What Not To Miss In Valladolid, Yucatan: Top 5 Things To Do
If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Mexico, head to Valladolid. This charming town is a great place to explore the country's Mayan heritage, and there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy. So if you're looking for a new Mexican adventure, be sure to add Valladolid to your list! Check out our top 5 picks; from ancient ruins to stunning architecture, there's something for everyone in this delightful town.
Exploring Valladolid, Mexico's Charming City
Valladolid is the perfect destination for the traveler who wants to explore the beauty of Mexico. This alluring colonial city has a lot to offer in the way of culture, architecture and natural scenery. There are plenty of things to do in Valladolid for visitors looking for an authentic experience. Whether you want to enjoy nature or learn about Mexican history, Valladolid is the place for you!
Casa de los Venados
If we had to pick our favorite experience in Valladolid, it would be the visit to Casa De Los Venados. The interesting thing about this place is that it is someone's actual house. Yes, as in, they live there. However, it also feels like the coolest museum. The combination of the two characteristics makes it both more interesting as well as authentic.
There's no entrance fee but you pay a donation which gives you the benefit of having a guide take you around for a more informative tour.
The collection of art that the owners have gathered is just mind-blowing. In addition to the art inside, the building itself is historic and restored by the owners to make it the perfect place to display these fascinating items.
If you are looking for an easy cenote to visit, this one has your name on it! Cenote Zaci is located within easy walking distance from the center of Valladolid. If you are staying in town, chance are, you can get there in about 10 minutes. This is one of the top reasons you just can't miss a visit to this gorgeous place.
It costs about $30 MXN which is less than $2 USD so it is fit even for those on a budget. We decided to make it a lunch date and enjoyed some local cuisine at the restaurant that is on premises here (Restaurant Zaci). Our lunch was not only delicious, with a cool ambiance, but also got us free entrance to the cenote so it was a win-win!
Po-Traveler Tip: get a nice view of the cenote from the restaurant! It's very "instagrammable"...
Dining at the restaurant also gave us the ability to change into our bathing suits in their restrooms, but there are changing rooms at the entrance of the cenote as well.
Cenote Zaci is very accessible as it has carved out paths. We would recommend having nonslip water shoes on here (and other cenotes). Another big recommendation would be to rent out a life jacket from them when you are purchasing your entrance ticket. The cenote is quite deep (300 feet!) so having a life jacket on will make it a lot more enjoyable to experience. Just float around! By the way, the waterfall is a cool feature that adds an element of enchantment (the sound is nice too) but it is not real and may not always be turned on.
You don't really need to have a snorkel since this cenote is murky and you will not have any luck seeing much under the water. However, we did see some dark colored fish around. You are in luck if you love cliff jumping into cenotes. This one has a few different platforms that are perfect for jumping from. We saw several people splashing in and it looked thrilling!
Here are the most highly rated tours from Valladolid:
Walk around the colorful streets
Valladolid was not originally in our travel plans for visiting the Yucatan Peninsula. We are glad that we added this town to our itinerary last minute. Valladolid turned out to surprise us with it's charm and authentic beauty.
Not only is the town a stunning "magical" place to walk around in, but or hotel really blew us away. When looking at places to stay in Valladolid, we noticed a lot of hotels had really great prices and were all so unique and beautiful just like the rest of the town. The people of Valladolid represent their town well with their warm and welcoming demeanor which adds to the appeal of visiting.
We spent most of our time (two day stay) just wandering the streets admiring the brightly colored colonial architecture. Of course, there are loads of locations spots if you love taking photos in front of cool looking doors and buildings. If you are missing the beach after visiting Valladolid, head over to Chiquilá and take the ferry to Isla Holbox. Like Valladolid, Isla Holbox goes under the radar for most visitors so don't miss this gem in the Yucatan!
During our roaming around, we popped into some of the local shops and grabbed some souvenirs. In our opinions, Valladolid was one of the best places to shop for local items. The variety and reasonable prices make it great for shopping along with the fact that there aren't many tourists so you don't have to deal with the crowds.
Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado
The main square in Valldolid is the location of this quant park which is the perfect place to take a stroll or have the little ones run around. It is also known as the park of love because it has the unique white chars facing each other where couples can sit and stare romantically into each others eyes!
You can enjoy views of the cathedral in the backdrop as well as a beautiful fountain in the center surrounded by benches. When we went on vacation in Costa Rica, we saw a similar park with a cathedral as the backdrop in La Fortuna. Across the street from the park, you'll see souvenir shops and hotels as well as the Municipal Palace and House of Culture.
Pro tip: dine at El Meson del Marques for some authentic Yucatan cuisine.
Iglesia de San Servacio
This beautiful catholic church is great for admiring from the central park of Valladolid, especially when it is lit up at night. Do wander inside, if you get a chance because it is even more beautiful to see the interior architecture.
The original building was completed in the mid-sixteenth century. However, after a crime of two people being murdered inside it's walls, it was torn down and rebuilt. The "new" building had a different location for the altar and entrance at a different side as well. If you walk over to 42nd Street, you can see sculptures representing Saint Peter and Saint Paul. These statues were guards of the original entrance to the cathedral.
Are you still wondering if Valladolid is worth visiting?
While it may not seem like there is a whole lot to see and do in Valladolid, it is for sure worth a visit because what it does offer is so unique and charming. Many of those who get dropped off from their tour bus on the way to visiting Chichen Itza wish they had more time to spend in Valladolid than just the hour or two given as part of the tour.
If you are planning a Yucatan trip and want to know how many days you need to set aside for visiting Valladolid, we would suggest a minimum of two days. This will give you chance to explore the town and be able to check out a couple of the cenotes. You can even make it your base for exploring Chichen Itza by adding a third day for convenience and easy access.
For us, Valladolid felt like a very safe and relaxing place to spend time. We were glad that we added it to our list of places to visit when we were in Playa del Carmen. After having a great time visiting Playa Del Carmen we wanted to check out the city of Merida and Valladolid was a great little "pit stop" along the way. It proved to be a worthwhile stop that really showed us more of the authentice Mexican culture and history.
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About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!