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Ultimate Guide For Things To Do in Valladolid Yucatan

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Are you ready for the best things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan? Although it isn't as typically popular as the nearby beach cities, there are so many reasons to visit Valladolid!


This Mexican town is considered a "Pueblo Mágico". This means that it has been preserved through time with its architecture and customs. There are many conditions a place needs to have to become a "Pueblo Mágico" in México, and there are currently 121 of them!


So get ready for one our favorite spots in Yucatan. Because you will walk into a place full of history, great food and some magic in the air!


Where is Valladolid, Mexico?

Valladolid can be overlooked sometimes. This is because It is located right in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula, pretty far from the stunning beaches that line the coast. It is halfway between Merida and Cancun (about an hour and a half to each)

Where is Valladolid in Mexico

Valladolid is located in the center of the Yucatan Peninsula.


Getting to Valladolid, Yucatan

Valladolid doesn't have an airport, except for the tiny airport of Chicken Itza nearby. So the best way to get there is to take the bus from either Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum. ADO services Valladolid frequently from all of these major coastal cities, so it is rather easy and cheap to get to.


Another great way to get there is the rent a car from whichever city you are starting. This is also a particularly smart option, as there are no rental cars in Valladolid.


Things To Do in Valladolid Yucatan: Inside town

When visiting a place for the first time, the main thing to check out is the center of town! Here are some of the fun things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan's city center.


Visit The Main Plaza

Pretty much every single town in the world has its own main plaza. No matter the size of the place, they all have it. Valladolid Yucatan has a very nice one, with a beautiful fountain in the middle. So if you just got into town and want to wander around, you will find this place very relaxing & comfortable.


Our only recommendation is to go before sunset, and there's a weird reason behind. There are hundreds and hundreds of birds flying around the plaza after sunset. And they do a very obnoxious sound. It's hard to explain, so may be you actually want to pass by to hear it for yourself.

Valladolid Yucatan SYM (2)

 

Stop by the Palacio Municipal

Located just in front to the plaza, the City Hall offers free access to its visitors. On the second floor of the building you can see the oil paintings that tell in an artistic way the history of Valladolid and Mexico.


Again, a very simple and nice start if you just got into town and want to see a bit of the center before jumping into every activity this pueblo mágico has to offer.

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Check Out the Ex-convento de San Bernadino de Siena

If you're into history then this is one of the best things to do in Valladolid. This is considered one of the most important buildings in the state, and the most emblematic construction of Valladolid, Yucatan.


It was built in 1552 by the Franciscans, and is the second temple and convent built in all of Latin America. This is where the Franciscans did much of their work of converting the Mayans to Christianity.


The building itself is fascinating, and it really holds a lot of history in it. Cool, right?


Take a Photo at Iglesia de la Candeleria

This adorable pink church is located just a few blocks from the main plaza on Calle 35. There is a small plaza next to it, and a few boards with information to read about. Although we were unable to enter the church itself, it definitely still made for a nice photo stop.

Valladolid Yucatan pink church SYM, colorful spots in Mexico

Roam the Colorful Streets

One of our favorite things to do in Valladolid, Mexico was to simply stroll around and admire just how colorful it is. Grab your camera and walk down the streets to capture the beauty of Valladolid.


Things To Do in Valladolid Yucatan:

Surrounding Areas

While there is plenty to enjoy inside the city of Valladolid, there are some amazing things to do outside the center. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Valladolid, Mexico's surroundings.


Go Cenote Hopping

Alright, now that you have walked around town, it's time to start the adventure. In case you don't know, there are about 6.000 cenotes in the Yucatán peninsula. It's a natural phenomenon that you can find only here (mostly) and in a few other places around the world (like Cuba or Australia).


One of the best things to do in Valladolid is to be able to walk into a cenote in the middle of the city. But of course, we will tell you all about several of them around the area.

 

Zaci

Located in the heart of Valladolid Yucatan, this cenote is quite big & deep. The entrance is very cheap (30 pesos, or $1.30 US). Also there is a restaurant right next to it. This way you can grab a bite to eat after your swim.

cenote zaci, Valladolid Yucatan

Zaci Cenote is located right inside Valladolid.


The ceiling is half opened - half closed. This gives it a very cool contrast and shadows that will let you see the crystal clear waters and the stalactites hanging from the top of it. For this price, and being walking distance from the center, this cenote is a no-brainer.


Suytun

Around 40 minutes east of the city center lies a very unique cenote. Suytun is a "younger" cenote than others (we quote it because it has literally millions of years of age). You can notice this because its ceiling remains almost completely closed.

Cenote Suytun, Yucatan Peninsula

There's only one little hole where light goes in, and that is what makes a show around this place. Years ago, a platform was built from the side into the middle of the cenote (right under the hole). Because of this, when the light goes in, a halo of light illuminates the platform. It then creates a magical spot that looks straight out of a fairy tale.

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However, be aware that things may change. We visited right after a tropical storm that overflowed the cenote, leaving the platform 9 feet under water.


Also, we found out that the halo of light only matches the platform during the months of June, July and August (we went in October). So keep this in mind if you want that perfect picture.


Also keep in mind that although overflown, the cenote is still accessible! The only difference is that you will have to swim if you'd like to get into the middle, and life jackets are mandatory!

 

Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman

San Lorenzo Oxman is really just one great deal. Located only 10 minutes away from the city center, it is much more than just a cenote. It offers a pool area and a restaurant (where you can even have private events if you wish). As well, a beautiful cenote and, as if this wasn't enough, the possibility of renting an apartment to stay in.


cenote san lorenzo oxman, Valladolid Yucatan

San Lorenzo Oxman is one of our favorite cenotes in Mexico.

For as little as 150 pesos (around $6 USD) you get access to its open (and deep) cenote, the pool area, and the whole estate. Additionally, for just 100 pesos more, you can also get 200 pesos in credit towards its restaurant.


We were greatly surprised by the service, since it really had a personal touch. Every member of the staff was kind & helpful, and they even offered us a free tequila sample! This, for us, made it one of the best things to do in Valladolid Yucatan.


Ik kil

This cenote is a great choice if you are planning on visiting Chichen Itza. Located just 3 km away from the wonder of the world, it offers not only a beautiful sinkhole, but also a hotel where you can stay. Relax and get ready to visit the most popular Mayan ruins.


It is an open cenote (which means it's quite old). But that definitely doesn't take away from its beauty. On the contrary, the natural architecture of it is just as fascinating as any other cenote.

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Things To Do In Valladolid Yucatan: Historical Spots

Now it's time for a little more history. A big part of the Mexican traditions come from a pre-Hispanic culture: the Mayans. Some archeological places, with incredible architecture and design, can be found nearby Valladolid Yucatan.


Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is literally one of the 7 wonders of the world. Along with Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, and the Colosseum, this is one for the bucket list. This area is huge, and full of incredibly well designed pyramids, fields and a magical vibe in the air.

Chichen Itza, things to do in Valladolid Yucatan

It's hard not to recommend this place. Even though the tickets are more expensive than most others in Mexico, it is still just $24 USD per person. Since we always aim for unique things, we believe this archeological spot can't be missed out. It is definitely one of the best things to do in Valladolid Yucatan.


Bonus

While you're in the area, we found a great place to eat! Just outside Chichen Itza you will find a spot that we honestly think was one of the best meals we've had in Mexico! It's called " Los 2 hermanos" and is located at  Route 180 km 173, towards Valladolid.


They offer huge platters of grilled chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, and freshly squeezed juice. for as little as $2.50 USD. Trust us on this one, you won't regret it.


Ek Balam

This one may not be a wonder, but it's definitely worth a visit. Just 30 minutes north from Valladolid you will find more of the huge legacy the Mayan culture left all over Mexico. Judging by its size, archeologists believe Ek Balam was a political entity of great wealth and prosperity. Around 12 to 18 thousand inhabitants lived here.


If you want to do a full archeological day, it will take you one hour to get here from Chichen Itza.


Things to Do in Valladolid, Yucatan: Food & Drinks

The great thing about Valladolid is how cheap it is! This is a great place to enjoy the local cuisine without having to spend a fortune. Here were some of our favorites:


Coconut Ice cream

Right in the main plaza is a small kiosk that makes fresh organic coconut ice cream. A cone costs just 15 pesos (about 75 cents USD) and is super refreshing in the Valladolid heat.


Longaniza

Longaniza is a type of  pork sausage that is similar to chorizo, and is on almost any local menu. So it is definitely a must-try while in Valladolid, Yucatan!


Cochinita Pibil

This dish is the Mexican version of pulled pork. You can find cochinita pibil as a dish or in tacos most often, However, there are also many other types of typical Mexican foods like salbutes or burritos that include cochinita pibil.


Poc-Chuc

As one of the most typical dishes in Yucatan, Poc-Chuc is a must try! This plate consists of a type of meat (usually pork) that is marinated in a citrus dressing. Then it is grilled, and served with rice, refried beans, and pickled onion.


Want to know more amazing things to eat throughout Mexico? Check our our full article below:

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How to Get Around Valladolid

Valladolid may be small, but there are tons to see on the outskirts. Here are the best ways to get around Valladolid, Yucatan.


On Foot

Valladolid, Yucatan isn't really that big. This makes it a great place to just walk around , get some exercise and wander at your own pace. As well, most highlights are nearby each other. Make your own schedule without depending on timetables.

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things to do in Valladolid
things to do in Valladolid
things to do in Valladolid

Want to find a good restaurant? Walk a few streets and find a hand full of them. Want to stop for a coconut ice cream? Just walk to the main plaza. (We seriously recommend it. No artificial flavor, no chemicals, no milk. Just pure coconut made ice cream).


When was the last time that you could literally walk from your accommodation to a cenote in less than 20 minutes? With cenote Zaci literally in the middle of Valladolid (and 2 blocks away from its main plaza), this is very achievable.

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Rent a Scooter (There are NO Rental Cars)

If you want to visit places that aren't in the city (such as Chichen Itza or Ek balam), you might want to get something of your own. Unfortunately, no one rents cars just yet in Valladolid. Because of this, the only option is to get a scooter.


In here, we need to really recommend a place. Not because they paid us to advertise, but because they went above and beyond with their service. We rented a scooter for 24 hours.  But throughout the day the unit started to fail when trying to start the engine.


We called them and told them the situation, and said we needed a different scooter. Although it started back up, they still agreed. They not only changed without questions asked, but also told us to go and enjoy the city without worrying about the exact return time. So, because of the problem, we ended up with a rental of around 30 hours. It was great.

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Public Transportation (barely non-existent)

If you like those little buses that take you all around town for pennies on the dollar, we're sad to say that here this is pretty much impossible to find. We asked people, and we even saw a bus once, but they really don't have a big network of public transportation. This is probably due to the size of Valladolid Yucatan.


So while you are here, the only transportation you will be able to find easy to move around will be a taxi (which, if you happen to take one, don't forget to ALWAYS bargain the price with the driver before taking it. Otherwise you will be charge up to double the actual price).


Hitchhike

Some people like it, some don't. Some countries are more friendly with it, some aren't. We found that Mexico happens to be a hitchhike friendly country. So if you want to see some new places while having a chat with locals, this is a great way of doing it!


Also, we noticed that the smaller the town, the better chances of getting picked up. In big cities everybody seems to be dealing with their own stuff, but nearby towns people seem more caring and down to Earth.

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Driving in Mexico

As we mentioned earlier, there are no rental cars in Valladolid. However, if you plan on renting a car in Mexico from another city, we have plenty of experiences to share. Simply click the link below to learn everything that we did traveling through Mexico by car.

When it comes to visiting somewhere, there are many ways to get around. Traveling through a country takes a lot of research, and has plenty of uncertainties, but that's why we're here to help! In our opinion, the best way to get around Mexico is by car, Here is everything

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Things to Do in Valladolid: Extras

Now that you have visited the city center and know what the best things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan are, we want to recommend you some extra spots that you might like.


Live a Fairy tale at Hacienda Kaan Ac

A few minutes north from the city there is LITERALLY a castle with its doors open for you to stay in. Hacienda Kaan Ac is a restored property with really as many things to do as you can possibly imagine.


Its rooms honestly look like out of a fairy tale. Many of its furniture is handmade on the property. They have a restaurant with incredibly tasty local food, and A LOT of activities for its visitors.

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To mention some of them, they have an art shed, with sculptures and paintings, where the owner will give you an art class and you will walk away with an sculpture created by you! (of course, included in the price). Also, you can get a bike and follow a path around the property (a few kilometers long) to discover what nature has to offer.

hacienda kaan ac Valladolid
castle hotel, best things to do in Valladolid mexico

The list keeps going on and on. They're about to open an archery, there's a swimming pool,  and they have a bonfire. Honestly, if this isn't one of the best things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan, then we don't know what else to recommend.


Visit Las Coloradas

Have you ever seen a pink lake? well, an hour and a half north east of Valladolid you will find Rio Lagartos, a town by the shore from where you can go visit the famous Lagunas Coloradas.


The pink color of this salt lake is due to the high concentration of salt and microorganisms living in it. Definitely a fascinating experience.


Rio Lagartos, House of Crocodiles

Since you visited Rio Lagartos to see Lagunas Coloradas, you might see some cool stuff here as well, right? Get in a boat on a tour through its waters and see crocodiles in their natural habitat. A very nice tour to do.

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Enjoy an Old and Colorful Church in Uayma

Just outside Valladolid you will find Uayma, a small town known for its beautiful church. The story behind it is amazing. Back in time, Mayans burned the church as part of a huge rebellion against the Spaniards known as "Guerras Castas".

ex convento de santo domingo uayma

It remained in ruins until 2003. Then it was restored, revealing its original and beautiful colors. Fascinating, right? 


This Mexican town may seem a bit small but it definitely has a lot to be done. Whether you are traveling on a budget or not, many of the best things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan will cost only pennies on the dollar.


Check out all of our Mexican guides by clicking here and make sure to get the best of this beautiful country. Looking for more Caribbean destinations? Then click here to see what other destinations can blow your mind.


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November 2, 2020

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