What to do in Valladolid? 

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What to do in Valladolid? 

One of the most important cities in Yucatan—second only to the capital, Merida—there are many things to do in Valladolid to learn the history and culture of the place or just have something yummy to eat. Activities around this colonial city vary a great deal, least of which, this is where you’ll find one of the most famous landscapes in the world.

Where is Valladolid?

It’s not easy to just pick up your things and go visit this place if you’re staying in the Riviera Maya. It’s a couple of hours away from Cancun and Merida, and, with so many things to see and do in Valladolid, why not spend a day or two here? We promise you won’t regret it.

The route from Playa del Carmen and Cancun is pretty straightforward: just take federal Highway 180D and turn off, in Los Aluxes, to the 180 and follow it all the way to Valladolid.

From Tulum, follow Highway 109 and continue following it after it turns into the Chemax-Coba Road until you reach Chemax. Here, take highway 180, which should take you all the way to downtown Valladolid.

Though most tourist attractions are within the city, a few are in the areas around it. For that reason, a rented vehicle is your best option to experience this amazing town.

Lodgings at Valladolid

Here, lodgings are very different from the large resorts one may become accustomed to on the beaches of the Riviera Maya. Many take advantage of the colonial status of the city and some other repurpose older buildings. So much so, that they’re tourist attractions in themselves.

As always, Airbnb is a great low-budget lodging option, as the price of most accommodations range from 25 to USD 45, with only a few exceptions—and you can find really gorgeous places!

When it comes to hotels, though, don’t expect them to have 50 pools and 30 bars and restaurants. The space is limited here, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage. Small places like Boutique Casa Valladolid have their own charm and beauty. And, for USD 42, that seems like a great deal.

But, if you’re missing the large buildings, there are a couple of colonial ones repurposed as hotels that will leave you breathless. Such is the case of Meson del Marqués, with its many rooms around a patio at around USD 60. Even if you’re not staying here, you should experience it nonetheless, as it’s also a famous restaurant.

Finally, La Aurora Hotel Colonial, at around the same price, is smaller, but only two blocks away from the main Valladolid Plaza, is in a very comfortable location to get to know the city and its surroundings.

Parque Francisco Canton Rosado

Most of the things to see and do in Valladolid lay around this central plaza. That way, walking from one to the other is… well, a walk in the park. However, in this case, the park itself, with its central fountain and loveseats, also deserves a visit.

Valladolid is home to many restaurants and loncherias

If food is your thing, Valladolid is a great plate to be at. There are so many restaurants and bars, that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

One thing is for sure: you should start at Los Portales market. Imagine a food court in any mall, but, instead of a McDonald’s, Dominoes, or Chick-Fil-A, the tables are surrounded by places that serve typical Mexican food—and for around USD 8!

There are many other dishes to try at Valladolid, however. As we said, there are restaurants and bars a-plenty, and with that comes variety. You can have a killer, traditionally cooked pizza at Cafeina Bistro, for example.

The San Bernardino Monastery

Just a few blocks from the central Francisco Canton Park is the San Bernardino Monastery, a restored building that not only is part of the history of Valladolid but also features a light show on most nights at around 9. There’s something a bit mystical about staring at the projected images on the walls of the convent itself while a voice tells you about the history and culture of the whole city.


Some of the most important cenotes in the Riviera Maya are in or around Valladolid. Zaci has a famous restaurant in it, making it a great place to spend half a day, at least. Saamal, on the other hand, is located within the Hacienda Selva Maya, just a few miles outside the city.

But Ik Kil is probably the most famous cenote around. You’ve probably seen it in many posters advertising travels to Yucatan and the Riviera Maya. Mostly, it’s famous because of how near it is to Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza Ruins

The sole reason why most people stay at Valladolid is to visit the Chichen Itza ruins, one of the most famous ruins in the world, rivaling those in Egypt. Tours can be booked in agencies and hotels all around the Yucatan Peninsula.

The castle, or the pyramid of Kukulkan, is an iconic image that defines the whole of Mexico. Chichen Itza is one of those tourist spots you can’t miss, no matter the circumstances.