Valladolid: The “Magic Town” At The Heart Of Riviera Maya

Last Updated Oct 18, 2023

Valladolid is located in the southeastern part of the country and was added to the list of magic towns in 2012.

It’s also known as the “Sultan of the East” as it preserves the wealth left by the Spanish conquest, with colorful temples, streets, and buildings.

This is a town to enjoy slowly, strolling through its neighborhoods and admiring its beauty.

How Do I Get to Valladolid, Yucatan?

This magic town is about 100 miles (160 kms) from Merida and about 12.5 miles (145 kms) from Cancun.

If you choose to rent a car, the drive will be nice and comfortable from both cities and there are plenty of smaller destinations to visit along the way.

Valladolid at night

You can also get to Valladolid by public transportation. In this case, take an ADO bus at one of the bus terminals in the Riviera Maya. You will find them in the cities of Cancun and Mérida, as well as in Playa del Carmen and Tulum

The other alternative is to book a guided tour with one of the many tour agencies in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. A great way to enjoy a day trip without worrying about organizing your visits!

Things to do and see in Valladolid

Activities? Places of historical and cultural interest? Shows and entertainment for the whole family?

Let us show you what to do and see in Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico. Follow the guide! it's over here ¡Follow the guide! it's over here 👇

1. Cenote Zací

Cenote Zaci is a must.

You have to visit this spectacular cenote located in the heart of the city, in the Santa Ana area. The entrance costs around $30 pesos but if you buy food or drinks in their restaurants, the entrance is free.

It is a perfect place to cool down after a hot day and it is almost always hot in Valladolid.

  • 📍 Cenote Zaci, Sta Ana, 97780 Valladolid
  • ⏰ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • 💲 $30 pesos

2. The Main Square

The Main Square (Aka "El zócalo") has a beautiful park with many restaurants, bars and shops.

In downtown, you will find a fountain called La Mestiza, a tribute to the Yucatecan woman whose origin was through miscegenation between the Mayans and the Spanish. The sculpture wears the regional costume of Yucatan: "El Termo".

Very often there are dance shows and live music in the zocalo of Valladolid.

If you arrive at the end of the day, the central square will be filled with street vendors with all kinds of antojitos, the famous snacks with Mexican flavors.

Odigoo Tip: Try the marquesitas! They are thin crepes filled with the flavors of your choice and are the specialty of the region. We recommend you try the yellow cheese ones for a tasty sweet and salty mix.
Kids will probably prefer the ones with Nutella and banana! 😋

📍 Zócalo: Francisco Cantón Rosado Main Park.



3. Road of the Friars

It is a road traveled by the Franciscan monks, the pioneers of evangelization in Mexico that came with the Spanish conquest.

This charming trail, built in the 16th century, goes from Valladolid to the town of Sisal. Its peculiarity? It is made up entirely of colorful colonial-style houses that light up the alley with their pastel colors.

This road was a border between the pagan world and the Catholic world. At the end of the road, you will find the Ex-Convent of San Berardino de Siena, the most sacred place in the city.

Take a walk and don’t forget to take many pictures. It’s a very Instagramming place.

📍 Road of the Friars

4. Convent of San Bernardino of Siena

This is an old Franciscan convent in the neighboring Sisal. You can visit the church, a chapel, and the 1847 War museum.

From Tuesday to Sunday, there’s a light and sound show with the history of Valladolid projected on the façade.


The show at 9 pm is in Spanish and twenty minutes later, there’s one in English.

  • 📍 Convent of San Bernardino of Siena C. 50 210B, Sisal, 97784 Valladolid, Yuc.
  • ⏰ 8:00 am - 6:30 pm - show 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • 💲 Admission: $30 pesos - show is included!

👉 Interested in more cultural activities in Cancun and the Riviera Maya? Take a look at our article: 📍 Click here!

5. Dzitnup

It’s a park-type place with two cenotes, very close to each other.

Dzitnup is about 6 miles (10 km) away from Valladolid and it’s worth the drive. Cenote X’Keken is told to be one of the prettiest underground cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula.


The other cenote is Cenote Samula and it's also worth a visit.

You can get an entrance for both for 120 MXN.

  • 📍 Cenote Xkeken, Valladolid, Yuc.
  • ⏰ 8:00 am - 7:30 pm
  • 💲 $120 pesos

6. Municipal Palace

The Municipal Palace Municipal Palace is one of the most important places in this magical town. It is located in the Zócalo square.

A must-visit for those interested in the history of Valladolid. The tour lasts about 40 minutes and is really worth it.

The original building dates from the 16th century. Later it underwent modifications in 1806. Its architecture is a replica of the Royal House of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Nowadays, it hosts the Municipal library and the House of Culture. Don’t miss the murals inside! The Municipal Palace is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Sunday.

Odigoo Tip:

Don’t miss the murals inside!

  • 📍 Municipal Palace, Valladolid, Yuc.
  • ⏰ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm from Monday to Sunday.
  • 💲 free admission.

7. Church of San Servacio

Very close to Valladolid’s main square, you will find a majestic building flanked by two towers: The Church of San Servacio. This building seems to watch over Valladolid.

Its construction started in 1543 and it’s one of the oldest and the most emblematic buildings of the city.

The church has the only public clock in the city, located in a booth above the main gate.

At night, you will be able to admire the magnificent illuminated façade that further emphasizes its beauty.

8. Vallazoo

Maybe it’s not the most historic place in Valladolid but if you’re traveling with kids, they’ll surely appreciate the stop.

The place is a wildlife Reserve in Valladolid, so you may be sure that the animals are kept in optimal conditions and the main objective is to raise awareness about caring for wildlife.

Apart from typical Yucatan wild animals such as pumas, raccoons, crocodiles, turtles, otters, and many more, you can visit a quieter zone of farm animals.

There’s even a lake with boats to rent and a mini-golf to fully enjoy your family day in Valladolid. You can even stay for a night in the villas at the Vallazoo!

  • 📍 Vallazoo, Libramiento Norte Km. 7 +300 Rancho Blancaflor, 97780 Valladolid, Yuc.
  • ⏰ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, closed on Tuesdays
  • 💲 $120 pesos

👉 Do you prefer to watch animals in the wild?

Discover our ecotours: bird and fauna observation. Click here!

That's it! Did we convince you to put Valladolid at the top of the list of must-see places during your vacation in Cancun and Riviera Maya? Perfect, mission accomplished!

If you love history, nature and family fun, you simply cannot miss this magic town in Yucatan!

We are waiting for you 😜

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