23 Awesome Things To Do In Valladolid Mexico In 2023 (With Video)

23 Best Things To Do In Valladolid Mexico

Curious travelers are looking beyond the Yucatan Peninsula‘s famous beach destinations and adding Valladolid to their itineraries. And for good reasons! Valladolid is a beautiful and vibrant little colonial town located a short distance from the Peninsula’s popular beach resorts. And while the majority of travelers visit on day trips, there are many amazing things to do in Valladolid that make spending a few nights totally worthwhile!

We stayed nearly two weeks in this friendly little city during our 10 weeks in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. We discovered that Valladolid, Mexico is the perfect base for travelers who want to explore the region’s most epic sites, including Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Cenote Ik Kil, and more! But trust us, there are also many incredible attractions found in town. It’s not all about one-of-a-kind day trips when thinking about what to do in Valladolid.

So, are you ready to add some culture to your tropical vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula? This post highlights 23 amazing things to do in Valladolid! Get ready to experience a more authentic side of Mexico than nearby beach destinations like Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. And as a bonus, we even include what NOT to do when visiting Valladolid!

Table Of Contents
  1. What To Know Before Visiting Valladolid, Mexico
  2. 23 Incredible Things to Do In Valladolid
  3. Best Things To Do In Valladolid Town
  4. Top Mayan Ruins To Visit Around Valladolid
  5. Incredible Valladolid Cenotes To Visit
  6. Other Day Trips From Valladolid, Mexico
  7. Things Not To Do In Valladolid
  8. Where To Stay In Valladolid Mexico?
  9. Final Thoughts: Is Valladolid, Mexico Worth Visiting?

Estimated reading time: 36 minutes

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what to do in Valladolid Mexico

What To Know Before Visiting Valladolid, Mexico

What Is Valladolid Known For?

Valladolid is known for its colonial buildings and unique heritage. It is recognized as one of Mexico’s magical towns, a designation awarded to places that maintain their original traditions, architecture, and culture. And with its warm and welcoming attitudes, Valladolid, Mexico definitely feels like a magical town!

While the beautiful town attracts large numbers of day-trippers, Valladolid is also known for being super close to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. And there are more cenotes near Valladolid than you could ever hope to visit in one trip!

Many describe Valladolid as one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s hidden gems. Newsflash for you: there’s nothing hidden about this popular colonial city anymore. But even if it’s not flying under people’s radars, there are still many awesome things to do in Valladolid that make it worth adding to your travel plans.

Can’t Wait To See What Valladolid Is Like? Click The Play Button!

Is It Safe To Visit Valladolid?

Valladolid is an incredibly safe and welcoming city. And you will find that locals are extra friendly, even by Mexican standards! You have little to worry about when it comes to personal safety and the safety of your belongings while visiting Valladolid.

You might notice the National Guard stationed around the central square or driving around town. While their presence might be unusual for foreigners, these guards are meant to give you peace of mind. Even when that’s not the immediate feeling many travelers get when seeing them around town!

Rest assured that Valladolid, Mexico is perfectly safe to visit. The only advice I can give you is to stay hydrated! The thermostat regularly topped 100 degrees (37 C) during our visit. Make sure to drink plenty of bottled water during your vacation! And not water from the tap, folks. The last thing you want while climbing Mayan pyramids is a case of Montezuma’s revenge.

How Many Days Do You Need In Valladolid, Mexico?

There are seemingly infinite things to do in Valladolid. So the answer to ‘how many days do you need in Valladolid’ depends on how many activities you like to stuff into each day. But for the sake of answering the question, let’s break it down like this:

  • 2-3 days in Valladolid: to get a taste of the town, visit Chichen Itza or Ek Balam, and one of the more famous cenotes around town.
  • 4-5 days in Valladolid: to get a better feel for the town, visit two Mayan ruins and lesser-known cenotes.
  • 6-7 days: to do all of the above, including some day trips to nearby beaches and the colonial town of Izamal (aka, The Yellow City).

How To Get To Valladolid?

Valladolid is conveniently located near many of the popular destinations around the Yucatan Peninsula. And while you would have no problem getting to Valladolid with your own transportation, the easiest way to get there is by bus.

Click here to purchase tickets and check schedules for buses to Valladolid from popular stops like Cancún, Tulum, Isla Holbox, Merida and more!

Which Is Better: Merida, Valladolid or Campeche?

So you’re curious to know if Campeche, Merida or Valladolid is the best colonial city to visit during your stay in the Yucatan Peninsula? What a coincidence! I totally wrote a blog post highlighting the pros and cons of visiting Campeche, Merida or Valladolid.

Each of these beautiful places has its own vibe. And you won’t be short on options when wondering what to do in Valladolid, Merida or Campeche. It really comes down to the sites you want to visit and the overall atmosphere you are looking for. Be sure to check out the post linked above to find out which place is best for you!

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23 Incredible Things to Do In Valladolid

There are so many incredible attractions and activities in and around Valladolid that you will probably run out of time before seeing everything this place has to offer. And because a list of what to do in Valladolid can get chaotic, we organized the post like this:

  • Best Things To Do In Valladolid Town
  • Top Mayan Ruins To Visit Around Valladolid
  • Incredible Valladolid Cenotes To Visit
  • Other Valladolid Day Trip Options To Explore
  • What Not To Do While Visiting Valladolid

Best Things To Do In Valladolid Town

1. Explore Valladolid’s Beautiful Central Square

things to do in Valladolid Parque Francisco Canton
  • Price: free!
  • Hours: best between 5 pm – sunset.
  • Time needed: 1 hour.
  • WOTW rating: 4/5

One of the best parts of visiting any colonial city is spending time in its central square. This main square fills up every evening with locals and tourists enjoying street foods and lazy walks around the shaded walkways.

Get a sense of Valladolid’s unique energy by joining the crowds on a short stroll before settling down on a park bench. Grab some freshly made churros and you are officially taking part in one of the best things to do in Valladolid!

Officially known as Parque Principal Francisco Canton Rosado, this central square is an essential stop during any visit to Valladolid. Surrounded by the stunning San Servacio Church, impressive colonial buildings, and several cozy restaurants, where you can enjoy the square’s energy while sampling some regional foods.

WOTW Tip #1 (VERY IMPORTANT): there’s no better way to explore the main square than with a bag of freshly-made churros. The churros sold directly next to Los Portales were hands-down better than the ones we got from the little stands selling them in the square. You’re welcome!

WOTW Tip #2: Valladolid’s square gets packed with tour buses bringing day-trippers from around the Riviera Maya. The crowds in the square swell between about 4 – 6 pm.

2. Don’t Miss The Traditional Folk Dancers In The Main Square

things to do in Valladolid watch Folk dancers in main square
  • Price: free!
  • Hours: 5:30 – 6:30 pm.
  • Time needed: 15 – 30 minutes.
  • WOTW rating: 4/5

Visitors curious enough to pack up their beach towels and leave the Yucatan’s sandy beaches are rewarded with the Yucatan’s rich culture. Valladolid shows an entirely different side of the region than the more famous resort cities.

One of the coolest experiences in Valladolid is watching the charming folk dancers perform in the main square. These traditional dances happen nearly every afternoon before sunset. And even though this is a made-for-tourist show, it is still a fun way to get a taste of the region’s cultural heritage through local songs and dance.

Make sure you stay long enough to watch the dancers balance full beer bottles on their heads as they gracefully shuffle around! How do they do that?

3. Go On A Delicious Valladolid Food Tour

things to do in Valladolid food tour
  • Price: most dishes (e.g. tacos, tortas, tamales) cost less than $1 US per item.
  • Hours: morning is the best time for street foods in Mexico. Hit the streets early – supplies can run out!
  • Time needed: 2 – 3 hours.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

The Yucatan Peninsula is known for its unique and fantastic regional foods. So there was no way for us not to include a street food tour as one of the best things to do in Valladolid!

Valladolid does not disappoint when it comes to having phenomenal street food. And you don’t have to wander out to the local market to try these things. Just head to Calle 44 (a few blocks from the main square) to discover a foodie’s dream.

We went on our own DIY food tour around Valladolid (click to watch). And even after being in the Yucatan Peninsula for almost two months, we still tried a bunch of local Yucatecan dishes that we’ve never had before. If you’re ever wondering what to do in Valladolid, just head out for some incredible slow-roasted pork tacos or sandwiches (tortas). It’s really that easy!

Looking for something a bit more organized than a DIY food tour? Check out this VERY highly rated Airbnb food-tour experience!

WOTW Tip #1: go to El Tigrillo for AMAZING roasted pork tacos, pibihuas or polcanes. They might be the best that we tried during our 70-day trip! Pibihuas and polcanes are different versions of stuffed corn dough typical to Valladolid.

WOTW Tip #2: Valladolid is famous for a dry sausage known as Longaniza de Valladolid. It is an awesome ingredient to add to your eggs in the morning, mix with beans, or whatever you can think of. The best place to get it is from Longaniza Doña Trini. You literally buy from Doña Trini’s home. She was just chilling in her hammock when we went to buy longanizas. Hands down one of the most fun and delicious memories from Valladolid!

4. Learn About Mexican Folk Art At Casa De Los Venados

  • Price: recommended donation of 100 MXP per person ($5 US).
  • Hours: 10 am – 4 pm; free tours are provided at: 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2 pm & 3pm.
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Our personal favorite attraction on this list of things to do in Valladolid is the fascinating Casa de Los Venados. This old colonial building near the main square was restored by an American couple with a love for Mexican folk art. What started as a hobby, became a way to share their passion with the world. What’s even cooler is that all the proceeds go towards philanthropy projects in the local community.

A one-hour guided tour of Casa de Los Venados is offered several times daily. The experience focuses on how regional culture is expressed through folk art. And even though the pieces of folk art in the house are beautiful and fascinating, it is not a hardcore art tour. So don’t worry if that’s not your thing! You will learn about Mexican culture too!

Our guide was friendly and entertaining, and the overall experience was amazing. We 100% recommend the guided tour of Casa de Los Venados while visiting Valladolid!

5. Enjoy Sunset Drinks & Dinner At Valladolid’s Most Beautiful Restaurant

  • Price: $3 beers, $5 – 6 cocktails, $9 – 12 entrees (USD).
  • Hours: 7 pm – 10 pm (check for sunset time).
  • Time needed: N/A
  • WOTW rating: 5/5 (only for dinner).

Time to treat yourself to a classy night of sunset drinks and dinner at El Meson del Marques. You are on vacation, after all.

El Meson del Marques has the best piece of real estate in all of Valladolid! Head up to the Don Diablo rooftop for beautiful views of Valladolid’s main square. Get there before sunset to watch the setting sun paint the San Servacio church with beautiful shades of orange.

In our opinion, having sunset drinks from the Don Diablo rooftop is the most repeatable of all Valladolid’s wonderful activities. It’s one of the things to do in Valladolid that has heavy vacation vibes!

El Meson also has a romantic courtyard restaurant on the ground floor where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner. The bar and restaurant are perfect for enjoying a beautiful night in a more upscale environment.

WOTW Tip: reserve a table or come early to guarantee your spot at the bar! We planned to go for drinks on our last night in Valladolid, but the rooftop was at capacity. We ended up having drinks at Option B – Mirador Don Alfonso (which wasn’t great, but they have nice views!)

5. Learn About Valladolid’s Fascinating History On A Walking Tour

things to do in Valladolid Iglesia San Servacio
  • Price: tip-based tour.
  • Hours: 6 pm.
  • Time needed: 2 hrs.
  • WOTW rating: N/A

A walking tour of Valladolid is a great way to see the city and learn about its history. These tours are led by local guides who know the city inside and out. They’ll take you to all the best landmarks and hidden gems and tell you stories about the city’s history along the way. The two-hour tour is a great way to experience the local culture and meet new people. A win-win!

Reach out to the local walking tour agency in Valladolid to confirm at what time the tours start. Their schedule varies per season.

6. Stop By The Local Cantina And Sing Along To Your Favorite Mariachi Hits

  • Price: 50 MXP for domestic beers ($2.50 US). The beers come with free snacks called botanas.
  • Hours: 10 am – 12 am (open 24 hours on Saturday & Sundays)
  • Time needed: relax. Go ahead and order another round.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Ready to add an authentic Mexican cantina experience to your Valladolid itinerary? Look no further than La Joyita Cantina. It may look a bit rough and even a bit intimidating as you poke your head past the swinging doors, but we assure you that La Joyita is a friendly place to pop in for some ice-cold ‘chelas’ (beers) with the locals.

Somehow drinking beers while listening to two gentlemen sing mariachi music felt like one of the most cultural things to do in Valladolid. It’s one of those moments where you look around and think, ‘yep, now we really are in Mexico’!

We can not endorse a visit to La Joyita enough. You will definitely understand why if you are lucky to be there while it’s packed with locals singing along to their favorite traditional songs at the top of their lungs. The sweet spot for drinks and music here is between 2 – 4 pm. Have fun!

WOTW Tip: sit in the back room with the tables, especially if the boleros (singers) are there. This is the prime spot for listening to everyone sing along to traditional mariachi songs.

7. Cool Off In Cenote Zaci Near The Center Of Town

Things to do in Valladolid Cenote Zaci
  • Price: 30 MXP ($1.50 US).
  • Hours: 8 am – 5:30 pm.
  • Time needed: 30 – 60 minutes.
  • WOTW rating: N/A (closed for upkeep as of January 2023)

We didn’t include Cenote Zaci in the cenote section of this post because it’s located within the center of Valladolid. How crazy to find an amazing cenote right in the middle of town!?

Cenotes are pretty amazing. So amazing that we wrote a blog post about the 15 best cenotes to visit while visiting Merida!

Unfortunately, Cenote Zaci was closed for upkeep during our visit in April 2022. This would have been a game changer considering how hot and toasty it was at the time. Oh well!

Visiting Cenote Zaci is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Valladolid. I’m not sure where else you can find a massive, swimmable cenote, right in the middle of a city. And a bonus for adrenaline seekers – there’s a little little cliff about 20 feet (6 meters) high, where you can jump into the refreshing waters.

WOTW Tip: check Google reviews to see if it has been opened, or just walk 5 minutes from the main square to get an update. It’s still worth quickly popping in for a photo even if cenote Zaci isn’t open.

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Epic Things To Do In Valladolid

8. Take A Stroll Down Calzada De Los Frailes

things to do in Valladolid Calzada de los Frailes
  • Price: free.
  • Hours: 24/7 (it’s a street).
  • Time needed: 15 – 30 minutes to walk through and take photos.
  • WOTW rating: 3/5

Calzada de Los Frailes is the most manicured spot to find beautifully colored colonial buildings. In fact, this area reminded Campeche’s historic old town, which is aptly known as the Rainbow City. And while the street is certainly beautiful, I couldn’t help but think that the boutique-clothing stores, coffee shops, perfumeries, and higher-end restaurants have made the street somewhat sterile.

Do you love colorful UNESCO cities? Then you have to check out beautiful Oaxaca City! It is a vibrant city with more of a trendier feel than the Yucatan’s colonial towns.

We visited Calzada de Los Frailes on three different occasions (different days & times), and there was never much energy or any kind of vibe. Honestly it seemed very boring. So while it’s a convenient and comfortable place to stroll around, we wouldn’t consider this one of the unmissable things to do in Valladolid.

9. Experience The Colorful Mercado Municipal

visit Mercado Municipal in Valladolid
  • Price: N/A
  • Hours: 5 am – 4 pm (3 pm on Sundays).
  • Time needed: 30 – 60 minutes.
  • WOTW rating: 3.5/5

Mexico’s local markets are a must-visit. The Mercado Municipal is one of the best things to do in Valladolid if you want to get an authentic taste of local life. Come here to experience the sights, sounds, and smells that go along with a vibrant local market.

The best time to visit the Mercado Municipal is early morning (7 am – 9 am). And definitely plan to get some breakfast while you are there. The local market is a great spot to take your seat at one of the food stalls and try some delicious and cheap local foods. And to give you some peace of mind – we never got sick after eating at any local market!

In full transparency, this wasn’t the most exciting market we visited in the Yucatan Peninsula. That award goes to the giant central market in Merida. But visiting Valladolid’s Mercado Municipal is a great place to experience a Mexican market. Especially if the other stops on your itinerary are the Riviera Maya’s popular beach towns.

10. Learn About Local Customs With A Mayan Bee Experience

Mayan bee experience Valladolid
Image source: Canva
  • Price: $8 US.
  • Hours: tours start at 8:30 am, 10 am & 11:30 am.
  • Time needed: 1.5 hours.
  • WOTW rating: N/A

Do you love bees? Hopefully the answer is yes. But even if you don’t love bees, you have to admit that honey is pretty amazing. Well, what if I told you there is a stingless Mayan bee that produces a special kind of honey that is sweeter and healthier than the traditional kind you get in stores!?

Consider taking part in a Mayan bee tour and honey tasting if you want to experience more cultural things to do in Valladolid. Enter a dry cenote to see where the stingless bees live and learn about their importance to the Mayan people. Of course you will also taste the unique honey from the Mayan bees!

This Mayan bee experience has almost 500 5-star reviews! AND it’s only $8 US 🙂

Honey is central to Mayan culture. So much so that there is even a temple in Coba dedicated to the honey bee god! Honey was one of the main products traded around the Mayan empire. The honey bee god was important to ensure the wealth and prosperity of the Mayan kingdom!

  • Location: on the outskirts of Valladolid (about a 25 minute walk for San Servacio Church).

11. Visit The Historic San Bernardino Convent For A Light Show

things to do in Valladolid visit the convent
  • Price: 40 MXP to tour the convent ($2 US). The light show is free.
  • Hours: convent: 8 am – 6 pm; light show in English: 9:25 pm (excluding Mondays)
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • WOTW rating: 3/5 (from the outside only)

Located at the end of Calzada de los Frailes is the former San Bernardino de Siena Convent. San Bernardino is the site of an old Franciscan convent with a sad history. Like all other colonial cities in the Yucatan, Valladolid was a thriving Mayan community before the Spanish conquest. And this old convent was where forced conversions of Mayans to Catholicism occurred. This was part of the conquistadores’ effort to erase the Mayan culture.

The old convent is a beautiful example of Spanish architecture, and it is possible to enter to see a church and religious artifacts. There is also a light show depicting the history of Valladolid on the old convent walls. Consider checking out the light show if you are not sure what to do in Valladolid between dinner and the bar (or bed).

Top Mayan Ruins To Visit Around Valladolid

Visiting Mayan ruins is one of the essential things to do in Valladolid. The Yucatan Peninsula’s Mayan history is part of the regional identity to this day! And exploring epic Mayan ruins around Valladolid is sure to blow your mind.

WOTW Tip: we highly recommend paying extra for a local guide at the Mayan ruins around Valladolid. It is the only way to fully appreciate the advanced and complex ancient Mayan societies.

12. Explore The World Famous Chichen Itza

visiting Chichen Itza from Valladolid
  • Price: 571 MXP entrance fee for adults ($29 US); 1000 MXP ($50) for the guided tour in English or 900 MXP ($45) for Spanish.
  • Hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm.
  • Time needed: 2 – 4 hours. 40 minute drive from Valladolid.
  • WOTW rating: 3.5/5

Chichen Itza is the most visited individual attraction in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Though many visitors aren’t aware that it isn’t technically a pure Mayan site – it is Maya-Toltec. In fact, part of the reason it is so famous, is because the Toltec influence was responsible for the massive ball court and unique design of the Temple of Kukulcan. These structures contribute to why Chichen Itza is recognized as one of the Wonders of the World.

Even though a list of things to do in Valladolid can not be complete without including Chichen Itza, be aware that it is hugely commercialized. It is busy and expensive, and there are vendors everywhere (even inside). Depending on how you feel about very touristy places, it could detract from your overall experience.

Want to explore Chichen Itza at your own pace? Consider visiting Chichen Itza on a self-guided tour! It’s also much cheaper than going with a guide 🙂

Note that we visited 8 different Mayan ruins during our visit to the Yucatan Peninsula. And even though it’s clear that Chichen Itza is the most famous, it isn’t the best ruin to visit. This is why we have a relatively low rating for this wonder of the world.

WOTW Tip: we highly recommend getting to Chichen Itza before 8 am if you’re someone who doesn’t love crowds. And even though there will likely still be a line before 8 am, it’s worth it to enter the ruins before the major tour groups get there.

WOTW Tip #2: try to find some fellow travelers willing to split the guide fee if you are sure you want to go on a guided tour.

13. Visit The Awesome Ek Balam (Black Jaguar) Ruins

  • Price: 413 MXP entrance fee ($21 US); 600 MXP for the guided tour in English ($30 US).
  • Hours: 8 am – 5 pm.
  • Time needed: 1 – 2 hours.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Consider making Ek Balam the only Mayan ruin you’ll visit in the area, if you only have the time or interest in seeing one. Visiting the Ek Balam ruins is awesome for so many reasons. It’s much less commercial than Chichen Itza, you can still climb the main pyramid, and the ruins are absolutely stunning.

Ek Balam means black jaguar in the local Mayan language. The detailed stone carvings made in honor of the powerful chief are really mind-blowing. A massive and elaborate jaguar mouth is surrounded by statues depicting the black jaguar chief.

Visiting Ek Balam is no doubt one of the most incredible things to do in Valladolid! Ek Balam is in the running for best Mayan ruin that we visited during our entire trip. And we saw a bunch!

WOTW Tip: there is a beautiful cenote directly next to the Ek Balam archeological site (also mentioned below). Both Ek Balam and this cenote can substitute visits to the much busier Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil. (Chichen Itza and Ik Kil are also commonly visited on the same day)

14. Enjoy Coba’s Raw Beauty If You Need More Mayan Temples In Your Life

  • Price: 100 MXP ($5) entrance fee; 700 MXP ($35) for a private guide.
  • Hours: 8 am – 4 pm.
  • Time needed: 1 – 2 hours.
  • WOTW rating: 3.5/5

Coba is probably not at the top of most people’s list of Mayan ruins to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula. That being said, this vast complex of temples and pyramids does have something unique to offer to fans of the Yucatan’s Mayan ruins.

Coba has not undergone the same restoration process as Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. Coba is managed by the local community, meaning there are fewer resources to help fund a massive restoration project. The result is a very raw set of ruins covered in dense jungle. (it’s also significantly cheaper than Chichen Itza and Ek Balam)

Just a heads up – the main structures in Coba are located a decent distance away from each other. It’s possible to hire bike taxis within the grounds or rent bikes to make the 1-2 kilometer trek between structures. We walked to save some pesos. But most visitors appeared happy that the bike taxis could take them around in the searing heat.

WOTW Tip #1: you may see signs around Chichen Itza saying that Coba is closed. This is not true. There is some kind of conflict happening between Mexican-state owned Chichen Itza and the locally owned Coba.

WOTW Tip #2: getting to Coba from Valladolid is easy. Just get a bus ticket at the local ADO station. Getting back… well, that’s an entirely different story. In theory, a local bus picks you up from the same spot where you were dropped off. But after 3 hours of waiting, that bus never showed up. We got lucky and got a good deal on a taxi colectivo heading back to Valladolid ($7.50 p/p). You have been warned!

Incredible Valladolid Cenotes To Visit

Visiting the Yucatan Peninsula’s stunning cenotes is one of the coolest things to do in Valladolid. Literally. There’s nothing like jumping in these refreshing natural pools during the heat of the day.

WOTW Tip: please respect the rules put in place to ensure that the cenotes stay healthy and in pristine conditions for future visitors. Shower before entering and never put on sunscreen before getting in. Most cenotes have heavily shaded areas, so it’s not like you need the sunscreen anyways!

15. Dive Into Cenote Ik Kil, The Most Famous Of The Bunch

things to do in Valladolid cenote Ik Kil
  • Price: 150 MXP ($7.75 US).
  • Hours: 8 am – 5 pm.
  • Time needed: 45 – 90 minutes.
  • WOTW rating: 3.5/5

Search for ‘best cenotes in Mexico,’ and Ik Kil will be at the top of that list. It is exactly what you imagine cenotes to look like. The walls frame a dramatic 90-foot drop into a pool of crystal clear waters. Hanging vines and a large opening where sunlight pours into the cavern, add to Ik Kil’s amazing natural beauty.

Ik Kil might be the most beautiful cenote out of around 15 we visited during our trip. But it wasn’t necessarily our favorite. It is near Chichen Itza, and many tour buses stop here as part of their itinerary. I would usually associate cenotes with peace and tranquility. But I wouldn’t use those two words to describe Ik Kil.

Still, Cenote Ik Kil is an incredible natural wonder. And there is a nice 20-foot platform where you jump into the clear waters below. So it’s not like you won’t have fun.

WOTW Tip: if you get to Chichen Itza early, then it is possible to also make it to Ik Kil before the major crowds arrive. 11 am would be an ideal time to see it without dozens of other people and with enough sunlight entering the cenote to experience it in all its glory.

WOTW Tip: there are lockers and life vests (required) provided near the entrance to the cenote. These were both included in the price of the entrance fee.

16. Enjoy The Less-Visited Cenote Xcan Che Near Ek Balam

things to do in Valladolid Cenote Xcan Che
  • Price: 160 MXP for entry to the cenote ($8 US); there are other activities available at Cenote Xcan Che. Please read WOTW Tip #2 for an important note.
  • Hours: 8 am – 5 pm.
  • Time needed: 30 – 60 minutes.
  • WOTW rating: 4/5

Cenote Xcan Che is another wonderful option if you are interested in visiting the best cenotes around Valladolid. Xcan Che is not as famous as Ik Kil, which means you will share this incredible natural wonder with far fewer people. It is also conveniently located directly next to the awesome Ek Balam ruins!

This cenote has a fun rope swing where you can Tarzan your way into the water. You can also pay extra for the opportunity to zip-line over the cenote before dropping in like a Navy SEAL. Honestly, the zip-line looked less fun than it sounds when we saw other people doing it.

Cenote Xcan Che is a stunningly beautiful and relaxed spot to cool down after exploring the Ek Balam ruins. It is without a doubt one of the more memorable things to do in Valladolid!

WOTW Tip #1: Cenote Xcan Che is located about 1 mile from where you buy the ticket. They rent bicycles if you don’t have a car and would rather not walk.

WOTW Tip #2: we unfortunately witnessed some people getting overcharged for different activities at this cenote. You aren’t required to pay for a package of activities. You can simply just pay for the cenote visit. Make sure you know what you are paying for!

17. Beat The Crowds To Cenote Suytun For A Dreamlike Experience

Suytun Cenote
Image source: Canva
  • Price: $130 MXP ($6.60 US).
  • Hours: 9 am – 5 pm.
  • Time needed: 30 – 60 minutes.
  • WOTW rating: N/A

Visiting Cenote Suytun is no longer one of the lesser-known things to do in Valladolid. Cenote Suytun ranks right up there with Ik Kil as one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s most picture-perfect cenotes. And the word is officially out.

This covered cenote has a small circular opening at the very top. When the sun is high, a beam of light enters the cenote to create an undeniably unique image. There is a platform in the middle of the swimming hole where the sunlight hits perfectly.

People looking for the perfect cenote picture, all visit Cenote Suytun during peak light. A line forms in order the get the photo, which stinks. But get there early to experience Suytun without the crowds! It is a beautiful place at any time of day.

18. Hit Up Some Off-The-Beaten-Path Cenotes Near Valladolid

cenotes near Valladolid
Image Source: Canva
  • Price: average entry price for the lesser-known cenotes is 100-150 MXP ($5 – $7.75 US).
  • Hours: vary. Cenotes typically open at 9 am and close between 4:30 pm – 6 pm.
  • Time needed: 45 – 60 minutes per cenote is usually enough in our experience.
  • WOTW rating: N/A

There are countless cenotes to discover near Valladolid. The following are great options if you don’t want to share your cenote with many other people:

  • Cenote Chichikan: a picture-perfect cenote. Similar to Ik Kil without the crowds.
  • Cenote Palomitas: great cave cenote if you are looking for a different aesthetic.
  • Cenote Xcanahaltun: beautiful and much less visited. Mostly all underground with a decent-sized opening in the top letting sunlight in.

We had our remote cenote fix after visiting Homun’s ‘ring of cenotes,’ so we didn’t end up visiting all the cenotes on this list. But we can still recommend exploring these more off-the-radar places. The locally-owned cenotes are much more affordable and more adventurous than the most popular options.

Other Day Trips From Valladolid, Mexico

Here are some other great options for day trips from Valladolid. These are perfect for travelers visiting Valladolid for an extended period.

19. Explore Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve (The Right Way)

Rio Lagartos near Valladolid
Image Source: Canva
  • Price: $150 US for the boat (6 person capacity). The amount paid per person depends on how many people are on the tour.
  • Hours: tours don’t run on a set schedule; boats leave when they are full or the $150 US fee is covered.
  • Time needed: 3 hour tour; 1.5 hour drive from Valladolid.
  • WOTW rating: N/A

Touring Rio Lagartos UNESCO biosphere reserve by boat is one of the most popular day trips from Valladolid. Visitor’s come here for the unique opportunity to explore the biosphere while searching for various bird species (including flamingos), crocodiles, and dolphins if you are lucky.

Note: flamingos are migratory birds. You will find larger numbers in Rio Lagartos between March and June. Though it is possible to see them year round.

Be aware that there are seemingly hundreds of boats eager to take you around the reserve. What I’ve read is that the word ‘tour’ gets thrown around pretty liberally in Rio Lagartos. I recommend booking with Rio Lagartos Experiences if you really want a passionate guide who will teach you about the area’s unique habitat.

While visiting a protected habitat checks a lot of the boxes for us for what we like to do, we ended up skipping the tour. Our initial impression of the town wasn’t extremely positive. The people aggressively selling the tours, and the guy on a motorcycle following us around for 10 minutes, put a bad taste in our mouths. The day we visited, the town was pretty empty and it didn’t seem that there were many tourists around to share the cost of the tour. We were not going to pay the $150 on our own!

20. Relax On The Pristine Cancunito Beach

  • Price: free!
  • Hours: N/A
  • Time needed: there are limited shaded areas. So this one probably depends on if you can score one of the cabanas or thatch umbrellas.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Cancunito is one of the most stunning beaches we saw during our travels through the Yucatan. Cancunito translates to ‘little Cancun.’ Both of these beaches have powdery white sand and incredible turquoise-colored waters. But the similarities stop there. Don’t expect anywhere near the same amount of development here as you would in Cancun.

Cancunito is your best bet if you want to add a beautiful beach to your list of things to do in Valladolid. This little slice of paradise is only a short drive from Rio Lagartos. There is a small restaurant and some vendors in the parking area where you can grab some fresh juices and local foods. This is an excellent off-the-radar spot to enjoy the Yucatan’s beautiful beaches as they should be – undeveloped and pristine.

Do you love beautiful beaches? Us too! Discover 15 of Cozumel’s best beaches!

21. Take A Day Trip To Izamal – The Yucatan’s Famous Yellow City

day trips from Valladolid to Izamal
  • Price: free to explore the city.
  • Hours: Izamal gets pretty sleepy after sunset.
  • Time needed: 1.5 hour drive from Valladolid, plus time spent in Izamal (at least 1/2 day total).
  • WOTW rating: 4/5

‘The Yellow City’ is easily reachable on a day trip from Valladolid. We actually visited Izamal while visiting Merida, but it is easy to explore from either spot.

Izamal has grown in popularity thanks to the one-of-a-kind town center. Literally every building is painted a deep yellow color! It’s definitely worth checking out while visiting Valladolid! Izamal also has an interesting set of Mayan ruins in the center of town. You could easily spend half a day exploring Mexico’s Yellow City!

You may find that Izamal’s colonial vibes and tourist-friendly restaurants feel similar to Valladolid. But we still think it’s an excellent place to visit if you are in Valladolid for a longer stay.

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Things Not To Do In Valladolid

22. Don’t Visit The Instagram-Famous ‘Las Coloradas’

Things not to do in Valladolid Las Coloradas
  • Price: 600 MXP for general entry fee ($30 US) – AKA: scam prices.
  • Hours: don’t even think about it.
  • Time needed: 0 minutes.

Las Coloradas, Mexico may just be my least favorite place on earth! This Instagram-famous tourist trap is an absolute scam (in my humble opinion). Let’s outline why:

  • They charge you $30 to enter an area you can see perfectly well from the parking lot. And it’s not even nice! The photo above is from the parking lot. The people behind me paid at least $30 US to get the “exclusive opportunity” of seeing Las Coloradas 20 feet closer.
  • The pink-colored lake is an artificial byproduct of the salt plant next door (which is ugly and you can also see from there).
  • You will rarely see the pools as pink as you see them online (we went at the optimal time, and the colors were just okay).
  • Security on motorcycles zip around to kick people off a mound of sand in the parking lot where you can get the best picture.
  • It is a made-for-Instagram destination.

Similar to nearby Isla Holbox, Las Coloradas is one of those places that travel writers promote because you can take nice (and heavily-edited) pictures. And it’s easier to say that you liked it rather than calling out a place that sucks (again, in my very humble opinion).

Don’t let the pictures of Las Coloradas fool you when you are planning what to do in Valladolid. This place is a certified scam!

23. Think Twice Before Visiting Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve

  • Price: 700 MXP!!! ($35 US)
  • Hours: nope.
  • Time needed: 0 hours

I had visiting the Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve pegged as an essential stop during our trip. I discovered the reserve when researching lesser-known things to do in Valladolid. Unfortunately, the Punta Laguna Monkey Reserve felt VERY scammy.

Punta Laguna is known for being home to a huge family of spider monkeys. The reserve also offers activities like jungle hikes, canoeing, Mayan ceremonies, and zip-lining. But the catch is that you have to pay for a ridiculously priced package that includes all these activities.

We took an unofficial taxi from the Coba Archeological Site to the Punta Laguna Reserve, and even our driver was like, WTF is up with this place!? He agreed it was too expensive and vowed to warn future travelers interested in going here.

Where To Stay In Valladolid Mexico?

Airbnb in Valladolid Mexico

Did this list of things to do in Valladolid convince you to visit this charming colonial town? Now the next step is finding where to stay in Valladolid?

Check out these highest-rated hotels:

Valladolid’s High-End Hotels:

  • Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Caves: need a warm, salt-water cave pool in your life? Then Hotel Zenik is the spot for you. This is the most exclusive place in town. Located about a 10-minute taxi ride from Valladolid’s main square.
  • Le Muuch Boutique Hotel: right in the center of town. Le Muuch boasts lush garden vibes in a colorful colonial building. It has a highly-reviewed restaurant and a cool rooftop patio with hammocks. Who doesn’t love hammocks?
  • Hotel Posada San Juan: 16 room boutique hotel in the center of town. Hammocks in the room add a nice local touch. Oh, there’s also a spa which is perfect for relaxing your muscles after climbing Mayan pyramids all day.

Perfect Mid-range Hotels In Valladolid, Mexico:

  • Casa Palagui Colonial: as the name implies, this hotel is a beautiful colonial house with a cozy garden in the courtyard. Located a short walk from Valladolid’s main attractions.
  • Saastah Hotel Boutique: a modern boutique hotel with a nice pool and large airy rooms. Guests mention its a great location and perfect cleanliness.
  • La Flor Casa Boutique: two-unit B&B with beautiful rooms. Reviews mention healthy breakfast made with ingredients from the owners’ organic farm! How cool!?!

Best Affordable Lodging Options In Valladolid For Budget Travelers:

  • Casa Tunich Naj: small, family-run B&B near the Parque Francisco Canton. This place is known for their friendly owners, spacious rooms and a little plunge pool in the main courtyard.
  • Hostal Casa Xtakay: friendly, family-run hostal. Private rooms with terraces are available if you want to be the hostal’s baller guest. Guest highlight its cleanliness and relaxing garden. What more could you need from a hostal in Valladolid?
  • Hostal Las Cruces: hostal with 4-bed shared rooms. Las Cruces is clean, well-located, and has a shared kitchen and terrace. And – wait for this – each room has its own coffee machine! WOOHOO coffee!!

WOTW Note: because we travel for extended periods, we usually try to find apartments with kitchens and working spaces. This helps us save money by cooking for ourselves and allows us to get more work done on the road! However, if we were on vacation, we would definitely choose to stay in one of Valladolid’s amazing hotels!

If interested, you can take a look at where we stayed in Valladolid, Mexico. We had a great stay here. Just keep in mind, it’s not fancy.

Final Thoughts: Is Valladolid, Mexico Worth Visiting?

Valladolid was the last of the three colonial cities we visited while exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. And we saw them one after the other. So forgive us for saying that we were running a bit low on travel endorphins that you typically get when arriving somewhere new.

But to answer the question, yes, Valladolid is totally worth visiting if you are exploring this part of Mexico. The town is beautiful, the locals are among the friendliest we encountered in Mexico, and it is a super convenient spot for visiting the most popular attractions in the Yucatan Peninsula.

It’s true. This isn’t a hidden gem anymore. But the good thing is you will never wonder what to do in Valladolid during your trip. It’s totally worth it to add some culture to your Mexico vacation! Especially if the other stops on your itinerary are limited to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Cozumel.

Thanks for reading!


Have any questions about visiting Valladolid? Which one of these activities are you most excited to experience? Reach out in the comments or DM us on Instagram!

Want to explore more of the Yucatan Peninsula? Read these posts next:

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Home » Destinations » 23 Awesome Things To Do In Valladolid Mexico In 2023 (With Video)

5 thoughts on “23 Awesome Things To Do In Valladolid Mexico In 2023 (With Video)”

  1. Awesome article for my future travels!! Thank you for being so detailed for us concerned about safety, price gouging, peace, and beautiful spots.

    1. Gordon Letschert

      We did not catch a colectivo taxi from Coba to Valladolid – I don’t think there is one, otherwise we would probably have found it. We were lucky to find a taxi heading back to Valladolid empty, and he gave us a good price. We took the ADO bus from Valladolid to Coba, and they told us that another bus would be there to pick us up by the corner across from Restaurante La Piramide. But that bus never arrived ): Ek Balam is far easier to get to, if you haven’t already been there. Thanks!

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