect a bigger crowd on Sundays.

 

Entrance Fee: Tickets are priced at 211 MXN for foreigners and a little lower for nationals.

 

Swimming in Cenote X’Canche: After exploring the archaeological site of Ek’ Balam you can and should definitely visit (probably my favourite) cenote in Yucatan – Cenote X’Canche! Cenote X’Canche is absolutely gorgeous, off the beaten path and lesser-visited underground cenote in this area. There are many other cenotes around Valladolid but Cenote X’Canche is mesmerizing underground cenote that is well-maintained and is not only refreshing but a lot of fun.

 

Everything you need to know before visiting Ek’ Balam:

 

Visiting Ek' Balam in Yucatan, Mexico

Things to Know Before You Visit Ekʼ Balam in Mexico

This post is part of the series Mexico Other posts in this series: Is Cancún…

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Visiting Ek' Balam in Yucatan, Mexico
 

Trip to Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas

 

To the north of Valladolid, you can visit the small little coastal town called Rio Lagartos famous for its pinkish waters and flamingos! You can reach Rio Lartos by car in 1h 30 min (106 km).  Make sure to bring your camera with you because this place is highly photogenic! Rio Lagartos is a combination of long and wide stretches of white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and unique flora and fauna. Las Coloradas, a small fishing village near Rio Lagartos, is famous for its pink lakes, salt production and flamingos! Rio Lagartos is the perfect one-day trip from Valladolid where you can hire a boat and watch some thousands of flamingos!

 

Rio Lagarto

 

Parque Fransisco Canton Rosado

 

The central square and where everything is happening in Valladolid is the Parque Fransisco Canton Rosado! Here you can enjoy the most beautiful colonial buildings in Valladolid and of course – the symbol of the city the Cathedral de San Gervasio!

 

In the park, you can enjoy the real Mexican vibe where all people of Valladolid meet, talk and dance with each other! Every evening you can watch the traditional dance performance at Valladolid’s main square. The colourful Mayan dancers perform Jarana – a traditional dance in Yucatan. The show typically starts at 5:30 pm.

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

 

Catch Sunset at The Main Square

 

My favourite time of the day in Valladolid is during the sunset. And even better sunset at Valladolid’s main square! The sunset in Valladolid colours the square and its beautiful architecture in magnificent colours. The majestic cathedral San Servacio looks absolutely stunning during sunset – a lovely place to chill out and recharge!

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

 

Iglesia de San Servicio

 

The most recognizable point and symbol of Valladolid is Iglesia de San Servicio, also known as the Cathedral of San Gervasio. The Cathedral is located just south of the main square in Valladolid. The Spaniards built this cathedral over a demolished Mayan pyramid, using some of the pyramid’s stones to build the cathedral itself. The building consists of temple, court and facilities, with an area of 6.658 m².

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Cathedral de San Gervasio

 

Enjoy a  Mindful Cup of Coffee!

 

Mexico if famous for being the 8th largest coffee producer in the world! … And there is no doubt – the city of Valladolid is a great place for enjoying a mindful cup of coffee! There are numerous fancy coffee shops scattered all over the town. The coffee and Mexicans pastries are more than delicious!

 

Is Cancún Worth a Visit or It Is an Extremely Overrated Tourist Trap?

This post is part of the series Mexico Other posts in this series: Is Cancún…

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Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Hotel Quinta Marciala, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Hotel Quinta Marciala, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Hotel Quinta Marciala, Valladolid, Mexico

 

San Bernardino Convent

 

A great place to enjoy the sunset and the night show in Valladolid is the beautiful stone building of San Bernadino at Parque Sisal! San Bernadino Convent is about a 15-minute walk from the city centre and is located to the end of Calzada de los Frailes. The light show is projected onto the convent every evening at 8 pm showing the history of Valladolid.

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

San Bernardino Convent, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

San Bernardino Convent, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

San Bernardino Convent, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The Sign of Valladolid at San Bernardino Convent

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

The Sign of Valladolid at San Bernardino Convent

 

People Watch at the Zócalo

 

Like most towns in the Yucatan, Valladolid has its own Zócalo!  Zócalo is a meeting point and place to rest. Normally, all Zócalos have the traditional Yucatan chairs called “sillas tu y yo”. The chairs look really funny, but they are actually very practical as you can sit face-to-face with a friend and talk to each other!

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Traditional Yucatan chairs called “sillas tu y yo”.

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico
 

Try Some Local Dishes

 

My favourite activity after strolling through the streets of Valladolid is eating! I LOVE the food of Valladolid! My top choice for food in Valladolid are the restaurants located on the main square. Valladolid may be small, but there are some of the best places to enjoy the food of Yucatan. Some of the best restaurants in Valladolid are Conato Cultural 1910 (the best restaurant in Valladolid!), Condesa Cocina-Bar, Yerbabuena del Sisal, Taberna de los Frailes and El Meson de Marques.

 

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Yerbabuena del Sisal, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Yerbabuena del Sisal, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Yerbabuena del Sisal, Valladolid, Mexico

Visiting Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Yerbabuena del Sisal, Valladolid, Mexico

 

Mexico Accommodation:

 
Ready to visit Mexico? Start looking at your Mexico accommodation now while it’s fresh in your mind.
 
Want stylish accommodation you can afford?. Find the cheapest prices for the best accommodations possible:



Booking.com

 

Mexico Flights:

 
If you are flying to Mexiko it is beneficial to use a flight comparison site to find the cheapest flights. I recommend and use Kiwi.com.
 
Click here to compare and book cheap flights to Mexico
 

Rental Car in Mexico

 
RentalCars.com searches all the big car rental companies in Mexico and finds the best price for you. This is probably the easiest way to rent a car in Mexico and around the World.
 

Mexico Tours

 
If you are the type of person who prefers joining a tour, there are all kinds of guided tours around Mexico including Chichen Itza.
 

 

 
Enjoy the day!
 
*This post contains Affiliate Links. I only recommend high-quality items and services I am confident about. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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