Valladolid is a cosy, colonial town on the Yucatán Peninsula. It is skipped by many travelers in favor of Mérida. Completely wrong in our opinion, because we personally liked Valladolid very much and almost felt more comfortable here.
It’s very relaxed in Valladolid to. The town is also an ideal starting point for visiting the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam. In this blog article we will tell you what else there is to discover in Valladolid and our personal tips.
1. Valladolid in Yucatán: The friendly Mexican colonial city If you ask us: Valladolid combines the best of Campeche and Mérida. Valladolid is as cozy as Campeche, but also has some of the vibrancy of Merida. What we really appreciate about Valladolid is the authentic Mexican way of life, that you can feel as soon as you arrive here.
Valladolid is the third largest city in the state of Yucatán, but still feels very small and manageable. The streetscape of Valladolid comes pretty close to imagining a typical Mexican small town: pastel-colored colonial houses, old VW Beetles, colorful flags and a small cathedral that is simply beautiful to look at. By the way, it finally happened to us when we witnessed the dance event on the main square on Sunday evening after our arrival. Rarely have we experienced so much joie de vivre in one place and across all age groups.
Another (somewhat unusual) tip: If you travel through the Yucatán, you will soon realize how important it is the Mexicans are their hammocks. You can buy them in every conceivable variation across the peninsula. The very best place to do this, however, is the tiny village of Ebtún – right in front of the prison. The inmates make these during their incarceration and earn some money doing so. The hammocks are not cheap, but they are of high quality.
How long should I stay in Valladolid? We personally spent three nights in Valladolid and found it just right. So we had enough time to head for one or the other destination in addition to the center. If you have less time available, then two nights will do if necessary. By the way, we will give you more information about our highly recommended accommodation (La Flor Casa Boutique) at the end of this blog article.
2. The most beautiful sights in Valladolid Strictly speaking, the most important sights in Valladolid are explored in one afternoon. Even if, in our opinion, Valladolid should not be reduced to the urban highlights, we will briefly introduce you to the most important sights.
Cathedral & Main Square The heart of Valladolid is the pretty main square (“Plaza e Parque Francisco Canton”) and the cathedral (“Catedral de San Servasio”) . During our visit, the cathedral was a particularly great photo motif thanks to the many colorful flag chains.
If you are in Valladolid on a Sunday, then we have a tip for you: In the evening, young and old gather to dance on the main square. We’ve never seen anything like it before: retirees and students dance together exuberantly to traditional Mexican music. You can’t help but be in a good mood right away – I promise!
Ex-Convento de San Bernardino de Siena This Monastery is probably the most famous building outside of the city center of Valladolid. It is located around walking distance from the main square, but it’s worth the detour, in our opinion. You can visit the Convento de San Bernardino de Siena from the inside (entrance fee: 39 Pesos per person), but we only let the outside view affect us.
On some evenings there is also a light show , which is said to be highly recommended. Unfortunately we missed it due to time constraints. She always finds around 15 clock (in Spanish) and 30: 20 pm (in English) from Wednesday to Sunday. (It is best to check the exact time again on site.)
Our tip: Take Calle on the way to the monastery A. This street is definitely the prettiest shopping street in all of Valladolid.
Calle 38A = Calzada de los Frailes The best (and unfortunately also the most expensive) boutiques throughout Valladolid are along Calle 39A settled. The street is also known as Calzada de los Frailes and is something like the shopping street of Valladolid. Here you will find, for example, a shop of the famous Coqui Coqui perfumery.
But don’t worry: even if you don’t go shopping, you will find Calle 54A like . She’s really photogenic, we think. There are along the Calle 41A also some nice restaurants and cafes. We really wanted to go to Tresvanbien, but unfortunately it was closed when we visited. You might have better luck. (Of course, as always, we will tell you more restaurant tips at the end of this article.)
Cenote Zaci A cenote in the middle of the city center? Sounds strange, but it’s true: just a few streets away from the main square is the rather impressive Cenote Zaci. The cenote is larger than expected considering how urban it is. If you don’t have much time or don’t have your own car, we can highly recommend this cenote.
We were there in the afternoon. At this point, the cenote was quite crowded, but less crowded than expected. Pretty cool: From the edge you can jump down.
Entry: 30 Pesos per person
Address: At the intersection of Calle 21 and Calle 31
3. Excursions & cenotes around Valladolid Valladolid is used by many as a starting point for a visit to Chichén Itzá. The wonder of the world is by no means the only Mayan ruin to be discovered around Valladolid. Valladolid is also known for being surrounded by many cenotes (underground freshwater pools).
Generally, we would recommend that you plan at least a day to explore some of the local attractions. For example, if you drive north, you can combine Ek Balam, Las Coloradas (and possibly Río Lagartos) in one day.
Mayan Ruins Ek Balam The Mayan ruins of Ek Balam are still something of an insider tip on the Yucatán. More than any other ruin, Ek Balam gives you an idea of how people once lived here. Ek Balam is surrounded by jungle, so the atmosphere is special.
In Ek Balam the ruins can still be entered. One of the highlights is climbing the tallest building (the so-called Acropolis). Of the 31 meters high platform you have an impressive view over the ruined city and the jungle.
However, Ek Balam is not nearly as deserted as Calakmul. The souvenir shops that line the entrance and exit prove that. Ek Balam is also smaller than expected. The area is very manageable. We recommend you plan about 1 to 1.5 hours on site.
Admission: approx. 500 Pesos per personArrival from Valladolid: approx. 30 drive away
Las Coloradas Las Coloradas is the name of a small fishing village on the north coast of Yucatan. If you’ve ever seen photos of pink lakes in the Yucatán, they were almost certainly taken here. In Las Coloradas there are some salt pans whose water is actually pink.
Admittedly, this excursion is a little time-consuming. After all, it is a two-hour drive from Valladolid to Las Coloradas. However, we think the route is still worth it.
Once you arrive in Las Coloradas, one of the self-appointed guides will almost certainly take you there. speak to. The good thing about it: For a fee, it takes you very close to the salt pans. There is – at least where we were – a barrier. You can’t get through there unaccompanied. Our guide also told us some exciting details about salt production, so we think it was a good investment.
By the way, the best time to see the pink color of the salt pans glowing is around noon. We were there in the late afternoon. The pink color was still clearly visible, but definitely weaker than during the day. But the mood lighting just before sunset was great.
By the way, there are also some flamingos living near Las Coloradas. Depending on the season (and luck) you can see them observe animals there. Good to know: The flamingos are never in the salt basins, but in the waters next to them.
Our tip: If you really want a lot of flamingos, then maybe a boat tour in the nearby Río Lagartos something for you. From here start boat tours that will take you to flamingo colonies.
Price for guide/admission: approx. 200 Pesos per person (plus 70 Pesos for a viewing platform)
Getting there from Valladolid: about 2 hours by car (Warning: quite a lot of potholes along the way . You should be extra careful in the dark.)
Cenote Samula & Cenote X’keken The two cave like cenotes Samula & X’keken are on a shared area and can either be visited individually or as part of a combined ticket.
In Architecturally, both caves are extremely spectacular: they are reminiscent of huge stalactite caves. The stalactites protruding from the ceiling are an impressive sight. Light only falls into the caves through a small hole in the ceiling, which is why both cenotes give a very dark, mystical impression. You reach the cenotes via a staircase that leads down.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t shake the feeling that tourism here is developing in a strange direction (and we’re not talking here only from the mass of souvenir shops). For example, a parrot was misused as a photo motif at the entrance – the main thing is that the tourists are happy about souvenir photos. Unfortunately, this leaves a very uneasy feeling.
Update 2021: In the meantime, unfortunately, a life jacket has to be worn. (That was not the case during our visit, hence our photos without life jackets.)
Entry: 80 Pesos per person (one of the two cenotes), 125 Pesos per person (combined ticket for both cenotes); 21 Pesos for the life jacket per cenote (in total 40 pesos) Arrival from Valladolid: approximately 15 by car
Cenote Suytun The Cenote Suytun is maybe the “most instagrammable” cenote around Valladolid. Or to put it another way: The circular concrete platform with the azure blue water is one of those typical postcard motifs that you see again and again on Instagram. What you hardly see in the photos: The cave like cenote is actually pitch black.
We made the mistake and were only against 16 o’clock there when the daylight has already slowly said goodbye. Unfortunately, we missed how the light cone falls into the cenote and creates great effects. But we had the advantage that there was very little going on here.
If you want to swim, you have to wear a life jacket. But somehow we had the feeling that everyone – including us – comes here primarily to take pictures.
Entry: 150 pesos per person Address: Carretera Ticuch Km 8 s/n, 97780 Valladolid (approx. 15 drive from the center of Valladolid)
4. Tips for restaurants and cafes in Valladolid Yerbabuena del Sisal Our favorite restaurant in Valladolid! We’ve been here twice and wish we could have come more often. The Yerbabuena is not a purely vegetarian restaurant, but the selection of meatless and healthy dishes is great. The menu includes, for example, burgers, vegetable lasagne, but also Mexican dishes. And delicious homemade lemonades – wonderful!
The atmosphere is very cozy: you can either sit at the wooden tables in the entrance area by the bar or in the green inner courtyard. The staff is also delightful: we have rarely been received as friendly as here. All in all really recommendable.
Prices: Lemonade 40 Pesos, Burgers 100 Pesos, Espresso 40 Pesos Address: Calle 40A 196, 16832 Valladolid (right next to m Convento de San Bernardino de Siena)
Trattoria San Giovanni Looking for a change from Mexican cuisine? Then we can highly recommend the Trattoria San Giovanni. Here you can find surprisingly good pasta dishes and pizza at fair prices. In the green inner courtyard you can sit really nice and the staff is extremely friendly.
Prices: Pizza (medium size) approx. 150 Pesos, Pasta Pomodoro 100 PesosAddress: Calle 40 196A, 97783 Valladolid
Wabi Gelato Almost certainly the Wabi Gelato has the best ice cream in Valladolid. The selection is small, but fine: When we visited there were only 5 varieties. They are homemade with a lot of love and taste really good.
The fact that you feel so comfortable is also due to the very friendly owner. Before we ordered, he gave us a small sample of each variety – that makes the decision easier.
Address: Calle 40, 196 (At the intersection to Calle 38), 16832 Valladolid
5. Our hotel tip: La Flor Casa Boutique The La Flor Casa Boutique was our home for three nights – in the truest sense of the word of the word. We felt so comfortable that we can recommend this accommodation unreservedly . The host couple (she’s Austrian, he’s half Swiss, half Peruvian) do everything they can to ensure you have a great time. They built the accommodation according to their own ideas and with their own hands – and you can tell immediately that a lot of love has gone into it.
There are only two rooms, so there is a very family climate. The decor is incredibly tasteful. Nothing is missing: fresh fruit, water from the carafe, natural mosquito repellent – everything included.
The breakfast is by far the best, that we were allowed to enjoy on our Yucatán trip. It is prepared with love by the host couple. As far as possible, all ingredients come from our own cultivation or are baked or produced in-house. We were speechless every morning.
Conclusion: If you are looking for personally managed, tasteful accommodation, you are in good hands here.
You can book the hotel here: La Flor Casa Boutique
Transparency: Affiliate Links97784 This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you ever been to Valladolid, Ek Balam or Las Coloradas? How did you like it? If you have any other tips or recommendations, we look forward to your comments! Thanks so much!