Valladolid is located in the Yucatán peninsula, about a 2-hour drive from Cancun, and it is slowly becoming a popular travel destination. Valladolid is one of Mexico’s pueblos magicos (Mexico’s magic towns), and it is also considered one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico. Valladolid is definitely a hidden gem and it became one of our favorite places in Yucatan. This small city is authentic and unique with lots of natural beauty and special charm. Unfortunately, most travelers visit Valladolid for a day trip, but we definitely think it is worth at least a couple of days, if not more. The great advantage of Valladolid is that you can take day trips to many places nearby. In order to explore Valladolid’s historical center one day is enough. However, we recommend staying there a few more nights to visit the surrounding attractions and to enjoy the lovely atmosphere in the evening and nighttime.
If you are not convinced yet, here are 11 great reasons why you should visit Valladolid Mexico.
Although there are tourists in Valladolid, it is not near to what you’ll find in other popular cities. You get to hide from all the hectic tourist places and enjoy a real Yucatanic atmosphere. No wonder why this city is one of Mexico’s pueblos magicos. There is something special about this place that pictures can’t even tell. You will just have to go there and feel it for yourselves.
2. Try the local Street food
In the evenings, Parque Principal (Main Park) is coming to life. Near the iconic Iglesia de San Servacio you can find many stands with delicious Mexican street food. Try the famous elotes, esquites, marquesitas, churros, tostilocos, and much more. The atmosphere in this place is just perfect for a walk before a good night’s sleep.
3. Eat in great Restaurants
To be honest, the best restaurants on our Yucatan trip were in this small city of Valladolid. From traditional Yucatanic food to more sophisticated dishes, oriental food, and breakfasts, everything was just delicious. We recommend trying:
This is a great Yucatan restaurant. With delicious food and excellent service, it’s a must-visit when in Valladolid. We booked a table for our daughter’s birthday and we weren’t disappointed. This place was great and the food was super tasty. The staff were so friendly and did everything to make us feel at home. https://www.facebook.com/ahalrestaurante
Restaurant Conato Valladolid
A unique restaurant not far from the center of Valladolid. The food and the atmosphere were outstanding. The dishes are with modern twists on classic and Yucatantic dishes. The place is covered with cool drawings and interesting décor. The flavors were just outstanding, and the service was great. We will certainly go back there on our next visit to Yucatan.
Canto Encanto (Café)
An adorable café-restaurant for breakfast or brunch. Situated not far from the center of Valladolid, this place has a great atmosphere, excellent service, lovely decoration, and most importantly-delicious food! It is also vegan and vegetarian friendly.Address: C. 44 #189, between 37 and 39, Centro, 97780 Valladolid, Yuc., Mexico Opening hours: every day from 8 am to 3 pm except Tuesdays.
4. Explore the Cenotes
The Yucatan Peninsula is full of cenotes, actually, it has around 6,000 cenotes. The cenotes are sinkholes with fresh water that you can swim in. Some are open to the sky and others are covered or in a cave. Valladolid and its surroundings have a hand full of beautiful and famous cenotes.
5. Take a day trip to Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is a must-see as it is one of the most famous archeological sites not only in Mexico but worldwide. Chichen Itza is open from Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. We highly advise you to get as early as you can as it gets crowded fast and the temperatures rise and it gets hot. It is around 30 minutes drive from Valladolid, and this is why it is best to sleep in Valladolid if you plan to visit Chichen Itza. For more information visit their website: https://www.chichenitza.com/
6. Visit More beautiful archeological sites
Besides the famous Chichen Itza, there are more amazing Mayan archeological sites near Valladolid. We recommend visiting Ek Balam and Coba. Ek Balam is close to Valladolid and definitely worth visiting. We combined it with the great cenote that is just near the ruins. One important advantage is that the place is not packed with tourists at all. Another great advantage of Ek Balam is that you can climb the big pyramid and see the amazing view from its top.
Coba is very quiet and not crowded at all. It is inside a forest which means you have shade the whole time. You can rent bicycles or a bike taxi (with a driver) to explore the site.
7. View the Night show
From Wednesday to Sunday you can enjoy a sound and light show in the San Bernardino de Siena Former Convent; “Nights from the Heroic Valladolid”.
The show gives information about the history of Valladolid and its importance for the peninsula of Yucatán. This show is free so you only need to come on time and sit in the garden in front of the convent. The show starts at 9 pm in Spanish and at 9:30 in English.
8. Rent a bike to explore the city
As the city is small and there are also beautiful cenotes nearby, you can rent a bike at a very affordable price and explore the city. This is one of the most enjoyable ways to get to know Valladolid.
9. Buy some local spices in the Mercado Municipal
We always like to check the local markets in the cities we visit as we find there the most authentic products. If you are interested in buying authentic Mexican spices and sauces, head to the Mercado Municipal. You can find there all kinds of hot sauces made of different ingredients, local vanilla, spicy mango, fresh fruits, and more.
10. Stroll the beautiful Calzada de los Frailes
One of the prettiest street in Valladolid. It is very close to the historical canter. The Convento de San Bernardino de Siena is at the end of this street, as also the Valladolid giant letters.
11. One of Mexico’s Safest Towns
Valladolid has a very low crime rate and it is safe to walk along during the day and night. From our personal experience, we walked in the streets (not only in the center) at night with our kids and felt very safe. https://www.numbeo.com/crime/in/Valladolid-Mexico