Valladolid is the perfect hub to explore the inland area of Yucatan Mexico. This colonial town is very authentic. There are so many incredible things to do in Valladolid such as exploring underground cenotes, taking a day trip to Chichen Itza, strolling the colorful streets, and more! Valladolid is teeming with quaint corners, vibrant parks, and overall calm vibes that just make you wish you could stay longer. Valladolid is a must stop when you’re exploring Mexico. There’s plenty to do in Valladolid, yet it still feels small, manageable and affordable. It’s a guarantee that a visit to Valladolid and surroundings will make your Mexico trip more memorable. In this article you’ll find a list of the 7 most amazing things to do in Valladolid.
7 Best Things to Do in Valladolid, Mexico
1. Wander Valladolid’s Colorful Streets
There is so much to see and to do in Valladolid. To walk without a clear purpose or direction is a lovely way to explore this Mexican town. By doing this you get to know the town and feel the vibe. Simply walking around its streets and exploring the buildings, their façades, windows, walls, is stunning. The Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado which is situated in front of Iglesia de San Servacio is a great orientation place and go from there. You’ll see people selling empanadas, beverages and other delicious food.
The colorful streets are perfect for photograph lovers. It’s impossible to miss the details of the colonial Spanish architecture, it’s very photogenic. Grab a coffee at Las Campanas and just take in the buzzing scenes of local life.
Valladolid is worth visiting during daytime and at sunset. When the sun goes down you’ll hear the birds gathering at a big tree at the park in front of Iglesia San Servacio which is quite a sensation. Next to that it’s magical seeing the sky turning orange and pink through the flags decorating the streets of Valladolid.
Valladolid is easy to get around on foot, but to get there from Cancun or Tulum, you might want to rent a car to have the most flexibility. Otherwise there are several bus companies like ADO that come to Valladolid from Cancun, Tulum and other places in Mexico. One way takes about 2 hours from Cancun.
Check the schedules and tickets here.
2. Visit the street Calzada de los Frailes
My favorite street of Valladolid: Calzada de los Frailes. No cars allowed which means you can walk around without paying attention to traffic. Going from shop to shop is exactly what you’ll be doing when visiting this street. Calzada de los Frailes is known for the beautiful boutiques with Mexican brands, art and other products.
Next to that Calzada de los Frailes has many beautiful picturersque coffee, lunch and dinner spots. Chances are you’ll want to visit them all (Guide to my favourite eats in Valladolid coming soon).
Shops you don’t want to miss in Calzada de los Frailes street are Josefina for beautiful white dresses, La Troupe for bohemian clothes, Coqui Coqui to check out the perfume and in front you’ll find the beautiful store Folks. Last but not least go to Kuxtal Galeria de Arte Popular Mexicano for traditional art pieces. While you’re at Kuxtal, grab a coffee outside and enjoy watching people wandering around.
3. Have a marquesita pancake at the park on front of Iglesia San Servacio
The Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado in front of the main church Iglesia San Servacio is the place to be at sunset. Not only does the park come to life at sunset but you’ll also hear the incredible sound of birds in the trees and calling for each other. It’s quite spectacular.
At the small park you’ll find different stands selling goodies like popcorn, drinks, ice cream and marquesitas. Marquesitas is a common Yucatan street snack and they are like crunchy crepes. The batter of the marquesitas is the same as for a pancake (flower, eggs, milk and salt), which they pour into a round waffle iron. Due to the high temperature, the batter turns crispy. The Mexican pancakes come with your choice of topping (get the Nutella with strawberry and banana and peanut butter!) and are rolled to crispy perfection. SO good—I totally understand why people line up for this!
I’ve heard that a marquesita with cheese and dulce de leche tastes like heaven! Try it!
4. Try the exotic fruit at Mercado Municipal
One of the best things to do in Valladolid is strolling through the Mercado Municipal.
If you especially enjoy local markets, the mercado municipal is a must visit. You’ll see many locals there selling their fresh goods. I always like to get fruit and empanadas at the market for an on-the-go snack.
Mexico is known for it’s high diversity in their sort of fruits and it’s quite an experience if you dare to taste the exotic fruits you’ve never heard of. My favorite of all time is dragon fruit, rambutan and granadilla. Eventhough these fruits are also available in Europe, the taste and freshness is different when you’re in the country of origin itself.
5. Explore Cenote Zaci in Valladolid
Traveling to Valladolid and looking for a cool cenote? Cenote Zaci is the only cenote that’s basically in the town of Valladolid and only 10 minutes walk from Iglesia San Servacio. Visiting cenote Zaci is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Valladolid. After walking in the hot temperatures, cenote Zaci is the perfect refreshment you need to cool down. To avoid the crowd, visit this cenote during the week.
Cenote Zaci is half open which makes it quite unique compared to other cenotes that are caves. There are two entrances to the cenote: Calle 39 and Calle 36. You can swim and jump in the cenote or just relax. If you do decide to swim or take pictures, please make sure you have something waterproof for your camera.
It costs $1,5 to enter (as of April 2021) and it’s open every day from 09:00am to 5:00pm.
When you spend over 100 pesos at their restaurant Zaci you get a free entrance to the cenote.
Are you coming with your own car then you can park for free at the cenote Zaci parking lot. At both entrances there is free parking available.
6. Discover the Cenotes around Valladolid
The Yucatan area in Mexico is known for it’s cenotes. Cenotes are natural swimming caves in Mexico and also known as an underground water paradise.
Nobody knows exactly how many cenotes there are in Yucatan but it’s believed there are over 3000 different cenotes.
The water in the cenotes tends to be cool as the water comes from underground so they are the best refreshment from the hot Mexican weather.
Next to cenote Zaci, you’ll find many other beautiful cenotes around Valladolid.
The one I liked most was cenote Ik Kil. It’s situated next to Chichén Itzá, the sun shines in the cenote which makes it a wonderful place to spend a few hours at. With its crystal clear waters and cascading vines, it’s not surprising that cenote Ik Kil is a popular one. Therefore I recommend visiting this cenote early to avoid the crowd. Entrance: 80 pesos
Another must visit is cenote Suytun. This cenote is quite magical due to the sunlight that shines around 12:00 straight to the center of the cenote. Sometimes due to heavy rainfall the water in the cenote increases and you cannot stand in the middle. This happened to us. It’s a matter of luck. Whatever the weather circumstances are, I would still highly recommend visiting this cenote. Entrance: 120 pesos
More about the cenotes in Mexico coming soon!
7. Take a day trip to Chichen Itza
It’s impossible to go to Valldolid for the first time and not add a visit to Chichen Itza. This is a must visit. If you’ve only got time to see one set of Mayan ruins in Mexico, then this is your choice.
Only 1,5 hours drive from Merida and 45 min. drive from Valladolid, this Mayan ruin temple is worth the drive.
You can also do a day trip to Chichen Itza from Tulum, Playa del Carmen or Cancun for only $69 including a visit to a cenote and lunch.
Chichén Itzá is open every day from 8:00 until 16:30 and over 3000 people visit this UNESCO World Heritage daily. I recommend coming early to avoid the crowd of the tour busses arriving in the afternoon. Another advantage of coming early is avoiding the high temperatures in the afternoon. There is not much shade in Chichén Itzá and therefore it can get quite hot. Make sure to bring enough water and sunscreen and come in the early morning when it opens. Also try to avoid the Sundays because this is the day Mexicans can enter the park for free.
You can buy the entrance tickets at the park but I highly recommend buying the tickets online to avoid the line. You can buy the tickets on the website of Chichén Itzá.
It’s so impressive to be there and see it with your own eyes. You can actually imagine how it must have been like when the Mayans lived there, especially when you hear the stories of the tour guides.
Stay tuned for my guide to visiting Chichen Itza—coming soon!
To sum it up, Valladolid is absolutely a must-stop when visiting Yucatan. With so many amazing things to do that are authentic and budget-friendly, you’d be silly not to! Plus, it’s easy to get there from wherever you are in Yucatan. You can spend an afternoon there or a few days, it’s up to you. But I recommend staying at least 3 days to make the most out of your trip!