Valladolid in Mexico: History, Cenotes and a lot of Charm
Valladolid is a charming city in the state Yucatán, Mexico. Although it is the third-largest city of the state, it is quite small with about 50.000 inhabitants. I really liked this lovely town because it is a lively place but also very relaxed. There are not that many tourists, as most of them are only visiting the famous places around Valladolid in a daytrip. But the town itself, with its beautiful pastel-colored colonial buildings and historical places, is worth to stay for a few days. Valladolid is a good starting point for trips to the Mayan ruins Chichén Itzá & Uxmal, Río Lagartos, and the famous Cenote Suytun.
We stayed in Valladolid for 3 nights, but I would recommend staying there a few days longer if you have the time to explore the area around it. The city is very welcoming, if you live in the center, everything is easily reachable by walking, there are a lot of nice bars and restaurants and compared to other places in Yucatàn, accommodation and food was quite cheap.
The heart of Valladolid is the Central Plaza („Plaza e Parque Francisco Canton“) with a fountain in the middle and a big Cathedral („Catedral de San Servasio“) next to it. The Plaza is a bustling park, where you can watch locals enjoying their leisure time, chatting, playing and relaxing. In the evening there was a music and a dancing group, performing in colorful traditional clothes.
I enjoyed strolling around the city because you can spot beautiful colonial buildings in every street. Some are still in their original condition, others are already lovingly renovated in various colors.
In Calle 40 and 41 you can find a lot of great, modern restaurants and bars. I really liked the restaurant Conato 1910 because beside the great food, the restaurant itself is a little attraction with its colorful collection of local art.
Around Calle 41A (Calzada de los Frailes) you can find beautiful, but quite expensive boutiques. If you like it more grounded, you can find local shops all around the city, especially between the main bus station and in Calle 39.
You probably heard that there are many cenotes (fresh water filled sinkholes) in Yucatán. Zací Cenote is right in the city of Valladolid, only a 10 minutes’ walk from the main square (between Calle 37 and 39). It’s perfect to jump in and cool down after sightseeing.
Entrance Fee: 30 Mxn / Opening Hours: daily from 9am to 5pm.
Things to do around Valladolid
The most famous things to see close to Valladolid are the Mayan ruins Chichén Itzá and Cenote Suytun. We visited both places and really enjoyed it! I have collected all information in these separate blogs:
Cenote Ik Il
We visited Cenote Ik Il on our way back from Chichén Itzá, because the cenote is located directly on the street between Valladolid and Chichén Itzá. On the short walking path to the cenote, you can see from above into the cenote and the hole is covered with hanging trees and plants around it. It really looks beautiful! Swimming is also allowed in this cenote.
Colectivo from Chichén Itzá to Cenote Ik Il: 10 mins (20 Mxn)
Cenote Ik Il to Valladolid: 30 mins (30 Mxn), wait for a Colectivo on the road in front of the entrance
Entrance fee: 80 Mxn / Opening hours: daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm
Daytrip to Río Lagartos
One of the things that I REALLY wanted to see in Mexico were Pink Flamingos. In Yucatán, the most famous places to see them are Celestún and Río Lagartos. As we didn`t have enough time to go to Celestún, we decided to visit Río Lagartos. We found out, that it is not that usual for tourists to do this trip from Valladolid by public transport, this is why I wrote a separate blog about our daytrip to Río Lagartos.
Further Places of Interest
Valladolid is a great starting place for trips to various interesting places. Depending on what you want to see, it could also make sense to stay a few days in Mèrida (north-west of Yucatán) and start the trips from there. Here are some more places of interest in the area (stated travel time from Valladolid by car):
- Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam (30 mins)
- Mayan Ruins of Cobá (50 mins)
- Mérida: the biggest city of Yucatán with many interesting sights (1,5 hrs)
- Mayan Ruins of Uxmal (2,5 hrs)
- Flamingos in Celestún (3 hrs)
- Izamal the „yellow city“: little colonial town with yellow painted buildings (1,5 hrs)