What to do in Valladolid? The most beautiful places in the Yucatán

Wondering what to do in Valladolid? So there you are right, today we’ll take a look at the best things to see in Valladolid and the surrounding area!

Valladolid is a very charming city with a pleasant atmosphere. Colourful streets, friendly cafes and delicious food, Valladolid is all of this and it’s no wonder it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.

If you plan to spend at least two weeks in the Yucatán, you should definitely spend a few days in Valladolid. As well as being a really charming town, it’s also a great base for exploring the surrounding area. And there’s really a lot to see!

Explore the city day and night

Lucka in front of the yellow wall in Valladolid

The best way to get to know the city is by walking. Not by hasty escape and chasing “photo spots”. Valladolid is a must-see, the houses, the streets, the doors, the windows, the facades.

Valladolid plays with colours, scents and often music, that’s when folkloric dances are performed in the local park. Valladolid is a good example of Spanish colonial architecture, and if you don’t have time for a trip to Merida or Campeche, be sure to give it plenty of attention.

We recommend hitting the streets in the evening, as this is when life in Mexican cities comes alive. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see a light show.


The most beautiful Cenotes of the Yucatán: Zaci and Suytun



One of the most photographed places in Yucatán is definitely Cenote Suytun. The only problem is that the place has become so popular that you have to count on a really big crowd.

Cenote Suytun is an enclosed karst borehole where the light illuminates a platform in the water at midday. It looks really divine, but you won’t enjoy it unless you are willing to share the beauty with other people.

Cenote Zaci is popular mainly because it is located right in the middle of the city. On hot Mexican days, it’s the perfect place to cool off and take a break from the unbearable Yucatan temperatures.

There are dozens of other cenotes around Valladolid that are less well known and just waiting to be discovered. We visited several of them. They were definitely not as impressive as Suytun or Zaci, but the price was much lower and they were ideal for cooling down.


A trip to the pink lakes of Las Coloradas and flamingos

Husband and wife Lukas and Lucy in front of the pink lake in Las Coloradas
Pink salt lakes of Las Coloradas

If you’ve ever seen pink lakes on social media and thought it must be a hoax. It’s not! Las Coloradas is a day trip from Valladolid and definitely worth a visit.

Las Coloradas is the name of a small fishing village in the Yucatán, where there are beautiful pink lakes. This part of the Yucatán is part of the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, which is home to flamingos, crocodiles, jaguars and water turtles.

The pink lakes that we can visit today in Las Coloradas belong to a salt company. Such lakes for salt production were already here in the time of the ancient Maya. They are pink because of the red-coloured plankton – algae – that live in the very salty water.

It used to be possible to swim in the lakes, but now it is forbidden. You don’t have to be sad about it, it may have looked good in the photos, but people ended up with burnt skin from the water being extremely salty. We only touched the foam on the shore, and even that was not pleasant. Personally, I wouldn’t get in that water if I could.

The Yellow City of Izamal

The Yellow City of Izamal
The Yellow City of Izamal

Izamal is often called “the city of three cultures” because it combines Mayan, colonial and contemporary cultures. Around Izamal there are a number of important archaeological sites of the pre-Hispanic culture, in 16. century, the Spanish built the city on the site of the original Mayan city. On the site of the original pyramid, they built the present yellow Christian monastery. He dominates all of Izamal today.

The whole town of Izamal is yellow, so we recommend to walk not only the church, but also the adjacent streets. If you get hungry, be sure to visit Cafe Restaurante Los Arcos, where they not only have great food but also coffee. In addition, vegetarians can also choose.

New Wonder of the World: Chitzen Itza

One of the new wonders of the world - the Mayan ruins of Chitzen Itza - and in front of it Lukas
One of the new wonders of the world – Mayan ruins of Chitzen Itza

Valladolid is also an ideal starting point for visiting one of the Seven New Wonders of the World – the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. They are 40 minutes from Valladolid, so you can be among the first visitors to this huge complex, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to know more about Chitzen Itza, read our next article, where we not only describe the history of the place, but also provide a map and parking tips.


Buy a hammock in prison

Hammocks in front of the Yucatán prison
Prison hammocks are the best quality in the Yucatan

Near Valladolid in Ebdun, they are said to have the best and highest quality hammocks in all of Mexico. All we can say is that in three months we have not seen better ones, and that even as a layman you can tell at a glance.It is not a fancy shop, but a simple stand in front of the local prison. These hammocks are made by local prisoners, and each hammock has the name of the prisoner who made it written on a sign.

The prices are not negotiable and are not among the lowest, you can pay 2-3 thousand for one hammock.The price depends on the size, they have hammocks for singles, couples, but you can also find family sizes. Count on the fact that a good quality hammock is much heavier than the ones they try to sell you on the beach, and also that if you get your hands on these, you won’t want another one. Unfortunately we didn’t end up buying one, we wanted a small one for singles, and they were just sold out. Hopefully you’ll have better luck and at least we have an extra reason to come back.

Day trip to Merida

view of the church in Merida
One of the most beautiful towns in the Yucatán – Merida

Merida is a two-hour drive from Valladolid, but still worth a visit. The capital of the Yucatán is one of the most prosperous cities in this part of Mexico. You’ll find beautiful colonial architecture, lovely cafes and great food.

Merida is completely different from all the places we’ve explored in the Yucatán, I just don’t know how to describe it. I’d say it’s probably the most colonial of all the cities, and you can finally get a proper taste of Mexican culture. You can explore the city by carriage, which are very cheap here compared to Europe, or you can explore on foot. But if you have time, don’t skip it. We liked it so much that we forgot to take pictures.


Where to stay in Valladolid

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Cheap option

Accommodation in Valladolid - Hostel Candelaria

Hostel Candelaria

We chose Hostel Candelaria, which offers private rooms in addition to shared rooms. The hostel is very nice, clean and located right in the city center.

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Hotel Real Colonial Valladolid

Hotel Real Colonial

If you’re looking for a more private or family-friendly room, be sure to check out Hotel Real Colonia. Breakfast is not included, but you can pay extra for it. But for a great price, you get total privacy.

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Luxury hotel

Mayan Majesty Boutiqu Hotel in Valladolid, Mexico

Mayan Majesty Boutique Hotel

Mayan Majesty Boutique Hotel is one of the best hotels in Valladolid. It offers a beautiful outdoor pool, a rich breakfast and a place to relax.


Tips and tricks for travelling in the Yucatán

What to pack

Take a look at our
travel packing guide
to help you prepare. Choose the right travel backpack, check out the travel gadgets and don’t forget anything important at home.

Where to get tickets

Search for cheap airline tickets at
, they’re our favourite portal. Be sure to read our instructions how to get cheap airline tickets.

Car rental

We commonly use a grader
to help us choose a car provider.

Reservation of accommodation

is our most popular hotel search engine. We always compare hotels with local apartments and rooms on Airbnb (
725 CZK discount
). Read,
how we find cheap accommodation

Don’t forget about insurance

Travel insurance is an absolute must. For shorter journeys, choose AXA (
50% discount
) and for longer journeys the British insurer
True Traveller
. Take a look at
comparison of all insurance companies
and choose the one that suits you best.

Recommended Lonely Planet Yucatanguide

More articles about Mexico that you may find interesting

Playa del Carmen City Guide

What to do in Tulum? 12 things to do there

Chichen Itza: Mayan Ruins and Mexican Wonder of the World

Laguna Bacalar: 8 things to do there + where to eat


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