The Cathedral in Valladolid at sunset
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What to Do (and More) in Valladolid

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Valladolid is a small colonial town located in the Yucatan Peninsula. A lesser-known city on the tourist circuit, most people visit Valladolid as part of tours to nearby Chichén Itzá evidenced by the tour buses lining the center square each afternoon. If you do have the chance to spend some time here, you will be pleasantly surprised by the city’s charm and the warmth of the locals. Check out our guide to enjoying the beautiful Valladolid.

How to get to Valladolid

Merida to Valladolid

By Car: Valladolid is a two-hour drive from Merida on the Mexico 180/180D. The Mexico 180 D is a toll road, however, you can take the Mexico 180 all the way to Valladolid adding an additional 25 minutes to your journey and quite possibly a handful of topes (speed bumps).

The roads as with most roads in the Yucatan Peninsula are well maintained.

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By Bus: There are multiple connections per day between Merida and Valladolid. The journey takes approximately two hours and fifteen minutes and costs between $100 – $250 pesos depending on the desired departure time.

🚌 You can find all available timetables and prices at Bookaway

Cancun to Valladolid

By Car: Valladolid from Cancun is also a two-hour drive on the Mexico 180D headed west. Alternatively, you can take the toll-free Mexico 180 from Cancun but this again will add 30 minutes to your journey.

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By Bus:

There are multiple connections per day between Cancun and Valladolid. The trip takes between two and two-and-a-half hours. Prices run from $200 – $300 pesos for a one-way journey.

🚌 You can find all available timetables and prices at Bookaway

Tulum to Valladolid

By Car: From Tulum take the QROO 109 North until it meets up with the Mexico 180 W. This road is a libre (free) road meaning no tolls are expected, however, police checks are frequent. The journey should take approximately one-and-a-half hours.

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By Bus: A regular bus service runs from the Tulum bus station to the Valladolid bus station each day approximately 13 times and takes one-and-a-half hours. The cost for a one-way ticket ranges between $100 – $156 pesos.

🚌 You can find all available timetables and prices at Bookaway.

Where to Stay in Valladolid

For Families | Nido Flamingo

Located just outside of the town center, Nido Flamingo is the perfect place to stay while exploring Valladolid. Nido Flamingo offers spacious accommodation with access to a full kitchen, living room and a lovely garden with a pool.

For Couples | Margarett Modern Hotel

A modern hotel just two blocks off the main square, Margarett Modern Hotel is the perfect accommodation for those seeking a romantic weekend in Valladolid. Their attention to detail, customer care, and location make this a winner.

For the Budget Traveler |Casona Oox 

For those looking for basic accommodation look no further than Casona Oox. A small, laid-back hostel Casona Oox is located just a few blocks off the city center. With big comfy beds, a small pool and fresh fruit for breakfast this place is a deal in the city when prices for hotels are more than expected.

What to Do in Valladolid

Cenote Zaci

Cenote Zaci in Valladolid

Located in the center of town is Cenote Zaci. Cenotes are native to the Yucatan Peninsula and are natural sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone exposing the groundwater underneath.

Cenote Zaci is particularly notable because it is right in the middle of town. One minute you are on a busy town street, the next descending into the cool caves above the sinkhole. The crystal clear water is refreshing but not cold. Zaci is the perfect place to cool off on a warm day in Valladolid.

Make sure to arrive early in the day as tour buses arrive later in the day bringing people by the hundreds. Cenote Zaci is open from 10:00 – 17:00 each day and costs $30 pesos per person.

Light Show at the San Bernardino of Siena Covenant

The light show at the San Bernardino of Siena Covenant in Valladolid

The San Bernardino of Siena Convent is located 900 meters from the main town square. After meandering down the beautiful Calzada de Los Frailes decorated with colorful streamers you will end at the San Bernardino de Siena Covenant. The convent is open from 8:00 – 19:00 each day and costs $30 pesos to enter. Additionally, each night the local government and tourism office sponsors a free video projection of the history of the city. The first viewing is at 21:00 in Spanish followed by an English viewing at 21:20.

Cenote Xlakaj

Cenote Xlakaj is a twenty-minute drive from the city center. Equally as impressive as Cenote Zaci, the main difference and reason for visiting Cenote Xlakaj is the lack of other tourists. Cenote Xlakaj is off the main tourist circuit which means you just might have this cenote to yourselves. Additionally, the entry cost is a fraction of the cost at only $25 per person as opposed to some of the neighboring Cenote Oxman ($150 pesos per person) or Cenote X’Keken & Samula ($125 pesos per person for both).

Easy to reach from town by private vehicle or taxi, take a picnic and enjoy the day at this quiet and untouristic cenote.

Best Day Trips from Valladolid

Chichén Itzá

One of the largest tourist attractions in the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is only a 45-minute drive from Valladolid. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 by the United Nations, Chichén Itzá is the second most visited archeological site in Mexico. Chichén Itzá is open from 8:00 – 16:30 each day and costs $232 pesos per person. We recommend going early to avoid tour buses coming from nearby Cancun.

How to Get to Chichén Itzá

By Bus: ADO runs 3 buses between Valladolid and Chichén Itzá each day. The journey takes 50 minutes and costs between $50 and $125 pesos for each one-way ticket. For the most up-to-date schedule and prices check out the ADO website.

By Colectivo: Colectivos run from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá and are located on Calle 46 just north of Calle 39 in a small parking lot behind the ADO bus terminal. Colectivos leave approximately every thirty minutes between 7:00 and 18:00 and cost $40 pesos for a one-way ticket.

Ek’ Balam

Ek Balam is another archeological site located near the city of Valladolid. Smaller in size than the nearby Chichén Itzá, Ek’ Balam’s unique feature is being nestled within the surrounding jungle. Ek’ Balam is open from 8:00 – 16:00 each day and costs a whopping $413 pesos per person.

How to Get to Ek’ Balam

The only way to get to Ek’ Balam is by colectivo. Colectivos leave from Calle 44 between Calles 35 and 37 throughout the day. The journey takes 25 minutes and costs $50 pesos one-way.

If you have made the journey to Ek’ Balam, take some time to explore Cenote Xcanche just 1.5 kilometers away. The entry fee is an additional $70 pesos per person on top of the fee already paid for Ek’ Balam.

Flamingos in Rio Lagartos and the Pink Lakes of Las Coloradas

Flamingos in Rio Lagartos at sunset

Valladolid is an excellent base for exploring the flamingos in Rio Lagartos and the pink lakes of Las Coloradas. Everyone loves the opportunity to see these unique creatures regardless of their age. March through June are the best months to see the flamingos as for its the mating season. We visited, however, in January and they were still around in great numbers.

Visiting the flamingos in Rio Lagartos gives you the added bonus of seeing the pink-colored lakes of Las Coloradas. These lakes get their pink coloring from organisms such as algae, plankton, and brine shrimp that make their home in salty waters. The evaporation of water leaves these organisms huddled close together thus giving off the appearance of a pink lake.

How to Get to Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas

By Car: From Valladolid, take the Mexico 295 until you reach Rio Lagartos. Two kilometers before reaching the town of Rio Lagartos, you will come to a crossroads. Take a right to head towards Las Coloradas and the Natural Park of Ria Lagartos.

By Bus: Buses run regularly from the main bus station to Tizimin from Valladolid. The scheduled times are 5:30, 6:45, 7:30, 8:00, 9:15, 10:00, 10:30, 11:15, 11:45, 13:00, 13:45, 14:15, 15:30, 16:45, 18:00, 19:00 and 20:00. Once in Tizimin, follow the directions included above as all travel to Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas pass through Tizimin.

By Colectivo: Once in Tizimin, colectivos to Rio Lagartos can be found at Super Willy’s a grocery store one block from the bus station.

For more information on visiting flamingos in Rio Lagartos and the pink lakes of Las Coloradas check out our article Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Flamingos in Mexico.

Where to Eat and Drink in Valladolid

Skip the overpriced restaurants lining the main square in Valladolid and instead opt for these hidden gems! We think the places below are the best restaurants in Valladolid hands down!

For Coffee | Café del Profesor Pitágoras

Located one block from the main square is Café del Profesor Pitágoras. One of the two true cafes in town this one was our favorite (although Mia Morena has excellent chocolate chip cookies). Café del Profesor Pitágoras makes a decent cup of coffee, and while we did not try their food it smelled delicious. Sit inside to plug in and catch up on work or emails or enjoy their cozy courtyard escaping the heat.

For Lunch | “X-Mahana” La Cocina De Lupita

As soon as you walk into “X-Mahana” La Cocina De Lupita you can feel the love and quality poured into each meal by the owner Lupita. It is clear Lupita takes her work seriously and wants you to truly enjoy your meal. The menu changes daily, but you can be sure the quality remains the same with a rotating menu of Yucatan staples. Be prepared to pay around $90 pesos per meal, cheaper than most restaurants around the main square.

For Dinner | Taqueria de Gallo

The taco stand at Taqueria el Gallo in Valladolid

Taqueria de Gallo is an unassuming hole-in-the-wall with a taco stand used as the kitchen and a handful of plastic tables and chairs set up. This family-run business specializes in one thing and one thing only… pork. Succulent cochinita served one of three ways in tortas (sandwiches), tacos or polcanes (deep-fried corn). The price per item for the tacos and polcanes is $10 pesos which might be the cheapest option you will find in the Yucutan Peninsula.

For Drinks | La Joyita Cantina

La Joyita Cantina is everything you would expect from a local Mexican bar. Walking through the swinging saloon-style doors, you immediately feel as though you have stumbled across a little gem. Locals sitting around with tables full of Sol or Dos Equis; Mexican musicians serenading the visitors particularly the couples; and merriment and jolly all around. Drinks here are cheap at $30 pesos for a Dos Equis which includes a snack most likely the popular Yucatan bean dip offered at many establishments. La Joyita Cantina is definitely the best bar in Valladolid especially if you are willing to break out of your shell.

Connectivity in Valladolid

Telcel offers 4G and 4G+ signals throughout Valladolid. Wifi is available in most cafes, but as usual, the service is in and out throughout the day.

Where to Next?

Staying around in the Yucatan Peninsula longer and looking for somewhere else to go? Find out where to go and what to do in one of our articles below to continue to explore this part of the world.

Find out more on visiting the flamingos in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Flamingos in Mexico

Looking for a beach vacation without all the tourists? Check out El Cuyo: All You Need to Know About El Cuyo

Love colonial towns? Check out Campeche: What to Do in Campeche

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