The Mexican small city Valladolid is one of the colonial cities in Yucatan Peninsula. If you want to witness real local Mexican lifestyle off the beaten track Valladolid should be in your travel itinerary when you travel in Mexico. I spent approx. 2 days in Valladolid and here are my highlights.
Just leave everything behind you and walk around the colourful town “where the streets have no names” 😉
The 3rd largest city of Yucatan with its 45.000 inhabitants is great to spend a totally relaxed day while exploring Mexican history and culture. This small town was named after the capital of Spain, the home country of the colonialist conquerers. The Spanish conquerers built the new city on top of the Maya town called Zaci. They used the stones of the Mayan buildings to use it to build their mansions, churches and other buildings.
Cathedral of San Gervasio
In the main square of Valladolid the first impressive building you will see is the Cathedral of San Gervacio. The church was built in 1545. But even today you are able to see some of those Mayan stones. The church itself is a typical example of colonial religious buildings.
Francisco Cantón Park
The heart of Valladolid beats here in this park in the centre of the town. It is simply a perfect place for people watching, relaxing, birds feeding and more of those things you would do to find true peace. I absolutely loved sitting on a park bench and watching the kids racing with their kettcars. They are called kettcars, right?
This great nature wonder is only 7km away from Valladolid and absolutely a must see!
Cenote Samulá is one of the two cenotes in “Cenotes Dzitnup”. The only sunlight comes from one hole in the ceiling from which long tree roots hang down. You go down the slippery stairs to get in this cenote and you feel like a whole new world opens for you. It is mystical.
Cenote Xquequen is also as beautiful and mysterious as the Samulá. In the entrance you can either buy a ticket for only one of the two or a combination ticket for two together.
Eat Sopa de Lima
If you’re in Valladolid, you HAVE TO eat Sopa de Lima, which is a speciality of the Yucatan region. It is actually the good old chicken soup, but with a flavour of sour lime, which practically grows everywhere in Yucatan. I had a bowl of this Chicken Soup Mexican style in the restaurant of the Hotel Meson del Marques. It was just legendary!
Read next: 2 weeks Mexico Travel Itinerary
How to get around Valladolid?
Honestly this is the least problem you have in Valladolid. The city is so small that you can explore everything on foot. With a bicycle you can also explore the near by neighbourhoods.
Possible Day trips from Valladolid
- Ek-Balam Maya Ruins Archeological Site – 30 km. north of Valladolid – 25 min. drive
- Chichen Itza Maya Ruins Archeological Site – 45 km. west of Valladolid – 40 min. drive. Tough, I would not recommend to visit Chichen Itza as day trip, unless you don’t mind visiting one of the World Wonders with other thousands of people. Read my blog post on How to avoid crowds in Chichen Itza.
- Coba Maya Ruins Archaeological Site – 60 km. south east of Valladolid – 50 min. drive.
Where to stay in Valladolid?
I stayed at La Aurora Hotel Colonial and definitely can recommend it. Its location is very central. The rooms are spacious and clean. In the inside courtyard there is also a pool in case you want to swim a bit and relax in the sun.
How to get to/from Valladolid?
Since I had a rental car, I can only tell how the drive to Valladolid was. It is perfectly connected to the highway and the drive from Riviera Maya, in my case from Puerto Morelos to Valladolid took only 2 hours. The directions are pretty straight forward and easy to find.
There is of course also a bus station (Terminal de Autobuses, Calle 39) where you can catch one of those collective vans and ADO buses to Merida (2h15min), Tulum (1h30min) and Cancun (2h).
Read next my personal Travel Guide to Mexico
For more insights I recommend Lonely Planet's Travel Guide for Mexico or the for Cancun, Cozumel & The Yucatan.
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