Valladolid Yucatán – all the best things to do

by Kelly

Valladolid Yucatán was once a quiet town full of charm only visited by the lucky few to discover it naturally however it’s now a bustling stop for tourists. That charm can still be found before the buses arrive and after they leave, this is why you’ve got to spend a couple of days in Valladolid!

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When is the best time to visit Valladolid Yucatán?

I think Valladolid would be beautiful all year round but the best time for the weather would be between November and March when it is not too hot yet!

How to get to Valladolid Yucatán?

Valladolid is really easy to get to, there are connections here from Cancun and Merida. The easiest way is with the ADO buses. They are really comfortable and easy to use.

ADO bus Cancun to Valladolid

If you are landing in Cancun like we did then all you have to do is head to the bus terminal at the airport, you will see ADO signs and people will help guide you but basically you leave the airport and turn right. Keep walking to the very end and you will see the big red ADO buses. There are bus station managers there to keep order and they will help you find your bus if you are confused. Buy your ADO tickets online to get the bus time you want, they do sell out from the airport but there are multiple buses per day. You may just have to wait for the next bus. If you prefer not to buy online there is a ticket counter as you leave the airport terminal and they will sell you a ticket.

All you have to do is show your ticket to the driver who will scan it, put your bags under the bus in the hold and climb aboard. Find your seat, seat numbers are adhered to, and relax. Depending on the time you may have to book the ADO Cancun Airport to Cancun bus station bus then book the ADO Cancun bus station to Valladolid bus. It is really easy, the same bus station in Cancun for both. The bus from Cancun bus station to Valladolid may be a mini van, if so choose seats 1 or 2 as they have the most room. The trip is about 2 hours long and 150km.

Tulum to Valladolid

Tulum to Valladolid is an easy ADO bus ride. It is only 103km from Tulum to Valladolid and 1 hour 45 minutes by bus. Book your ADO bus online as the Tulum buses fill up quickly!

Is Valladolid Mexico worth visiting?

Valladolid is absolutely worth visiting! It is such a pretty town full of charm and interesting things to do! It is really close to lots of awesome sights for day tours as well which makes it a great base.

If Cancun is your base town and want to visit Valladolid you can take a day tour which includes Chichén Itzá Tour with Hubikú Cenote and Valladolid or Chichen Itza, Cenote & Valladolid Tour with Lunch. Both tours are excellent and you will get the chance to experience beautiful Valladolid.

Hotels in Valladolid Mexico

These are the best hotels in Valladolid Mexico in each price range.

Best hostels in Valladolid Mexico

These are our picks of the best hostels in Valladolid Mexico. They are all well rated, clean and comfortable. They are all in good but different locations around Valladolid and prices are cheap for dorms.

Hostal Guacamayas, Ariché Valladolid Hotel & Hostal, Hostal Tunich Naj & Hotel, Hostel Candelaria, Hostel Valladolid 48, Hostal Ixchel

Boutique Hotels Valladolid Mexico

Hotel Boutique Refugio 41 – beautiful interior, quiet and peaceful

Hotel Colonial Zaci by GuruHotel – really beautiful and quiet, walking distance to ADO bus station

Casa Palagui Colonial – family run, stay in a hacienda!

Hotel Casa Bamboo – big rooms, lovely staff, great decor.

Luxury Hotel Valladolid Mexico

Coqui Coqui Hotel Valladolid Mexico – Coqui Coqui Meson de Malleville – This is my favourite hotel in all of Valladolid! It is part of the beautiful Coqui Coqui Perfumery. The hotel is small and just as luxurious as the perfumery. Impeccably decorated and serene, this is my top pick for a luxury hotel in Valladolid Mexico!

Hacienda San Miguel Yucatan – a little out of town so good for those with a car, beautiful hacienda!

Hotel Posada San Juan Valladolid Mexico – superb. Breakfast included, beautiful experince

Olbil Hotel Boutique – an oasis in Valladolid, breakfast included

Le Muuch Hotel Boutique – central, beautiful, breakfast included

Colonte Hotel Origen – really beautiful, 2 blocks from bus station, breakfast included

Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Cave – Truly unique cave pools, very cool hotel, breakfast included

Things to do in Valladolid Mexico

There is a lot to see in this small town, you could easily while away the days people watching but for those who want to get out and about these are the best things to do in Valladolid.

Free things to do in Valladolid Yucatán:

We love finding free things to see in each town we visit and Valladolid had some of my favourites! Check them out below.

Coqui Coqui Farmacia

This is my favourite thing to do in Valladolid and it’s absolutely free to enter, although you will have to try and stop yourself from purchasing every exquisite fragrance and piece of homewares in the store! This perfumery is local and the perfume is made onsite in the lab. The boutique store is incredibly dreamy, decorated in an apothecary style with inspiration for the homewares range taken from the original tiles. Mike loved the unisex tobacco scent while I couldn’t decide between the Flor’ d Narange and the unique Agave Tropical! 

Read all about our experience with Coqui Coqui Perfumery, it is an experience not to be missed!

Literally translated it means the Coqui Coqui pharmacy but actually it is a large perfume store, with all kinds of fragrances, presented in an authentic pharmacy setting. Entering a Coqui Coqui store or hotel is a designers dream.

Free walking tour Valladolid

Walking tours are awesome way to learn about the towns you are visiting. This free walking tour in Valladolid is highly recommended! Make sure to give a tip at the end. Alternatively you can book walking tours, this one is for a group of up to 15 or this walking tour includes tasting local foods.

Go church hopping | What to do in Valladolid, Mexico

There are a plethora of churches in Valladolid and you can walk to town to visit them quite easily. 

Church of San Servacio

Found in the centre of the town, The Church of San Servacio. A tall structure which was built in the early 16th century, demolished in 1705 after the crime of the mayors occurring inside the church. It was rebuilt in 1706 facing north while all other churches face east in Valladolid. It is quite simple when viewed internally but in the evenings it is lit nicely and looks much nicer from the outside. Free to enter.

My favourite church in Valladolid, Iglesia de la Candelaria.

Look in the neighbourhood of La Candelaria to find my favourite church in Valladolid, the  Church of Candelaria. For centuries the locals have worshipped the cities patron saint here. It is believed the virgin has performed miracles here, saving locals from fires etc. 

It is one of the prettiest churches it has a pastel pink exterior with white trim and faces a small park. In the last part of January Valladolid celebrates the Virgin of Candelaria with festivities, craft fairs and lots of tamales! Free to enter.

Candelaria Church Valladolid Mexico

Saint John Catholic Church

It may be lesser-known but this quiet church, Iglesia de San Juan, is worth visiting if you are looking for a peaceful place to relax. Opposite a small park and built in old colonial style, with striking yellow arches in the rear it is a calm place out of the busy streets and has a nice breeze in the afternoons. Free to enter.

Francisco Canton Park | Valladolid Yucatán

The main park in Valladolid and the one you’ll keep coming back to, it’s free and has lots of shady patches to relax.  This is where most activity takes place, there’s a market set up by locals around the edges and you’ll see the ladies in the stalls actually creating the crafts they sell.

The park was once the site of a huge Mayan pyramid however this was demolished by Spanish conquistadors who then used the stones to build churches and buildings in the town. Today it’s the perfect place to people watch with a cool drink or ice cream.

We loved the unique chairs that are facing each other around the centre which are unique to this area of Mexico and called ‘kissing chairs’. The centre of the park is where you’ll find the Statue of La Mestiza, a mixed-race woman representing the coming together of Mayan and Spanish cultures. Free to enter.

The Valladolid sign | Valladolid Yucatán

Located on the square at Sisal you’ll see the famous Valladolid sign, get your tourist on and take a happy pic here, it’s nicely painted and overlooks the convent.

Stroll along Calzada de los Frailes (The Road of the Friars) | Valladolid Yucatán

One of the most popular things to do in Valladolid, Mexico, is to take a walk on Calzada de los Frailes. Known as the prettiest street in Valladolid, it is a cobblestone street that dates back to the 16th century.

The street once connected the settlement of Valladolid with the town of Sisal (where you’ll find the Convent of San Bernardino).  Calzada de los Frailes has colorful houses, boutique shops, flower boxes, and cute cafes all tempting you to sit and relax in this picture worthy neighbourhood.

Calzada de ols Frailes is one of the reason Valladolid is a pueblo magico. It is the place to get the best pictures and is totally free…unless you find yourself drawn to buy something in the beautiful boutiques that showcase more unique and higher quality pieces than the usual souvenir stores.

Sao Roque Museum

This is a little museum that is set inside a tiny chapel which was once a hospital and a convent.  Featuring historic pieces from the area depicting Mayan history. You will also see the history of colonial history of Valladolid. Several Mexican revolutionaries were also buried here.  Sao Roque Museum is open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, everyday. Entry is free you just need to sign in at the entry.

The Municipal Market

This is a hub of vendors selling everything from clothing to meat and fruits. You’ll find souvenirs here also. Usually closed by 4pm it is a fun way to see the local life. Free unless you buy something!

Check out all the colonial buildings | Valladolid Yucatán

Walking around the Zocalo you’ll see more colonial buildings. The City Hall of Valladolid and check out its lovely arches. The streets are full of colourful buildings ready for your perfect Instagram pic! Make sure to wander them and load up your camera roll.

Activities with an entry fee in Valladolid Yucatán:

Convento San Bernardino di Siena | Valladolid Yucatán

At the end of the Calle de los Frailes you will find the Convento San Bernardino di Siena, situated on a large square. This convent was built in the 16th century, finished in 1560 by the Franciscan order. It was a religious center and defense fortress.

It is possible to visit the monastery or just observe it from the outside. The entire building is a mix of chapels, a former convent, the Temple of San Bernardino, and a garden. The temple features amain altarpiece painted in gold, arches.It’s a quiet place to enjoy serenity. Entry is 40 peso pp.

In the evening there are free regular light and music shows on everyday except Mondays and beginning at 9pm. Cost Free.

Mayan Experience | Valladolid Yucatán

There is a cultural Mayan eco-tourist park which transports you back in time to experience the enchanting world of the Mayan culture with an immersive guided tour. They create unforgettable moments of connection with nature and the roots of Mayan heritage and also includes a buffet lunch and visiting a cenote. You can buy tickets to the Mayan Experience here.

We also found another really cool tour that is called Go Maya by bike in Valladolid. It is authentic and includes a visit to a beautiful cenote and the opportunity to learn from the Mayan culture by interacting with locals. They donate back to local projects in the community.

Visit Casa de los Venados for ethnic art | Valladolid Yucatán

Art lovers should visit the museum located in a  private house at Casa de los Venados.Here you’ll find over 3000 pieces of folk art. Located in a stunning renovated estate there are murals, paintings and ceramics to see. Giving an insight into the history of the local culture tours start at 10am each day in English. Entry by dontation, approximately 100MXN.

Cenotes Valladolid Mexico

Cenote Zaci

We had read mixed reports about Cenote Zaci but our experience was beautiful! Located just a short walk through town it is easily reached on foot.  The ticket booth opens at 10am but get here about half hour before that if you want to be first in as the line up grows. We walked into many people sitting already waiting for the booth to open. To be first in, line up from the moment you arrive, the ticket hut is right on the path from the gate. Head straight down into the Cenote, there are jumping platforms and stairs to get in.

There are steps leading down to the cool waters of the Cenote. Jump in and enjoy the sun filtering through the leaves above while a gentle waterfall trickles down into the centre of the Cenote. There is a great lookout which does the best view of the Cenote looking down and into it. This is one of the cheapest cenotes and most accessible as entry is only 60MXN/ $6AUD /$3USD

Xkopek Beekeeping Park | Valladolid Yucatán

There is a bee tour in Valladolid where you earn about Mayan bees! This is so interesting and I wished we had time to do it. Learn about the beekeeping process and honey harvesting. The Mayans have a history of rearing these stingless Melipona bees and the tour concludes with a honey tasting and gift shop where you can purchase the honey products!

Choco-Story Museum | Valladolid Yucatán

This museum has a collection of Mayan chocolate stories, made up of interactive displays, essentially a history of chocolate. The tour concludes at a chocolate store to buy souvenirs before leaving. If you wish!

Where to buy souvenirs in Valladolid Yucatán:

Valladolid is one of the cheapest places we visited for souvenirs! The market in the square has lots of market stalls selling everything from jewellery to leather, crochet bags and dream catchers. You’ll find these everywhere in Mexico but the prices in Valladolid are the best. The crochet bags start at 200MXN / $ 20AUD / $12USD. Dream catchers around 100MXN / $ 10AUD / $6USD

Head to the Mercado Artesanias to find cheap souvenirs. Loads of shops selling the same items in various forms. We found a stall selling the Mayan calendar and got it for 90MXN / $ 8AUD / $5USD

Another great find was a little shop selling dream catchers, items have prices on them and there’s no bargaining but they’re really cheap! We got one 20cm diameter for 100MXN and another 30cm diameter one for 150MXN / $ 14AUD / $9USD. It was just up the road from the ADO, I can’ remember its name but it is worth checking out all these little stores as they have some great prices.

Where to eat in Valladolid Yucatán:

Try the best local cuisine, Cochinita Pibil!

A must do on my Valladolid list is to try Cochinita Pibil! This is the most delicious dish, pulled pork cooked underground and served with pickled onions on either tacos, torts or polcanes.  Its origins can be traced to the Mayan civilization and it is a must try.

There’s  lots of places to try it but the best place to try cochinita pibil in Valladolid, Mexico is at food truck El Trigrillo! The lady there serves up tacos for 19MXN/$1.20USD, tortas 19MXN/$1.70AUD/$1.20USD and polcanes 19MXN/$1.70AUD/$1.20USD. It was so good on our last day we went back twice because we loved it so much!

Bazar Municipal Valladolid

Bazar Municipal looks like a food court with loads of vendors almost selling the same thing. Find the shop with the longest line of locals and it’s usually a good sign that is where you should be eating. The tamales are always good and tortas were Mikes favourite.

There is a cheap taco restaurant a little walk from the main square called Loncheria Olich. Tacos were 17MXN each and were nice. They also reputably make a great torta although it wasn’t available when we went.

There’s a food truck run by a nice couple located just before Loncheria Olich who serve a nice torta and taco as well.

Yerbabuena is highly rated for tamales and other Mexican favourites. It is located opposite the convent on the square.

Make sure to head to La Joyita Cantina for drinks in the afternoon. It’s perfect to stop in after a days exploring. The bar is really cool, set in a pretty blue building with swinging doors giving that western cowboy feel.

The locals are welcoming, women are allowed in the front bar, the drinks are cold and there’s free bar snacks! What more can you ask for? Mike ordered a couple of beers and we were offered corn chips, beans, a pork dish and a tomato salsa. It was all delicious. We loved our time here, it’s a must visit! Beer is about 30MXN

best cantina in Valladolid Yucatan

Things to do around Valladolid Yucatán

There’s tons to do around Valladolid, you could easily make this your base for a week and fill your days. 

Chichén Itzá

One of the must do things from Valladolid in Mexico, is to visit Chichén Itzá. Chichén Itzá is an ancient Maya city and currently one of the wonders of the world. This archeological site is busy so try to visit or book your tour early as during lunchtime is hot and peak time for tourists. You can visit on your own or take a tour, this tour combines visiting Chichen Itza, a Cenote and Izamal and is great if you don’t want to worry about transport.

Take pictures at the church of Uayma

An easy 20 minutes drive from Valladolid, Mexico, lies one of the prettiest churches. The church of Uayma, is pink and usually had pretty decorations. If you’re traveling by car towards Mérida or coming back that way to Valladolid stop off here for a picture.

Explore Izamal, the yellow city of Mexico

The yellow city of Mexico is a great day trip from Valladolid. The center of Izamal is painted completely yellow. Walk through the yellow street, visit the yellow monastery and climb the remains of ancient pyramids. Izamal was a religious center for the Mayans before the Spanish arrived. Combine a visit here with Chichén Itzá and a cenote with this tour!

Cenotes around Valladolid 

There are loads of cenotes around Valladolid, they are definitely a must visit. The Mayans saw the sinkholes and caves as the gateway to the underworld and organized their ceremonies there. Now you can visit these cenotes to swim, dive or to enjoy the atmosphere. These are some of the most beautiful Valladolid Mexico cenotes.

Cenote Suytyun

The most famous is Cenote Suytyun, it is all over Instagram. Here you walk/swim out to a platform and get your picture taken with the light streaming through the roof (at the right time of day!) its pretty but also packed, there’s usually a line up waiting for a photo.  Cost 250MXN/$22AUD/$14USD You can do a tour to Cenote Suytyun from Cancun which is excellent or this one that includes Chichen Itza & Cenotes Ik Kil & Suytun!

Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil is one of the prettiest cenotes and really close to Chichen Itza. You will find vines tumbling through the open roof into the water below. It is magical, try to be here on opening as the tour buses stop here while visiting Chichen Itza. Or just go on a tour and make the best out of your time. Opens at 9am, find all the information you need on their site. Cost 200MXN/$18AUD/$12USD You can also visit with a tour which includes Chichen Itza Deluxe Valladolid and 2 Cenotes.

Cenotes to visit by bike from Valladolid Yucatán

Saamal Cenote at Hacienda Selva Maya is really beautiful. It Cost 200MXN/$32AUD/$20USD however there are multiple types of packages available which include things like buffet lunch, zip lining and more.

Dzitnup Cenotes – both Samula Cenote and Xkeken Cenote are at the same complex, entry is 225MXN/$20AUD/$14USD for both Cenotes. Make sure to only buy your tickets at the real entrance and not from anyone outside. Best tour that includes these Cenotes is

Hacienda Oxmán Cenote is a great place to visit, there is the beautiful cenote with the bright yellow hacienda! They serve lunch there and there are multiple options of admission tickets you can purchase ranging from 150-400MXN. There is also an excellent tour that combines Chichen Itza, Cenote and Ek Balam Tour with Lunch from Valladolid.

If you are going on your own you can cycle there, the price of bike rental costs around 150MXN for the day. The best way from town is down Calzeta de los Frailes, past the Convent of San Bernadino. Follow Calle 49 to the end where you can hook onto the bike track on Highway 180. You can also hire a scooter for the day which is a fun way to get around and easier!

Mayapan Agave distillery 

Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tour in English and shows the artisanal distillery of Agave. Includes tasting tequila. Costs 100MXN.

Visit Ek Balam

Explore the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam, one of the few ruins left where you can still climb on them. If you visited Chichén Itzá and want to experience more archaeological sites then visiting Ek Balam is the perfect spot. Ek Balam means black jaguar and is situated about a 30-minute drive from Valladolid. There are 45 structures with the best being the 32-meter-high Acropolis. It is a tranquil place that You can take a Half-Day Tour Ek Balam and Cenote from Valladolid which is really helpful as it includes transport and a guide to explain what you are seeing as well you will also visit the agave distillery which is really cool.

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