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This post is all about the top things to do in Valladolid, Mexico.
If you’re taking a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, make sure you add in a stop in the magical town of Valladolid. I fell completely head over heels for this vibrant town filled with colorful buildings, magical cenotes, and gorgeous architecture.
This colorful colonial town is located right in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its claim to fame is being one of the closest cities to Chichen Itza. However, I think it deserves so much more recognition than it gets.
Considering a stop in one of Mexico’s most magical cities? Here is a complete guide for things to do in Valladolid Mexico. I’ve also included where to stay, how to get around, safety tips, and much more!
Table Of Contents
- Things To Do In Valladolid
- Where To Stay In Valladolid
- Getting To Valladolid, Mexico
- Getting Around Valladolid
- When To Visit Valladolid
- Is Valladolid Safe?
- Useful Tips For Visiting Valladolid
Top Things To Do In Valladolid Mexico
1. Stroll Along Calzada De Los Frailes
This colorful street is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Valladolid, Mexico.
Calzada de los Frailes is a narrow street that is lined with brightly painted buildings. There are several cute cafes and restaurants along this street but honestly, the main thing to do here is just walk around and enjoy it.
When I visited in 2019, there were colorful flags hanging up above the street. However, as of October 2021 those flags are no longer there. It’s still an incredibly beautiful street and definitely worth visiting.
2. Swim In The Cenotes
One of the main things to do in Valladolid Mexico is swim in the nearby cenotes. If you’ve never heard of a cenote, they’re basically water-filled sinkholes that occur when an underground cave collapses in on itself. The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is home to thousands of cenotes.
There’s actually a cenote located right in the center of downtown Valladolid. Cenote Zaci is in the center of town and is a great place to cool down for a bit. The entrance fee for Zaci is 30 pesos ($1.50) per person.
Another cenote located near Valladolid is Cenote Oxman. This is my all-time favorite cenote in Mexico and it’s definitely well worth visiting while you’re in the area. The entrance fee for Oxman is 150 pesos ($7) and you can get here via Taxi or bicycle hire.
I fell in love with the beautiful vines hanging down the top of the cenote, the rope swing, and the charming pool and restaurant area onsite.
Some other cenotes near Valladolid are: Cenote Suytun, Cenote Samula, and Cenote Xkeken.
3. Visit Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil
One of the main reasons that travelers choose to visit Valladolid is its proximity to Chichen Itza. This world wonder is located just an hour away from Valladolid and is definitely a must-see when you’re in the area.
Getting to Chichen Itza from Valladolid is very easy. If you’re on a budget, the easiest way to get to Chichen Itza is to take the public Colectivo from the city center. The ride costs 40 pesos ($2) each way, and takes you right to the entrance. The first Colectivo departs Valladolid at 7am and runs every half hour throughout the day.
I definitely recommend taking the 7am Colectivo so you can get to Chichen Itza right when it opens at 8am. You’ll beat the crowds AND the heat, and it makes for a much more peaceful visit.
The entrance fee for Chichen Itza (as of October 2021) is 533 pesos ($26). If you want to hire a guide, you can do so at the entrance for about 1000 pesos ($50) per group.
After your morning at Chichen Itza, I definitely recommend stopping at Cenote Ik Kil on your way back to Valladolid. This cenote is absolutely gorgeous and has a restaurant onsite if you’re feeling hungry. The entry fee is 150 pesos ($7.50) or 350 pesos ($17) if you want to do the lunch buffet.
You can get here via Taxi or Colectivo from Chichen Itza. Just make sure to tell the driver you want to stop at Ik Kil.
4. Explore the Convento de San Bernardino
One of the most unique things to do in Valladolid Mexico is to visit the Convento de San Bernardino.
This ex convent was built in the 1500s by Franciscan monks. The interior architecture is beautiful, and I absolutely loved the pink arched windows facing the courtyard. There is actually a small (covered) cenote in the back, which used to be used as part of an irrigation system for the convent.
At night, they do a free light show on the exterior of the building that goes over the history of the convent. The Spanish version plays at around 9pm and the English version at 9:30pm.
The entry fee for the Convento de San Bernardino is 30 pesos ($1.50).
5. Day Trip To Las Coloradas
A super unique day trip from Valladolid is a visit to Las Coloradas and Rio Lagartos.
You’ve probably seen these pink colored lakes on Instagram at some point. Las Coloradas are actually man-made salt lagoons that have been dyed naturally with red algae, plankton, and brine shrimp that live here.
Be aware that you are not allowed to swim in these lakes. They have security guards and and barriers to prevent tourists from getting too close to the water. You also are not allowed to use large cameras or drones here.
The entry fee to visit Las Coloradas is 75 pesos ($3.60). The easiest way to get here is to rent a car from Valladolid and drive 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a (very expensive) taxi from Valladolid.
While you’re in the area, make sure to check out the rest of the Rio Lagartos area. This area is a UNESCO protected biosphere because it is a breeding ground for many species of birds.
Take a boat tour of the Biosphere Reserve for a chance to see flamingos, crocodiles, and endless species of birds.
6. Visit the Iglesia de San Servacio
Iglesia de San Servacio is a stunning church in the center Valladolid. You’ll find this beautiful structure that dates back to the 1700s in Valladolid’s main square.
7. Take A Picture With The Valladolid Sign
These colorful signs can be found all over the country in Mexico’s pueblos magicos.
I loved taking super cheesy tourist pictures in every town we visited. They also change up the paint on these signs every so often so it’s fun to revisit and see what the current designs are!
8. Relax In The Main Square
If you want a glimpse into local life, make sure you spend some time hanging out in Valladolid’s zocalo, or main square.
It’s a peaceful way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Grab some ice cream from the helado carts, sit in the famous kissing chairs, and browse the souvenir stalls.
9. Day Trip To Izamal – Mexico’s Yellow City
If you want to take a day trip to one of the most photogenic towns in Mexico, you’re in luck. Izamal can be reached in about an hour and a half from Valladolid.
While you’re here, make sure you check out the Mayan ruins in town, the historic Convento San Antonio de Padua, and all of the artisan craft shops around town. The main attraction here is really just the city itself. It’s nicknamed the Yellow City for obvious reasons and all of the yellow buildings really are stunning.
If you’re renting a car in Valladolid, you can easily reach Izamal in about 1.5 hours.
Where To Stay in Valladolid
Budget Accommodation in Valladolid
Hostal Las Cruces ($12 per night)
Hostal Mamacha ($11 per night)
Valladolid isn’t a huge backpacker hub, but there are a few high quality hostels here. Two of the top reviewed hostels on Hostelworld are Hostal Las Cruces and Hostal Mamacha.
You should be able to get a dorm bed in Valladolid for around $12 per night. A private room in a hostel should cost under $30 per night.
Mid-Range Hotels in Valladolid Mexico
Casa Quetzal Boutique Hotel ($44 per night)
Hotel Fundadores ($48 per night)
Valladolid is a super affordable destination, so even mid-range accommodation is super affordable.
We stayed in Hotel Fundadores for two nights and it was very comfortable and clean. The location was also really good, only a few blocks from the main square and bus station. Our only complaint was that the WiFi in the room was very weak.
Luxury Hotels in Valladolid
Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Cave ($140 per night)
Colonte Hotel Origen ($112 per night)
Valladolid doesn’t have many luxurious hotels. If you want to treat yourself a bit, I highly recommend a stay at Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Cave.
The saltwater cave pool looks absolutely stunning, as does the artwork featured throughout the property. It is also adults-only, so you don’t have to worry about sharing the pool with a bunch of screaming kids.
Getting To Valladolid
Valladolid is incredibly easy to get to from major hubs like Cancun and Tulum. The ADO bus runs directly to Valladolid several times a day. Mexico’s ADO bus system is amazing – comfortable, reliable, and clean.
The easiest way to get to Valladolid from abroad is to fly into Cancun and take the ADO bus to Valladolid.
We used Busbud to book all of our buses in Mexico and it was very easy.
I’ve never rented a car in Mexico, but it would be very easy to get from the major hubs to Valladolid by car as well. You can reach Valladolid in just over 2 hours from Cancun.
Getting Around Valladolid
Getting around Valladolid is easy because it’s a very walkable city. All of the main attractions are within walking distance of one another.
If you’re venturing outside of downtown, you’ll need to take taxis, colectivos, bicycles, or join group tours.
We found that a combination of walking, taxis, and colectivos was the ideal way to get around Valladolid and nearby areas.
Taxis to nearby cenotes are very cheap, just make sure you speak a little bit of Spanish when negotiating prices. The only time we took colectivos (public buses) in Valladolid was getting to and from Chichen Itza. It’s incredibly easy to catch the colectivo to Chichen Itza and it only costs 40 pesos ($2) each way.
When To Visit Valladolid
Valladolid, and the Yucatan in general, is a very year-round destination. There really aren’t any cold days in this part of Mexico.
However, if you want to avoid the rain and extreme heat, you’ll want to visit Valladolid in the winter months (November to March). This area sees a lot of rain in August through October, which can put a damper on some of your travel plans. The early summer months are free of rain but the heat and humidity can be too much to handle.
Is Valladolid Mexico Safe?
According to Travel Safe Abroad, Valladolid is one of the safest cities in Mexico. I have found that the Yucatan in general is a very safe travel destination.
However, as with anywhere you travel, you need to exercise some caution when traveling in Valladolid. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you negotiate the price for your taxi ride before getting into the vehicle.
- Keep track of your belongings and beware of pickpockets.
- If you have to walk at night, be sure you are with someone and avoid poorly lit streets. This is especially important for female travelers.
Useful Tips For Valladolid Mexico
Currency: The Mexican peso is the official currency of Mexico. The symbol for the peso is $ so you will often see prices as MX$ in ATMs.
Visas: For the United States and many countries in Europe, a visa is not necessary. You can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days without a visa.
Pronunciation: Valladolid is pronounced [va-ya-doe-LEED]. However, in Spanish they often pronounce the V at the beginning of the word as more of a B sound. So you may hear people pronounce it as [ba-ya-doe-LEED].
Weather: Valladolid is generally very hot year-round, with the hottest months being the spring and summer months. The rainiest time of year is August through October.
This post was all about the top things to do in Valladolid, Mexico.
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