Valladolid is a small city in the state of Yucatán. Located about a 45 minute drive from the (lesser-used) east entrance of Chichén Itzá, it offers an alternative base for the ruins, while having its own charms as well -- although further from the ruins than the town of Piste, Valladolid is less tourist-oriented and has more historic charm.
Valladolid is just off the toll highway (180D) between Cancun and Merida; the exit is about 3 miles north of the center of town. The old highway (180) runs east-west through the centre of town, and highway 295 connects south towards Chetumal, and north to the toll highway and Ek Balam. Both highways run right through the centre of town on one-way streets, forming the four sides of the central town square. Frequent collectivo vans and ADO buses connect Valladolid to Cancun in the east (2 h), Merida in the west (2 h 15 min), and Tulum in the south (1 h 30 min).
Valladolid is small enough to make walking a reasonable choice within town. To explore the city you can also rent bicyles at a reasonable rate. Other alternative choices are taxis (Be aware the drivers do not speak English).
Parque Fransisco Canton Rosado, the central town square, is surrounded by pretty colonial style buildings that maintain much of their historic character.
The Catedral de San Gervasio, located on the south side of the town square.
Cenote Zací. A spectacular sinkhole located in a public park only few hundred meters from the central plaza, this cenote is traversed by a walking path that passes under a curtain of stalactites in an overhang area.
The Calzada de los Frailes (Calle 41A) located a 10 minute walk south from the town square. This street consists of colonial homes with great architecture. It commences at the "cinco calles" and it ends at the park of the ex-convent San Bernardino de Siena.
The Ex-Convent San Bernardino de Siena, located in the neighbourhood of sisal approx. 10~15 minute walk south from the town square. This 15th century ex-convent and church is situated around a public park where you can sit and enjoy tranquility.
The Museo de San Roque located a few hundred meters from the central plaza. This museum contains mayan and colonial artifacts as well traditional items.
Valladolid due to its tranquility and sleepy, small town charm previously was thought to be just a one-day getaway. But because of its central location, it is a wonderful hub from which to explore the entire northern Yucatan peninsula. It is a major crossroad of north/south and east/west highways. Tourist facilities are readily available from a wide variety of lodging options, many restaurants and street-food choices and lots to do, see and buy. Day trips in any direction can take you to varied locations as the beaches of Tulum on the Caribbean or Rio Lagartos on the Gulf of Mexico to see flamingos and crocs, explore numerous Mayan ruins including Chichen Itza, Cobá, Ek Balam, Aké, Mayapan, Uxmal and many more. Almost 50 colonial churches can be visited via day trips.You can visit many of the 3,000 cenotes within the area and at least ten are close enough to go by bicycle. Many of them are open for swimming. Numerous caves and caverns (dry) can be explored on foot while some cenotes and wet caves can be explored by SCUBA. All of the small villages surrounding Valladolid are the homes of the Mayan people and their language, culture and food. Arrangements can be made to visit them in their homes. Nature preserves offer opportunities to view birds, animals and plants.
Buy wood carvings and traditional clothing and bags made from henequen from the vendors on the central Plaza and the grounds of "Cenote Zaci"Hand made shoes and sandals at the central Plaza.
Visit Yalat Boutique right at the Main Square, the place is filled with original artwork, fine jewelry, and is dedicated to master works and fine Mexican artcrafts including exquisite ceramic Jainas and Maya vessels that are exquisite. Owner very friendly, speaks perfect English, a bit of German and French.
Visit the Coqui Coqui Perfumery and Spa in the Calzada de los Frailes on the way of the Convent. All the perfumes they sell are from the yucatan peninsula, amazing fragrances as the agave or the flor de mayo. Also a very nice garden.
Casa de los Venados, Calle 40 #204. Private residence / with a Mexican folk art collection of approx. 3,000 Museum quality pieces. American owners, when they are in residence, very generiously show people the collection.edit
El Meson de Marques, a hotel located on the north side of the town square, offers dining beside a charming interior courtyard, with excellent food. Entrees in the $M 50 range.
Casa Italia is a small and charming Italian restaurant on the south edge of the square in Candelaria, four blocks north and one block west of the main square. Their pizzas, baked in a wood-fueled oven, are wonderful and inexpensive.
Taberna de los Frailes, Parque Ex-Convento San Bernardino (Barrio de Sisal), ☎ 985 856 0689. 11am to 11pm. Serving contemporary cuisine utilizing Mayan herbs and spices surrounded by Valladolid’s 16th century Ex-Convento de San Bernardino. Full service bar, VIP areas, groups, parking, credit cards.US$10-50. edit
Maruja Cafe, Bar y Galeria, Calle 41 #202A (South side of the main Plaza), ☎ 985 856 0999. 8am to 10pm. Full service bar, great Mayan organically grown coffee & chocolate, deli style menu, outdoor sitting overlooking the main park. Credit Cards.edit
AAA Hostel La Candelaria. A friendly well kept Hostel about 5 minutes walk from the main square. Located at the Candelaria park, just 3 blocks from the ADO busstation. Very well managed, extremly clean and provides a lot of updated information. It has an excellent garden to relax and good kitchen facilities (2 kitchens, one inside and one in the garden). Mixed- and girls dorms, private rooms with cable tv, lockers (locks are provided) all year hot shower, continental breakfast included (fruitsalad, yoghurt, coffee, tea and bread)and free internet (Wi-Fi). It offers bikes for rent, which is a good alternative for going to the cenotes of Dztitnup and Samulá. Good and safe place to explore the surrounding countryside.edit
Casa Quetzal, Calle 51 No. 218 x 50 y 52 col. Sisal, Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico, ☎ 9858564796, . Four-star Boutique Hotel offering various spas and therapeutic massages. Yoga and Chi Kung classes offered.From ~US$ 75.00. edit
Hostal Kinbe, Cnr Calle 38/Ave 41. Very clean.doubles from 120 Pesos. edit
Hotel Maria De La Luz. Friendly and well kept. It is located on the main square. You can get a double with A/C for US$50. The restaurant opens up to the square and has great food.US$6.50-$10. edit
Hotel Santa Lucia, (about 6 blocks north of the main square). A two floor hotel with a variety of rooms ranging from a Single with no A/C (for about US$20) up to a Quintuple with A/C (for about $90).edit
Hotel Tunich Beh, (near downtown on Calzada De Los Frailes). Eight air-conditioned guestrooms and a swimming pool with a small palapa by the side.450 Pesos per night. edit
Casa de los Pianos, Calle 21x18, frente al parque central, 97796 Uayma, Yucatan, ☎ +49 30 261 01 937, . A beautiful house with everyday room cleaning and breakfast. You can get rooms up to 3 persons, 30 EUR per night and room. edit
Casa Hamaca Guesthouse, Parque San Juan, Calle 49 #202-A entre 40 y 42 (4 blocks south of the main square in the historic district), ☎ +529851004270, . checkin: noon; checkout: 11:00AM. A charming guesthouse for the wealthy independent traveler or small groups. Eight Mayan/Yucatan-themed rooms. All rooms have AC, ceiling fans, screened windows, original wall murals, walk-in showers with pressurized hot water, WiFi and a Mayan hammock. All Mayan-speaking staff. Full breakfasts included. On-site secure parking. Massage available. Plunge pool. Authentic, friendly, helpful. Owner/manager is an American ex-pat. TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice award winner for 2013. TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence for 2010,2011,2012 and 2013. TripAdvisor ranked as #1 bed and breakfast in Valladolid, #4 in the entire Yucatan peninsula and #11 in the country of Mexico. Lush, jungle-like gardens in the center of the city.USD$80-150. edit
Valladolid has a good modernised bus station (near the main square) which connects it with the surrounding towns and tourist destinations. There are frequent services to all major destinations. Main companies are ADO (see online website for schedules) and Oriente (see schedule as of February 2014 on the picture on the right)
Oriente bus schedule
Visit the Maya ruins of Ek Balam, an impressive archaelogical site about 25 minutes drive north of Valladolid (one-way cab fare $17 USD). You are allowed to climb the tallest ruin which has been partially restored. This gives you a 360° view of the surroundings.
Chichén Itzá, the largest and most famous ancient Maya site in Yucatan, is to the west; Valladolid is close enough to the ruins to be a convenient base. You can take a collectivo (stand next to the main bus station, 30-40 min; $12 USD; also all of the Oriente buses to Merida stop in Chichén Itzá - 60-90 min, $2 USD one way).