9 Amazing things to do in Valladolid

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Valladolid in Mexico is a colonial city that is often visited by travelers as a day trip. This is nice, but Valladolid has much more to offer. In Valladolid, unlike the coastal towns, you can get to know the culture of Mexico better because it is not yet been discovered by mass tourism.

Valladolid is a place where art and architecture come together through the historic center. The streets are colorful and the city is buzzing with life. Valladolid has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998, so definitely worth a visit!

Do you want to know more about things to do in Valladolid? Then you are on the right page. In this article you can read what the 9 top activities are to do in Valladolid, what the best places are to stay, good restaurants and many more useful Valladolid tips.

colonial street
church valladolid

Things to do in Valladolid?

Valladolid is a small city where you can do some great activities in and around the city. Many travelers visit Valladolid when they visit Chichén Itzá via a tour, in most cases you have a stop at the main square of Valladolid. Of course, Valladolid has much more to offer than just the square. Read below the 9 recommended activities that you can do in Valladolid.

Tip: Use the map below to see where Valladolid’s best things are located. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. You can show or hide different categories on the map. You can use this map to navigate when you are in Valladolid.

#1 Discover the historic center

Traveling to Valladolid means discovering a great historic center. This is the nicest part of Valladolid to visit, in this area you will find the main Valladolid sights. The historic center of Valladolid has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, as it has many beautiful buildings to admire. Also in 2012, Valladolid was elected as Pueblo Magico, which means magical city. Enough reason to travel to Valladolid right? The colonial colorful houses, beautiful streets, and cozy atmosphere ensure that you will have a lot of fun here.

The square (Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado) is Valladolid’s main square. This square is surrounded by colonial buildings, an imposing church, and cozy bars. The church called the San Servacio was originally built in 1545. However, it was demolished in 1705 and restored one year later to the building we can see today. The church is worth a visit because it has imposing columns inside. The old altar is also special to see.

Another religious building you don’t want to miss in Valladolid is San Bernardino de Siena. This is a monastery complex which is today the most complete complex of Yucatan. It is nice to visit because inside the complex you can see many coastal works from the 16th century. The building itself is also beautiful to admire because of its architectural style. In addition, it is nice to walk by in the evening, often in the summer evenings, a light show can be seen here around 21:00.

The road from the main square to the San Bernardino de Siena monastic complex is the most beautiful street you can find in Valladolid. This street (Calzada de Los Frailes) was originally built by the monks and is one of the oldest streets in Valladolid. In this street, you see old colonial buildings and influences, nice to walk through. If you like photography, this is the best street to get your camera out.

In addition to these highlights, it is amazing to walk through the streets and see all the colonial influences. The big benefit is that there are few other tourists so the atmosphere is cozy. Therefore the locals are friendly and they are happy to start a conversation with you, a great way to learn more about Mexican culture.

We recommend that you discover the historic center independently because then you have all the freedom to go where you want. If you would like to take a tour where a guide gives you all the information about the highlights of Valladolid, this is possible, you can book a tour here.

San Servacio
historical center valladolid

#2 Visit Chichén Itzá

About 45 minutes from Valladolid is Chichén Itzá located, Mexico’s most beautiful complex to visit. Chichén Itzá is one of the seven wonders of the world and you don’t want to miss it. Chichén Itzá is a huge complex where you can find several temples.

From Valladolid, you can book this tour to visit Chichén Itzá. It is possible to visit Chichén Itzá independently, but we do not recommend this because you get a lot of information through the guide during a tour. This will help you understand what you see and better visualize what Chichén Itzá used to be like.

If you visit Chichén Itzá, cenote Suytun, and cenote Ik Kil by taxi or moped, you can also arrange a guide on site. The disadvantage of this is that the groups are very large. Tickets are also included in the tour, so you can skip the queues. If you are going independently, you need to buy tickets upfront via the official website.

How to get to Chichén Itzá: use a taxi, bus, or moped. mopeds can be rented from Scooter Rental Valladolid for $20 per 24 hours. A taxi from Valladolid costs 470 pesos ($22). You can travel up and down to Chichén Itzá with the ADO bus for 140 pesos ($6) per person.

Chichen Itza

#3 Visit the best cenotes in Valladolid

When you are in Yucatan, visiting the cenotes is one of the best things you can do. A cenote is a cave or pool of clear water that was sacred to the Maya, as it was believed to be the opening to the underworld. In the past, many ceremonies were performed here by the Maya. There are more than 1 trillion cenotes in Yucatan alone, making it very difficult to determine which one is best to visit. In Valladolid there are several cenotes, we have visited the cenotes below and recommend them.

Cenote Suytun

Cenote Suytun can be found in the Suytun Ranch, this is a kind of park where you can visit two cenotes. The most important of these is cenote Suytun. This is a cenote where you have to walk downstairs and when you arrive at the cave you will be surprised by it. In the roof of the cave is a dome through which light comes, in the water is a walking plateau where the Maya used to perform offerings.

This is one of the most beautiful cenotes you can visit. Due to its popularity, it is wise to visit the cenote at 09:00 am because you are ahead of the big tourist buses. Buy tickets in advance here. The other cenote that you can visit with the ticket is Suytun Kaa Pe, this is a semi-open cenote that is not that special but is worth visiting because you are close by.

How to get to Cenote Suytun: use a bus, moped, or taxi. You can rent a moped at Scooter Rental Valladolid for $20 per 24 hours. You can visit many of the activities outside Valladolid in one day by moped, making it a lot cheaper than a taxi. A taxi costs 230 pesos ($12) for a return ticket from the center of Valladolid. You can take a collectivo at the ADO bus station for 60 pesos ($3) per person up and down to cenote Suytun.

Cenote Ik Kil

The most beautiful cenote in Mexico is cenote Ik Kil. It is also the most popular cenote, as it is located near Chichén Itzá. This cenote is often used by tour companies to promote Yucatan. When you arrive at the cenote you will be impressed by the beauty, especially because the water is very clear and nature invades the cave-like wares through which you see many lianas. Try to be at the entrance by 08:00 to avoid large groups. The downside is that when you are later the charm is lost due to the crowds. Tickets are $7 and can be bought on site.

How to get to Cenote Ik Kil: use a taxi or moped. Mopeds can be rented from Scooter Rental Valladolid for $20 per 24 hours. A taxi from Valladolid costs 460 pesos ($22). You can travel up and down to cenote Ik Kil with the ADO bus for 140 pesos ($7) per person.

Tip: try to combine a visit to cenote Suytun, cenote Ik Kil and Chichén Itzá, so you only have to rent a moped for one day or taxi costs remain low.

valladolid cenotes

Where to stay in Valladolid

Option 1 Price and location: Tunich Naj
Tunich Naj
is economically a good option. It is 500m from the main square so you don’t need to use public transport. You can also easily meet other travelers here because the garden has nice sitting areas. The breakfast is excellent, if you want to cook something for yourself you can use the kitchen. If you travel by car you can park it on their property.
Check prices and availability for Tunich Naj here.

Option 2 Luxury for not that much money: Fundadores
The colonial building, garden, and terrace are beautiful. The rooms are very spacious and have all the facilities you need. The location is perfect as it is right in the center. If you want some luxury for not that much money, Fundadores is the perfect place for you to stay.
Check prices and availability for Fundadores here.

#4 Enjoy Mexican food at Atrio del Mayab

In Valladolid’s center on the main square, you can find one of the best restaurants in Valladolid: El Atrio del Mayab. A perfect place to sit on the patio after walking for hours through the historic center.

Here you can choose between traditional dishes and also contemporary dishes. As a starter, you can order freshly made guacamole with a bottle of red wine. Then for lunch it is delicious to order Queso Relleno, Lomintas de Valladolid and the Vegetarian Fajitas. All dishes are freshly prepared.

If you like desserts, the brownie with Mexican liqueur and the crepe with caramel are two recommendations. This is our favorite place to eat in Valladolid because the food is incredibly good. In addition, it is also not expensive, for a starter, main course, and dessert with a drink costs +/- $20 per person.

#5 Complete Maya day

Valladolid is perfect to visit ancient Mayan complexes because they are close by. This way you can easily visit Cobá and Punta Laguna.

Cobá is a ruin dating back to the years 100-300 BC. The reason Cobá is so popular is that you can walk up the stairs of Nohoch Mul temple and arrive above the tree line from where you have a beautiful view over the jungle.

Punta Laguna is a nature reserve where you can do hikes, visit different cenotes by kayak, and zipline through the jungle.

Chichén Itzá is the most beautiful complex to see, but the disadvantage is that it can be very busy due to its popularity. This is different for Cobá and Punta Laguna because here you see fewer people, which makes it very nice. It is best to visit both places via a tour because transport is arranged and a guide is available to give you information. Check actual pricing and availability here.

#6 Las Colaradas

One of the most amazing lakes in the world to see is Las Coloradas. This is because the color of the water is pink. Visiting Las Colaradas is recommended to visit via a tour due to the distance. During the tour, you will visit a crocodile sanctuary and spot flamingos in Las Coloradas. You will also get on a boat to sail through the mangrove of Las Coloradas. As you sail you will be surrounded by many different birds, such as pelicans and ospreys.

This activity is recommended for travelers who like nature. During this tour, you will also visit Ek Balam. You can also visit this complex separately, read more about this in the next activity. Check availability for Las Colarades here.

#7 Behold a Mayan mausoleum at Ek Balam

30 Minutes from Valladolid you can visit Ek Balam where you can see a Mayan mausoleum. At this archaeological complex, you can also visit Cenote X’Canche. This cenote is great to swim on days when it is really hot.

The archaeological site of Ek Balam is one of the most important sites of Yucatan, as the main palace is higher than the Kukulcán Temple at Chichén Itzá. Today they still find treasures in this complex because there are more than thousands of graves. The nice thing about this complex is that it is possible to climb the temples so that you can see the details better up close. It is also impressive to stand on one of the temples and imagine what it was like when the whole square was full of people listening to the Mayan ruler.

Ek Balam is not well known among most travelers but it is a very nice complex to visit. You can easily visit the complex independently from Valladolid. If you prefer a tour, you can read more information here.

How to get to Ek Balam: use a taxi, bus, or moped. You can rent a moped at Scooter Rental Valladolid for $20 per 24 hours. A taxi from Valladolid costs 660 pesos ($31) for a return ticket. You can travel up and down to Ek Balam with the ADO bus for 160 pesos ($8) per person.

Ek Balam
Kohunlich

#8 Take a bike tour

As you have read, there are a lot of fun things to do around Valladolid. Close to Valladolid, there are also some cenotes and local attractions worth visiting. You can visit all this by bike.

You start the tour with a visit to a local market. This market is located outside the center, so you only see local people here. It is nice to walk through because you can see how the people of Valladolid do their shopping.

After the market, you will visit three cenotes that are popular among the residents of Valladolid, namely Hacienda San Lorenzo Oxman, X’Kekén, and Samulá. At these cenotes, you can swing, swim and enjoy nature.

There are still Mexicans who live according to the traditions of the Mayans. You can visit these families, very impressive to see how the centuries-old traditions persist in the contemporary changes. You will also visit Chichimilá which is a small village that is very important in history because the caste war started here in 1847. This was the start of the revolt of the Maya against the western elite because they were against the caste system.

If you want to learn more about the culture of the Maya in an accessible way, it is recommended to follow a bicycle tour where you visit these important sights. Check current prices and availability here.

Looking for an itinerary through Yucatan? Read more.

#9 Cenote Maya Native Park 

Finally, for families, a visit to Maya Native Park can be fun. This is a park where you can do adventurous activities such as swimming, diving, rope climbing, swinging, and rappelling. Some of these activities take place in a cenote. We have not visited this park ourselves, only talked to travelers with children who liked this, especially for the children. People without children should skip this activity.

The visit also gives you a chance to attend an authentic Mayan ritual. They perform a blessing ceremony that normally was executed by the Mayan shamans at the time. More information and tickets for this park can be booked here.

How long to stay in Valladolid?

Valladolid itself is great but the things to do in the area are also worth a visit. If you want to get a good impression of Valladolid and the surrounding area, you need at least 4 days (3 nights).

In 4 days you have enough time to discover the best activities in Valladolid. Because you have a little more time, you also have a more flexible agenda and you don’t have to put everything into one day. This allows you to enjoy your trip a lot more.

Where to stay in Valladolid?

If you are going to choose a place to stay in Valladolid, it is recommended to stay in the historic center. Here you will find all the nice restaurants, bars, shops, and best accommodations.

Below you can read two accommodations that we recommend because of an excellent price-quality ratio. Please note: because there are not many accommodations in Valladolid, these are quickly fully booked. So book immediately to assure yourself of a room.

Price and location:
Tunich Naj

Valladolid

Tunich Naj is economically a good option. It is 500m from the main square so you don’t need to use public transport. You can also easily meet other travelers here because the garden has nice sitting areas. The breakfast is excellent, if you want to cook something for yourself you can use the kitchen. If you travel by car you can park it on their property.

Luxury for not that much money
Fundadores

valladolid v3

The colonial building, garden, and terrace are beautiful. The rooms are very spacious and have all the facilities you need. The location is perfect as it is right in the center. If you want some luxury for not that much money, Fundadores is the perfect place for you to stay.

Where can you eat well in Valladolid?

The best dining options are in the historic center of Valladolid. As you could read in activity #4, El Atrio del Mayab is our personal favorite. Here you can sit comfortably on the patio.

Here you can choose between traditional dishes and also contemporary dishes. As a starter, you can order freshly made guacamole with a bottle of red wine. Then for lunch it is delicious to order Queso Relleno, Lomintas de Valladolid and the Vegetarian Fajitas. All dishes are freshly prepared.

If you like desserts, the brownie with Mexican liqueur and the crepe with caramel are two recommendations. This is our favorite place to eat in Valladolid because the food is amazing. In addition, it is also not expensive, for a starter, main course, and dessert with drink costs +/- $20 per person.

If you are looking for a place to have breakfast, Mesos Marquez is a must to visit. This restaurant is decorated in such a typically Mexican way. Wooden tables and chairs and a cloth on the table. You can have a nice meal here and for breakfast, you have the choice of a Mexican breakfast or Western. We liked the Mexican breakfast with beans for a change.

Another recommendation is Casa Conato Cultural 1910, where you can try traditional dishes from the region. Our recommendations to try are panuchos, poc chuc, and cohinita pibil. These are all regional dishes prepared by slow cooking. From the outside this place doesn’t seem special but once you enter you step into a cozy restaurant with a good atmosphere.

Paparazzi is a restaurant that is Italian-oriented, what makes this place nice is that in the evenings they have live performances by musicians. So, for example, you can order a pizza here or just find a table in the evening and enjoy the music.

How to get to Valladolid?

Valladolid is located in the interior of Yucatan and is easily accessible from several locations in Mexico. First of all, it is good to know that it is not possible to fly to Valladolid. You can only reach Valladolid by car or (shuttle) bus.

The easiest and cheapest way is to use the bus. You can buy a bus ticket from many different places from the bus company ADO. You can buy a bus ticket online or at the station. Check here the actual bus routes and prices.

Tip: book your ticket in advance to be sure of a seat.

If you are in surrounding areas such as Bacalar, Tulum, or Playa del Carmen, you can also check with the accommodation where you are staying if it is possible to take a shuttle bus. The accommodations where we always stayed offered this service.

If you want to fly to Valladolid you need to fly to Cancun, which is 120 minutes away from Valladolid. From Cancun, you can take a taxi or bus to Valladolid.

If you rent a car, you can easily reach Valladolid by car. The roads are well signposted. If you come from Cancun (150 km), Playa del Carmen (140 km), Bacalar (260 km), and Tulum (100 km) you can drive to Valladolid in a few hours. All you have to do is enter Valladolid in your navigation and that’s it.

valladolid car

When is the best time to visit Valladolid?

Valladolid can be visited all year round because of the nice temperatures. Valladolid has a dry and rainy season.

The best time to travel to Valladolid is from December to March (dry season), this period weather is most stable.

May is the hottest month, on average it gets a maximum of 29℃ and drops to 16℃ at night. December is the coolest month with an average of up to 20℃ dropping to 12℃.

We were in Valladolid in September and loved the weather. The advantage of traveling through Mexico during the summer holidays is that the days are longer, which may also be good to know when you are determining when you want to travel to Mexico.

Tip: Keep in mind that during the US and Europe school holidays in July and August, it will be busier than usual, causing prices to rise.

Valladolid what to do FAQ

1. Is Valladolid worth visiting?

If you want to visit a colonial city where you don’t see many other tourists so you can experience an authentic Mexico, it is worth visiting Valladolid. Because you have many activities in Valladolid and outside the city, you can have some wonderful days here. The main reason to visit Valladolid is because of Chichén Itzá, however, you will read in this article that 8 other activities are worth doing.

2. What is the best way to visit the various sights around Valladolid?

When you are in Valladolid you can use the bus, moped or taxi. The cheapest way is to use the bus. At the ADO bus station, you can buy tickets. You can also buy the bus ticket upfront.

If you prefer to be flexible, it is recommended to rent a moped. You can rent a moped at Scooter Rental Valladolid for $20 per 24 hours.

Using the taxi is the fastest way but also the most expensive. For example, if you want to go up and down from the center of Valladolid to Chichén Itzá, this will quickly cost 470 pesos ($22).

If you travel by car it is very easy, you only have to enter the destination in the navigation. If you are looking for a good site to rent a car it is recommended to use Rentalcars.

Want to see more of Mexico?

We hope you have got a clear picture of what you can do in Valladolid, where to stay, and more useful Valladolid tips.

From Valladolid, you have many options to travel to another place. If you follow our itinerary through Yucatan, the next destination is Isla Holbox. This is the most beautiful island in Mexico. Read here what you can do on Isla Holbox.

If you’re not following our itinerary but are still curious about what places to visit from Valladolid, then Tulum or Bacalar are the best places to travel to. Visit a Mayan complex in Tulum and the huge lake of Bacalar.

What do you think of Valladolid? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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