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Best things to do in Valladolid, Mexico

Written by: Kirsten Kirsten

Valladolid is the oldest colonial city in Yucatán, Mexico. The city is also called “Pueblo Mágico” and is located on the Ruta Arqueologica. The city is the third largest city in Yucatán in terms of area, but is easily explored on foot with the main square as the centerpiece. The most stunning sights of the region are located outside the city. Here you will find hundreds of cenotes, beautiful Mayan temples and colonial villages. What to do in Valladolid, Mexico? These are the most beautiful sights in Valladolid and the surrounding area.

You travel to Valladolid mainly because of the beautiful surroundings. The city itself is easy to explore on foot and half a day is enough. Looking for a central accommodation in Valladolid? Then we can recommend Hostal Tunich Naj. Here you can choose a private room or a bed in a dormitory. You can also use all facilities, such as the shared kitchen and garden. Although there are not countless places of interest in Valldolid, it is still a lovely city. Below you will find the best things to do in Valladolid.

The main square of Valladolid: Parque Francisco Canton

The city of Valladolid looks like a typical Spanish colaniol city. With wide streets built in a square grid with a central square in the middle. The square, Parque Francisco Cantón or Parque La Mestiza, is the central square of the city. This is where young and old come together. Especially when the sun has set, it is very cozy here. There are several stalls in the square where you can try local dishes. The park is the place to relax in the city.

Parque Francisco Canton Valladolid Mexico

The Catholic Church San Servacio

The Catholic Church of San Servacio is the eye-catcher of Valladolid. The church is cheerfully decorated and is open to everyone. In addition to this eye-catcher, seven other churches have been built throughout the city. The church of San Servacio is without a doubt one of the most beautiful sights in Valladolid.

The Catholic Church San Servacio Valladolid mexico

Must do in Valladolid: Explore Cenote Zaci

The area around Valladolid is known for its many cenotes. A cenote is a cave or pool of clear water usually created by underground flows of groundwater. Cenotes were used by the Maya for offerings. According to them, cenotes were sacred places because it was the entrance to the underworld. Today, the cenotes are used by tourists to take a dip in a unique location. In Valladolid itself there is one cenote to visit, namely cenote Zaci. It is certainly not the most impressive cenote, but it is the cenote that you can reach on foot from your hotel. The entrance fee for Cenote Zaci is 30 peso ($1).

 Cenote Zaci

Stroll around the colorful streets of Valladolid

Valladolid is a real Mexican city with the most beautiful colored buildings. Stroll around random streets and you won’t feel like you’re in a big city at all. The buildings in Valladolid are really beautiful and actually the most beautiful sights of Valladolid.

Colorful streets of valladolid mexico

Most travelers use Valladolid as a base for the most beautiful Mayan temples, cenotes and other cool places in the region. We also did this. We ourselves slept three nights in Valladolid, but we went out every day. Below you can read about great day trips that are easy to put together from Valladolid.

Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas: Pink lakes and flamingos

It’s not around the corner and in terms of the perfect itinerary for Mexico it’s definitely a detour, but it’s one of the highlights of our trip through Mexico. Las Coloradas and Rio Lagartas are two fishing villages on the Yucatán coast. Not the villages themselves, but especially the area in which they are located, Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, is worth a visit. Riá Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is the largest wetland area in Yucatán and is home to several flamingos, jaguars, sea turtles, raccoons and other seabirds. It is therefore the perfect destination for spotting flamingos in Mexico. Another attraction are the yellow and pink lakes that you can admire.

From Valladolid it takes more than two hours to get to Las Coloradas. Of course you can also choose to spend the night on the coast. It is best to book a hotel in the village of Rio Lagartos.

 Las Coloradas
 Las Coloradas

Chichén Itza: Mexico’s Modern Wonder of the World

The most visited attraction around Valladolid is by far Chichén Itza, one of the seven modern wonders of the world. Chichén Itza is about 45 minutes drive from Valladolid. The most famous landmark here is the pyramid of Kukulcán, also known as El Castillo. The pyramid was built by the Maya in the ninth century. There are many more special buildings to admire throughout the complex. We walked around here for about three hours. Chichén Itza is the world wonder of Mexico and is crowded. I therefore recommend that you leave early from Valladolid. Chichen Itza is open from 8am.

After your visit to Chichén Itza, you can cool off in the nearby cenote, Cenote Ik-Kil. The entrance fee for this cenote is 70 pesos per person. From Chichen Itza it is less than a ten minute drive to Cenote Ik-Kil.

Chichén Itza

Take a dip in one of the cenotes

Thousands of cenotes can be found throughout Yucatán. Some of these cenotes are underground, others are just on the surface. You can snorkel, dive and cool off. There are so many cenotes around Valladolid that it can be difficult to choose. Our favorite cenotes in this area are Cenote Samulá and Cenote Xkeken. You can visit both cenotes in one day. A combo ticket for both cenotes costs 125 pesos per person. If you only want to visit one, you pay 80 pesos.

Cenote Yucatan Mexico

The Mayan Temples of Ek Balam

Since 2016 it is unfortunately no longer allowed to climb the Mayan temples of Chichén Itza. Another Mayan temple complex near Valladolid is Ek Balam. And here you can still climb on the temples. The pyramid of Ek Balam is even six meters higher than the pyramid of Kukulcán in Chichen Itza. The entrance fee for Ek Balam is 211 pesos per person. The best time to visit Ek Balam is early morning to late afternoon. The complex closes at five o’clock and the entrance is closed from four o’clock.

You can travel to Ek Balam yourself with your rental car or public transport, but you can also opt for an organized tour to Ek Balam and surrounding sights. It is also possible to visit Ek Balam during the journey from Isla Holbox to Valladolid.

The Mayan Temples of Ek Balam
The Mayan Temples of Ek Balam

How to get to Valladolid

Valladolid is one of the largest cities in Yucatán and is very centrally located. You can easily travel to Valladolid from, for example, Cancún, Tulum, Mérida and Chiquilá. From almost all destinations you can drive to Valladolid in about two hours. If you want to see a lot of the area, I recommend renting a car in Mexico. This way you have a lot of freedom and you can stop whenever you want. You can already rent a car for €20 per day.

Where to stay in Valladolid

Valladolid is completely different from coastal towns like Cancún and Tulum. No huge resorts here and no sea, but small-scale hotels. Valladolid is a popular destination in Yucatán and it is therefore advisable to book your hotel in advance via, for example, Booking.com. We ourselves slept in two hotels in Valladolid. Hostal Tunich Naj is particularly recommended. From here you will be at all Valladolid sights in no time. You can stay here in a double room with private room. Dormitory rooms are also available. The shared garden with kitchen provides a wonderful atmosphere. Below we have listed a number of nice accommodations in Valladolid:

Read more about Mexico (Yucatán):

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