About 2 hours from Merida, you can find the beautiful little town of Valladolid, right in the centre of the Yucatán peninsula. Here you can enjoy delicious local food, discover plenty of cenotes in the area, or embark on some amazing day trips in and around Valladolid. Due to its central location, Valladolid makes the perfect base for exploring Yucatán. On top of that, Valladolid is also one of the safest destinations in Mexico, and should be included in any Mexico itinerary.
Check out 9 of the best things to do in and around Valladolid!
1. Visit the main square
The best starting point for discovering a new city and making your way around. Like in most cities in Mexico, the main square is the heart of the city centre, you can find a church and restaurants, as well as locals and tourists alike enjoying the sun and some street food.
2. Visit Convento de San Bernardino de Siena
About a 12-minute walk away from the main square, you can find the convent, where you can learn more about the history of the city. You can also take a guided tour around. On certain days, there is also a light and sound show.
I did not go in, but it was also very cool to look at from the outside already. Apparently there is also a cenote under the gardens.
Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm
3. Visit a restaurant with a cenote
One place where I never expected to find a cenote would probably be in a restaurant, but that is exactly where you can find one in Valladolid. At the restaurant Zaci, just an 8-minute walk away from the main square, you can not only find delicious food but also cenote Zaci. However, the cenote is temporarily closed for swimming due to construction, but you can still look at it while eating local dishes at a restaurant. Which is pretty cool!
4. Eat some local Yucatán dishes
Speaking of food and restaurants, while you are there, make sure to also try some local dishes from Yucatán. There are plenty of restaurants in the city of Valladolid.
5. Trip to Chichen Itza
Valladolid is the perfect base to embark on your adventure to Chichen Itza, one of the seven new world wonders. At this world-famous archaeological site, you will find impressive Mayan ruins. To get to Chichen Itza from Valladolid, it will take you around 50 minutes by car. There are also options to visit the famous site as part of an organised tour, but just be aware that it will be extremely busy once you arrive at Chichen Itza.
If you have the chance to travel by rental car, it is best to get there as early as you can, which makes Valladolid the perfect base as it is located nearby.
6. Visit a cenote between Chichen Itza and Valladolid
Once you are done strolling around the impressive Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, and it is time to make your way back to Valladolid, make sure to also include a cenote while you are doing so. If you are travelling by car, there are multiple cenotes along the way that you can easily stop by, such as cenote Kax Ek, which is the one I visited.
7. Day trip to Rio Lagartos
Rio Lagartos is located around a one and a half hour drive North of Valladolid. It is a beautiful little fishermen town right by a large lagoon, surrounded by some beautiful nature and wildlife. The most popular activity in Rio Lagartos is to go on a boat tour around the lagoon and watch some flamingos. Other than that, there are also tours where you can spot crocodiles, visit the nearby pink lake in Las Colorados, or enjoy some local fresh seafood.
8. Visit Punta Laguna Monkey Reserve in Coba
Around 60 km from Valladolid, you can find Coba, which is located in the state of Quintana Roo. Coba is mostly known for its famous Mayan archaeological site, which is also worth a visit!
If you are interested in some more nature, though, another great activity to do in Coba is to visit the Punta Laguna nature reserve. It’s a great place to spot some spider monkeys! However, other than trying to find some monkeys in the jungle, you can kayak, swim in the lagoon or zipline.
While you can book a tour to do all of that, I recommend just showing up and booking a tour with a guide once you arrive. I would definitely recommend a guide as otherwise you will have quite the low chance of spotting monkeys, and you might also get lost in the jungle.
Planning a trip to Valladolid?
Then it is best to fly into either Mérida or Cancun. Find the cheapest flights to Cancun and Mérida with Skyscanner. Looking for accommodation? Here you can find the best hotels in Valladolid or anywhere else in Yucatán!
And would you like to improve your Spanish beforehand? Sign up for italki and talk to a native speaker! Get started with $5 of italki credits for free!
9. Visit cenote Choo Ha in Coba
If you are around Coba to go on a tour through the jungle or visit the famous ruins in Coba, you might as well also visit another cenote on the way back to Valladolid. Of course there are many beautiful cenotes in all of Yucatán, but I can only speak of the ones that I have visited myself. And out of all those, cenote Choo Ha in Coba was my favourite.
This cenote is an underground cave, so you will have to climb some stairs to get there in the first place. But you are bound to see many impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The water is super clear, and is it just an amazing cenote to visit.
The entry fee is $100 pesos per person, and it is open from 8 am to 6 pm.
And these were some of the best things to do in and around Valladolid. Would you like to visit Valladolid when travelling to Mexico?
Talk to you later x
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