There are many riches that make Valladolid a “Pueblo Mágico,” such as its beautiful streets, churches, gastronomy, and people. What this town is not lacking is peace, though this was not always the case! Founded in 1543, it was the stage of vast confrontations between the Maya and the Conquistadores, and then events such as the Guerra de Castas (1847) and the first spark of the Mexican Revolution (1910). Today, Valladolid is a charming Yucatecan city worth a day-long visit, at the very least.
As one of our Pueblos Mágicos, Valladolid has endless corners, activities, and flavors for you to discover for days. Do you only have 24 hours to visit Valladolid? You can still make the most of them; here’s a short list of things you can do in Valladolid, so you can create your own itinerary.
La Calzada de los Frailes
You can spend days strolling along this charming street built on the 16th for access to the Sisal neighborhood. It starts at the corner of the Cinco Calles, and ends at the former convent San Bernardino de Siena. You’ll find boutiques and charming spots for coffee lovers.
The town of Valladolid has six colonial neighborhoods, each with its own church, park, and particular charm: Sisal, Santa Lucía, Candelaria, San Juan, Santa Ana, and Centro.
Tours: Bee tour and Free Walking Tour
We all love a good tour to widen our knowledge by the hand of the experts. In Valladolid, you have the opportunity to take two tours: the bee tour at Xkopek, Parque Apícola, and the Free Walking Tour.
In the first one, at Xkopek, you’ll learn about Melipona (stingless) bees and their relationship with the Maya and their culture. In addition, you’ll sample honey products. This tour lasts approximately one hour and has a general rate of $120 pesos per person.
If you prefer a tour to learn about Valladolid’s history, the Free Walking Tour will be your best option. They have two daily routes with a duration of one and a half to two hours. In the morning, at 10 am, it departs from the main square and ends at the local market. Although the afternoon route starts at the same place, at 7 pm, it ends at the former Convent of San Bernardino de Siena, half an hour before the video mapping show begins. If you’d prefer a foodie tour, there are two additional options: the gastronomic tour (three restaurants with the city’s popular dishes) and the Tour de Cantinas (bar tour) which includes three stops (and drinks), each at $400 pesos per person; they last approximately two hours, start at 12 pm, and you need to book ahead.
Valladolid has so many museums that it is impossible to visit all in one day; choose whichever you find most appealing (three will be enough). For art lovers, definite musts include Casa de los Venados (Mexican folk art), Museo de la Ropa Étnica de México (MUREM), and Casa Ramón Mendoza (featuring the work of a local 20th-century painter). Are you more of a history fan or are you interested in learning about the area? The San Roque Museum (pre-Hispanic and colonial times), the Choco-Story Museum (history of chocolate in Maya and colonial culture), and the former Convent of San Bernardino de Siena are ready to welcome you.
The former convent (and the video mapping)
Yes, it’s part of the last section but it deserves a spotlight. The former Convent of San Bernardino de Siena was home to the Franciscans. You’ll identify the building thanks to its colossal size in the Barrio de Sisal (Sisal neighborhood). It has a botanical garden, a wheel, sacred art, and information about the subterranean cenote on its grounds.
Also, its façade serves as the setting for the video mapping “Noches de La Heroica Valladolid” (Nights of Heroic Valladolid); a free activity in which you can appreciate the history of Valladolid through music, narrative, and animation. There are two shows every day: 9 pm (in Spanish) and 9:25 pm (in English). Enjoy it (it lasts about 15 minutes) while trying a delicious Marquesita (a must); you’ll find multiple carts in the park.
Archaeological Sites Near Valladolid: Ek Balam and Chichén Itzá
Whether you’re visiting from far, far away or you’re from around the corner, you might want to spend a morning at one of these two archaeological sites. Chichén Itzá is a 45-minute drive from Valladolid, while Ek Balam is just 20 minutes away. The latter is less known than the new wonder of the world, but there you’re still allowed to climb the large structures that reveal its importance, as well as stucco sculptures that are worth admiring.
General advice: visit the archaeological sites in the morning. After 11 am the temperature starts to go up, reaching more than 35º C (well above the high 90sº F) and even 40º C in summer.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Arriving early? Before setting off on your adventure, have breakfast at Los Portales to feed your body all the energy you’ll need to get to your next meal (peacefully at least). Their menu is more than varied, you can find “from Pokes to traditional Yucatecan cuisine” (according to their sign).
For lunch, visit Yakunaj to try a concept that fuses Mexican food with innovative elements; for example, a pink Mole. You’ll find international options too, such as burgers and pasta. Visit with an empty stomach, because portions are generous.
Then it’s dinnertime. Here you can kill two birds at once: a restaurant and a museum. More or less. Idilio opens its doors at 5 pm to pamper its guests with craft (Yucatecan) beers and fusion cuisine. And the museum? That would be Casa Ramón Mendoza, located at the front of the restaurant, before you can step onto the terrace. If you want to enjoy the video mapping, Idilio might be a great option for you, as it is right on Calzada de Los Frailes. Keep walking and you’ll arrive at Parque Sisal, where you can sit down to appreciate the show on the façade of the former convent.
Dessert! Try Wabi Gelato’s handmade ice cream. They mix traditional Yucatecan flavors with Mediterranean ones.
To get to Valladolid:
By car: Take the Mérida-Cancún highway, either the free road to go through the towns (“puebleando”) or the toll highway for $210 pesos. If you take the latter, you’ll see the turnoff to Valladolid a couple of kilometers after the service station.
By public transportation: ADO CAME has departures all day; the rates start at $192 pesos. There are also vans leaving from Calle 52 x 63 and 61.
Where to spend the night in Valladolid?
FB: Coqui Coqui
Hostal Tunich Naj
Calle 38 #202-A x 43 y 45, Centro
FB: Hostal Tunich Naj
Le Muuch Hotel
Calle 42 x 35 y 33, Centro
FB: Le Muuch Hotel
Mesón del Marqués
Calle 39 x 40 y 42, Centro
FB: Hotel El Meson del Marques
Calle 30 x 27 y 29, Col. Fernando Novelo
FB: Zentik Project
Hostal Casa Xtakay
Calle 43 x 38 y 40, Centro
Tel. 985 852 8739
Editorial by Olivia Camarena Cervera
Yucatecan communicologist. Your favorite Assistant Editor. Writer, blogger, and bookstagrammer in her spare time. She also experiments with TikTok.
Photography by Cassie Pearse and Olivia Camarena Cervera for use in Yucatán Today.
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