15 Brilliant Things To Do In Valladolid (Mexico) in 2024

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
January 18, 2024
Visiting the amazing town of Valladolid? Then check out my post on the best things to do in Valladolid from cenotes, convents and quaint coffee shops...
Valladolid Mexico

Valladolid is located in the Yucatan state of Mexico, which is known for its natural beauty, thousands of cenotes and the iconic Chichén Itzá.

Most people who visit Valladolid only go there for a day trip, but it is definitely worth staying for a couple of days.

There is so much to do here and to prove it, I’ve created this post on the best things to do in Valladolid, Mexico!

It’s probably one of my most favourite places in Mexico due to its cobbled streets, cute coffee shops, restaurants and delicious food!

And actually, it wasn’t even on Bradley and I’s radar until we met a woman in Guatemala who suggested we definitely go and thank gosh we did!

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When is the best time to visit Valladolid, Mexico?

The best time to visit Mexico in general is during November to March/April. Bradley and I visited in March and Valladolid was perfect!

It was a wonderful temperature, no rain and everything was open and ready to see.

This is known as the dry season, and is best for those who want clear blue skies and uninterrupted weather during their travels. Average temperatures range from 73-81°F, with highs of 95°F and lows of 64°F (it’s generally more tolerable in terms of temperatures when compared with the hotter wet season).

You can expect anywhere from 1-2 inches of rainfall falling throughout each month, which is barely anything and won’t affect your daily plans.

The wet season begins in May and lasts until late October. Whilst it’s less popular (given there’s more rain and all), there are benefits of visiting during this time. This includes the fact that there are less overall crowds (especially in May and October), as well as getting to enjoy novel cultural events like the Mexican Independence Day and the Day of The Dead.

Average daily temperatures in this season increase to between 78-83°F, with highs of 96°F and lows of 71°F.

Rainfall increases to between 3-6.5 inches per month, and can spontaneously fall in heavy showers at any time (although these are pretty quick and everything dries up quickly). 

Please note that the hurricane season is most active between the months of August and October. Whilst it probably won’t affect Valladolid so much as it’s more in-land, it’s worth considering if you will be traveling throughout Mexico and along the coast.

You can check out the full weather for Valladolid here on WeatherSpark.

How long should I stay in Valladolid?

walking tour valldolid

In order to gain the most from your trip to Valladolid in Mexico, I recommend you stay at least 2 nights.

You could easily stretch to 3 nights and that’s how long Bradley and I stayed.

We found it to be the perfect amount to see all the top things to do in Valladolid, and take day trips to nearby cenotes and of course, Chichén Itzá.

Go ahead and book your day trip right here (which includes Tequila tasting- yes please!)

Where to stay in Valladolid?

When it comes to hotels in Valladolid, you’re truly spoilt for choice.

There is something to suit the budget backpacker and those with a comfortable budget!

Bradley and I choose to stay in Gayser Apartments as we liked the idea of having our own space to cook (although we didn’t cook much in the end - food is cheap here!). But the apartments are lovely and I can highly recommend them.

They are only a 10 minute walk to the centre of town too.

The same company also has a boutique hotel, and a hostel, so they really do have something for everyone!

I’ve also included 3 other hotels in Valladolid that I think are great. I came across them whilst researching where to stay in Valladolid myself.

  • Casa Valladolid Boutique Hotel: Fabulous and beautiful hotel with a swimming pool, gorgeous rooms, great location and it’s highly rated!
  • Hotel Fundadores: Wonderful hotel in a great location, swimming pool, stylish rooms and again, very highly rated.
  • Hotel Meson del Marques: Housed in a 17th century house, this is a luxury pick for those looking for something special in Valladolid. 5 star service, pool, rooms and much more. In an excellent location too!
Read More: Where To Stay In Valladolid

What is the best way to get to Valladolid?

If you’re coming from Mexico City, Cancun, Tulum or Playa Del Carmen, then the best way to get to Valladolid is via the ADO bus.

It’s not expensive and it's a comfortable journey.

You can check the ADO website for bus timings, but you cannot book your tickets online unless you have a Mexican credit card.

**2021 update - We received a comment stating that it was possible to book using a German credit card. It may now be that you can book okay with foreign cards but we cannot personally confirm this.

Alternatively, car rental in Mexico is super cheap, so I would recommend renting a car for a couple of days and heading to Valladolid, then you can use it to discover other coastal resorts of Mexico!

For more info, check out our in-depth guide on Cancun's best car rentals.

Tours: If you are coming from Cancun or Playa Del Carmen then you’ll be given the option of a day trip to Valladolid.

Whilst I think it’s better to stay a few days, if you’ve only got a day spare, then I think it’s still worth visiting.

Lots of the trips will combine Valladolid with a trip to Chichén Itzá.

Avoid buying tours in Cancun or Playa del carmen as all they do is rip you off. I think buying online is better and below are a couple of tours which look good from Get Your Guide and Viator!

  1. From Cancun: Chichén Itzá, Valladolid and Coba ruins
  2. From Cancun: Chichén Itzá, cenotes and Valladolid- all inclusive tour with tequila tasting!

I use Get Your Guide or Viator for tours simply because I hate people trying to rip me off.

If you don’t want to book via an online platform then that’s fair enough, but I do suggest you look at what the price of a tour should be, so when someone is quoting you at an agency or on the street, you know what’s a fair price.

So if it tends to be around $40-50 online, and someone is trying to sell it to you for $70-90, then you know they’re laughing behind your back.

Top reviewed tour
Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour
This highly rated tour will take you to the impressive archaeological ruins of Chichén Itzá and then go to a sacred cenote and end with a buffet meal in the restaurant with a tour of Valladolid.

15 Top Things To Do In Valladolid

Okay, so now for the part you came for: the top things to do in Valladolid.

1.Visit the Convent of San Bernardino

church in valldolid

Costing only a couple of dollars for entrance, the Convent of San Bernardino is well worth the visit.

It’s a lovely walk through cobbled streets to get there, and if you go around lunch time you may find you’ve got the entire place to yourself!

You can choose to go inside and explore the beautiful covent itself, which is full of surprises and hidden gems.

This includes a small museum inside which explains the discovery of cenotes and items left behind in them underground, which is pretty cool.

The grounds around the convent also house the classic “Valladolid” sign which is colorful and a little worn down, but of course you’ve got to get your picture taken there!

The Convent of San Bernardino is located next to the Parque Sisal, which is around a 15 minute walk from the Parque Principal. It’s open all days of the week from 9:00am until 5:00pm, aside from Saturday and Monday where the convent is closed. 

You can join this guided tour which departs from Mérida, or also link-up with them later when they arrive in Valladolid (if you are already here in the city). You’ll have a professional guide show you around the place, and you'll visit other key sites in the city as well as in Izamal (such as the Uayma Convent and the Pyramid of Kinich Kakmó). 


2. Explore Cenote Zaci

Cenote Zaci, Mexico
Source: Haakon S. Krohn via Wikipedia

Cenotes are by far one of the most incredible sites that you can visit, which is a hollow limestone cave filled with green and bright-blue water. It easily makes our list of top things to do when backpacking Mexico!

Cenote Zaci is the only cenote that’s basically in the town of Valladolid.

No need to get transport there, since you can easily walk within just 10 minutes from the town center.

There are many signs leading you here, or you can head to the tourist information center which provides really great maps (and free information) to help guide you!

You can also swim in this cenote if you wish, or just simply view it from the platform.

It costs 30 pesos to enter, which is about $1.

If you do decide to swim or take pictures, please make sure you have something waterproof for your camera!

You can view here for directions to the Cenote Zaci, which is open all days of the week from 9:00am until 5:00pm.

3. Have lunch by the fountain

water fountain in valldolid

The main “square” in Valladolid is where all the tour buses stop and there is a little park in the center which is super cute.

Known as the Parque Principal (it’s full name is the Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado), it serves as a really great reference point when exploring the streets of Valladolid).

Here we can find a simple white fountain, which whilst it isn’t all that impressive, it does certainly add to the romantic atmosphere the little square exudes.

You can get an ice cream and lounge on one of the seats, or do what Bradley and I did which was buy a couple of sandwiches and drinks and create our own little picnic.

The Parque Principal is located within the heart of the city, with a crossroads of four main roads at each flank (making it really easy to find). It’s open 24/7, however you’ll find the hours of 3:00pm-7:00pm the very best for enjoying the park.

Given its fantastic location, we also think that it’s worth staying close to the Parque Principal. You can check out our article on the Best Hotels for a Stay in Valladolid.

4. Dine at one of the many restaurants along the Main Square

Cochinita Pibil tacos

Speaking of the main square, along its periphery we’ll find plenty of fabulous little restaurants dotted around.

You’d think they’d be overpriced considering the location, but they are actually quite inexpensive!

They also serve up excellent Yucatan cuisine, which I absolutely loved!

Bradley and I dined in these ones, so we can personally recommend them:

In this area we’ll find all kinds of restaurants, including both international ones as well as local Yucateco dishes

We recommend trying the latter at least once during your time in Valladolid, with dishes like Cochinita Pibil and Papadzules among the very tastiest.

And who knows - maybe you’ll come away with a new favorite dish from this part of Mexico!

5. Wander the cobbled streets and discover quaint coffee shops

coffee shops in valladolid

If there is one thing I love, it's a cute coffee shop.

Combine that with cobbled streets then you’ve stolen my heart.

What I love about the coffee shops in Valladolid is that they’re quirky, independent and serve great coffee.

We went to one with an awesome outdoor garden area, and another which served up delicious vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

There is so much choice here in Valladolid, so I suggest you go for a wander around and stumble across one that you like.

A good starting choice is the Café Arte, which is located on the north wing of the Parque Principal. Highly-reviewed and serving some delicious brews, it’s open from 8:00am until 7:00pm, Wednesday through to Monday.

6. Take a walking tour around Valladolid

wander streets in valldolid

We personally didn’t do this, but I did see it advertised at the Tourist Information Centre which is located within the main plaza.

It’s an evening walking tour, and the best part of all is that it’s free (other than your tip you can choose to give).

So if you want to find out more about Yucatán culture and Valladolid in general, then I think this is a really good option!

Those who prefer having everything organized (with a professional guide leading you) can choose to join this memorable walking tour. Here your expert guide will teach you everything you need to know about the city, whilst  also visiting many iconic sites such as the Casa de los Venados, The Convent of San Bernardino as well as the Cenote Zaci.

7. Discover nearby cenotes

cenote suytun

Valladolid is located close to some amazing cenotes, and I’ve written a whole post about the fantastic Cenote Suytun which I'm sure you will recognise from social media.

Valladolid is a 10 minute moped ride away from Cenote Suytun, which is open from 9:00am until 4:30pm all days of the week (although it’s much better to go on weekdays to avoid overcrowding).

As well as Suytun, this city is super close to many other cenotes in the area so it’s a brilliant place to base yourself.

This includes the infamous Cenote Ik Kil (which looks like something out of a prehistoric film), as well as the stunning Cenote Xkeken.

You need about 2 days to see ALL the cenotes in the area, and you’ll be surprised at how many there are.

We recommend booking this flexible day tour which has hotel pick-up and drop-off all throughout the Riviera Maya region. Here you’ll get to visit the legendary Ik Kil Cenote, as well as Chichén Itzá.

This alternative day tour is perfect for those who like seeing more hidden gems. As well as having all private transport included, you’ll visit various cenotes such as Cenote Chichikam and Cenote Uayma Ha. You’ll also get to visit Chichén Itzá, which leads perfectly onto our next point…

8. Take a day trip to Chichén Itzá

Chichen Itza

Out of all of the things you can see and do in Mexico, Chichén Itzá is a major highlight and really puts Valladolid on the map as a must-visit city.

Chichén Itzá is a wonderful place to visit, and if you’ve only got time to see one set of Mayan ruins in Mexico, then this is your choice.

It has to make the list of the very top things to do in Valladolid, because people associate the two of them so much!

However, since it’s become so popular nowadays, it’s STUPIDLY expensive and this is all for the sake of charging more money. I’ve been to better ruins in Mexico and they are 1/12 of the costs!

Anyway, mini rant over.

Tours to Chichén Itzá can be reasonable, and depart from all over the Riviera Maya (many leave early and have pick-up points all over).

The benefit of doing a tour from Valladolid is that it’s super close (just a 45 minute drive from the city), so you’ll pay much less compared with those traveling hours here and back.

We recommend booking this tour from Valladolid, where your certified guide will walk you through what life was really like during these ancient times. As well as including all transport, you’ll also have all entrance tickets supplied (including to two beautiful cenotes).

Now if you still want to cut costs further, then you can definitely visit Chichén Itzá independently from Valladolid.

You can either get there via moped (rental is $20 for 24 hours), or take the local colectivos (shared mini buses) for a couple of pounds. These are found next to the bus station and leave quite frequently.

Or of course you can also get a taxi or organized tour there.

Either way, it's up to you!

Bradley and I visited via moped with a combined day of discovering cenotes and the drive was wonderful (until the rain started to pour from the heavens and even our little plastic raincoats couldn't save us haha).

As well as visiting from Valladolid, you can easily get to Chichén Itzá with day tours from all over the Riviera Maya region.

These are plentiful, and often combine stops in Valladolid, a variety of cenotes and include lunch, so they can be excellent value!

There is a lot to choose from, so I've done the research and narrowed it down to these tours.

If you want to avoid the crowds at Chichén Itzá then I suggest you arrive as soon as it opens.

We went about an hour before it closed (thinking that would reduce the number of people) but it is still VERY BUSY!

If you want a picture of you and that famous pyramid without lots of people in it, then I suggest you use the far side of the temple as it’s a little more worn, so there are less people there.

Chichén Itzá is open from 8:30am until 4:30pm all days of the week, so it’s best to try and get there in the queue around 7:30am.

Also the one thing that kind of ruins the atmosphere at Chichén Itzá is the thousands (perhaps a slight exaggeration for effect) of people selling the same crap. But it’s not the selling that bothers me, it’s trying to sell a piece of plastic to me for $30 when I’ve bought one before for $1, then acting shocked that I’ve even suggested that…..

I blame the people that have paid stupid amounts of money for bad quality stuff as it drives the price up for everyone else which then leads me into a haggling match I simply can’t win even a little..

Sorry if you’re one of those people...but you should have known better!

Top reviewed tour
Cancún: Classic Chichen Itza Day Tour with Lunch
Travel from Cancún to Chichen Itza on a full-day trip and take a guided tour of the ancient ruins, visit and swim in the underwater grotto of Cenote Ik Kil, and eat a buffet lunch accompanied by traditional dance and music.

9. Drink Cocktails

margarita alcoholic beverage

Haven’t had a margarita in Mexico yet? 

Well, that’s basically a sin, so you’ll want to fix that ASAP with a variety of great options on offer here in Valladolid!

Head to the Parque Principal where there are many small bars and restaurants serving up a nice selection of drinks.

The Condesa Cocina Bar is great for those who love a good atmosphere, as they change their drinks weekly to include extra Mezcal and Tequila varieties. It’s open from 1:00pm until 1:00am all days of the week.

El Mesón de Marques is another solid option, which is a luxury hotel that has a more intimate feel. As well as sipping on tasty cocktails, they also do some really great food.

10. Rent a bike and explore

markets in valldolid

If you don’t feel brave enough to rent a moped (Don’t blame you, I make Brad drive!), then you can easily rent bikes in Valladolid.

This city is really bike-friendly, and I think it’s a great idea to just get a bike and cycle around and see what you discover.

Renting a bike is also a great way to tick off the many things to do on this Valladolid list!

You’ll find plenty of bike rental companies all over the city, and there’s a good chance your accommodation may even have some to borrow too.

If not, then you can head to the Bicicletería Silva to pick-up your own bike, which is located just a block from the Parque Principal. They are open from 7:30am until 7:00pm all days of the week.

11. Explore Colonial Art at the Casa de los Venados

Valladolid as a whole is full of culture, and has a really interesting past with both its occupations from the Spanish and Mayans. 

A lot of this can be seen in the colorful streets and ancient ruins located in and around Valladolid, however you can also enjoy a more intimate experience too here at the Casa de los Venados

This museum is actually situated within a colonial home, and is one of the largest private museums that feature colonial art in all of Mexico

Here you can find over 3000 pieces of art, which show how Mexico has developed over the last few centuries with all kinds of contemporary paintings and folk art.

Every day you can head on their private tour around the complex, which begins at 10:00am. 

We think it’s a must when in Valladolid - both for the beautiful art you will see as well for the novel experience. 

The Casa de los Venados is located just a block south of the Parque Principal, and is open from 10:00am (when the tour starts) until 4:00pm. 

12. Head on a Day Trip to Las Coloradas

The Yucatán region is known for its incredible variety of sites, which include crumbling ruins and refreshing cenotes. 

However the pink lagoon of Las Coloradas has recently become a more popular site to visit, and for good reason too! This pink lagoon has its infamous colors due to the various salts and microorganisms that are present in the waters.

It’s important to remember that you cannot swim in the lagoon, given that the high concentration of salt (and other minerals) can easily burn skin, even if only for a short period of time!

Las Coloradas is located close to the town of Río Lagartos, which is around a 2 hour drive north from Valladolid. 

Those heading independently will want to know that the site is open from 9:00am until 5:00pm, and the entrance ticket costs roughly 120 MXP. 

Those who like having everything organized for them can head with this day tour that leaves from Valladolid. Here you’ll visit the Pink Lagoon, see wildlife in nearby Rio Lagartos as well as get to visit the ruins of Ek Balam. Speaking of which…

13. Visit the Ancient Ruins of Ek Balam

Ek Balam Mayan ruins

Whilst Chichén Itzá tends to steal all of the thunder, it’s easy to forget that there’s many other incredible ruins located in the Yucatán (both around Valladolid and near Mérida). 

Visiting these other sites is great since they won’t be as touristy, and will offer you more ways to learn about the ancient Maya culture. 

One of the very best has to be Ek Balam, which translates as “The Black Jaguar”. Here we can explore many giant buildings, such as El Torre (which is one of the largest structures in the Riviera Maya region) and other defensive structures. 

This site is also infamous for its intricate sculptured details, such as the decorated facades that are located all around the site. 

Remember to bring lots of water as it can get really hot here, and also sunscreen to avoid getting burnt. 

Ek Balam is located roughly 28 km from Valladolid, and can be reached within 30 minutes of driving. The site is open from 8:00am until 5:00pm all days of the week. 

You can join this half-day tour of Ek Balam Ruins, which includes your entrance, private transportation as well as your own knowledgeable guide who will show you around the site. 

14. Experience a Honey Tasting Tour

stingless bee in Mexico

When traveling you’ll find that most tourists stick to the “must-visits” of the region, however often miss out on the more authentic experiences available. 

Going honey tasting definitely ranks amongst one of the more unique things you can do in Valladolid, and we highly recommend trying it out! 

On this half-day tour you’ll visit a dry cenote which is known as Xkopek, which is home to many colonies of ancient bees. Here we can try different types of honeys, learn about the various species that live here as well as understand the importance that bees played to the Maya who once flourished in these areas. 

Given you’ll be walking through the jungle too, be sure to bring a good mosquito repellent.

It’s also good to know that many of these bees don’t actually have stingers - so if getting stung is a big fear of yours then there’s no need to worry! 

The great thing about this site is that it’s actually located within Valladolid, right on the outskirts of the city. This makes it an easy item to tick-off whilst staying in Valladolid, and reaching it independently is simple as well. 

The Xkopek Beekeeping Park is open from 8:00am until 11:00pm all days of the week.

15. Go Birdwatching around Valladolid

Yucatan woodpecker in Mexico

Valladolid is well-known for its colonial buildings and colorful streets, however it’s a good idea to break it up a bit by getting into nature. 

And those who love birdwatching (or just fancy a nice change of scenery) will want to head on this tour whilst in Valladolid. Here you’ll head to the Mayan town of Tzumuc, which is known for its awesome hiking paths. 

Along the way your knowledgeable guide will point out all kinds of rare and exotic birds that are endemic to this region. This includes the Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Woodpecker, Orange-backed Calandria as well as many other migratory species.

You’ll have binoculars provided for you, however remember to bring your own camera as well to catch these birds in all their glory.

It’s a really memorable experience, and also a good way to change things up between visits to ancient ruins, cenotes and visiting sites within the city. 

On this full day tour you’ll also get to meet the local people of Tzumuc, and see a more humble way of living compared to the big city lifestyle in Valladolid. As well as having your own private guide, you’ll also have a traditional Mayan lunch prepared for you and round-trip transportation is included.

Is Valladolid safe?

Valladolid is pretty safe, we never had any issues and everyone was super friendly.

Just be sensible, don’t flash the cash, don’t make yourself vulnerable etc and you should be just fine!

Where next?

If you’re wondering where you should visit after Valladolid, then I suggest you check out all the amazing things to do in Cancun and the beautiful beaches of Playa Del Carmen.

However, if you want to experience more of authentic Mexico (not the tourist illusion), then head up to my favourite place in Mexico: Palenque.

Final notes

Just so you are aware, the time zone in Yucatan is one hour different from Cancun before daylight saving changes. So we basically arrived too late to our first bus and too early for our second because we were switching time zones so much. As of April, it’s all the same, but just be wary!

So there you go!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post on the great things to do in Valladolid, Mexico! It’s truly a unique place and it’s one that will stay in your memory.

With amazing people, cheaper prices, and beautiful sites, it will give you a different insight into Mexican life than the coastal resorts give.

Check out my full backpacking Mexico guide here.

Happy travelling!

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
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