If you’ve never heard of Valladolid, you are missing out!
Valladolid is a quaint colonial town in the Yucatan peninsula (and Yucatan state!) of Mexico. Luckily, we stopped overnight during our two week family vacation since it was roughly half-way between our previous stop (Merida) and our last, Puerto Aventuras.
Having researched beforehand, I knew there was a cenote in Valladolid (though I had no idea how stunning it really was), an impressive cathedral, and a hotel with an underground cave pool. If I would’ve known how quaint this little town was, I would have stayed longer!
Sadly, we had less than 24 hours, but still managed to see some of the area highlights!
Conveniently, Valladolid is almost smack in the middle between the historical Yucatan capital of Merida, and the tourist hotspot of Cancun. Approximately 2 hours drive (150 kms give or take) from each city.
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Keep reading to find out:
- Where to Stay in Valladolid
- Must See Attractions
- Other Places to Visit close to Valladolid
Where to Stay in Valladolid
Originally, I had wanted to stay at Hotel Zenti’k Project which has a hot, underground, cave pool! But then, to my dismay, I found out it was adults only. Why they didn’t want my boundless-energy-filled munchkins is beyond me! (That was sarcasm by the way…haha).
Instead, we picked a hotel close to the central park (Francisco Canton Rosado Park) so we could easily walk to the town sights. La Aurora Hotel Colonial is what I decided on due to its location, pool, and the fact there were ‘hot tubs‘ on the rooftop! Read my full review on La Aurora Hotel Colonial here.
Must-See Attractions in Valladolid:
- Francisco Canton Rosado Park
- San Gervasio Cathedral
- Cenote Zací
- Candelaria Park (Parque Candelaria)
- Calzada de los Frailes
- San Bernardino of Sienna Convent
The above sights are some of the things you really should not miss if you visit Valladolid! Unfortunately, we were not able to get to all of them in our short stay. But we were impressed with what we did see.
It really is hard to move quickly when you’re dragging 3 kids around!
Francisco Canton Rosado Park / San Gervasio Cathedral
Most Latin American towns and cities contain a square with a church in the center of town. Likewise, in Valladolid, the central park is called Francisco Canton Rosado Park.
Overlooking the park, you will find San Gervasio Cathedral, an artisan market, several restaurants and shops, an open air food court, as well as Casa de Los Venados which contains over 3000+ paintings in a private home.
Coincidentally, we saw a chocolate shop on the square’s corner which looked very similar to the one we had visited in Merida. Well, turns out they are sister shops! Great quality chocolate everything can be found there! If you are a chocolate lover like me, you won’t want to miss it! I highly recommend the chocolate covered coffee beans!
Later, in Francisco Canton Rosado Park (or the main square as I have been calling it!), we chanced upon a Quinceanera at the cathedral and a Mayan dance performance in the park.
A Quinceanera is simply a girl’s huge 15th birthday celebration! In Latino culture, this coming-of-age party is usually as extravagant as most weddings.
So, don’t panic if you see something that looks like a huge wedding party with a teenager for a bride!
Surprisingly, this tropical oasis of a cenote was beautiful, tranqil, and much larger than I had imagined. Oddly, the few accounts I had read about Cenote Zaci (located in the center of town) had made it seem worth-a-visit but not as amazing as it really was! The ultramarine blue hued cenote can be easily found about 2 or 3 blocks east of Francisco Rosado Park starting from San Gervasio Cathedral.
Cost: 60 pesos (about $4 CAD, around $3 USD) per adult, kids 5+ are half price, while kids under 5 are FREE
It wasn’t until an hour before leaving Valladolid that we discovered cute, little, Parque Candelaria (Candelaria Park).
Funnily, the park was directly across the road (and through a pedestrian-only street) from our hotel! If I had realized how serene and pretty it was, we may have gone there sooner! I had read the best pizza in town was located on the square (only a block from where we were staying). Unfortunately, it turned out that the famous Italian restaurant was closed – they only open for supper!
However, there was a cute little café only a couple doors down where we enjoyed fresh sandwiches along with the quiet and beauty of this charming spot. And the kids loved the playground! It was relaxing for all and I couldn’t get enough of the perfect, pretty, buildings surrounding the Park!
What We Missed
Without enough time, we didn’t make it down the Calzada de los Frailes or to the Convent of San Bernardino, unfortunately. But, both places are on the bucket list for next time! If you visit, leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Other Places of Interest Close to Valladolid
That wraps up what to see in Valladolid!
Don’t miss the central square with it’s chocolate shop, food court, San Gervasio Cathedral and markets. Take a dip in beautiful cenote Zaci, continue sight-seeing with a walk down Calzada de los Frailes to the Convent de San Bernardino. To finish off the day, have supper and relax in Candelaria Park!
Have you visited Valladolid? Did I miss any amazing places? Let me know in the comments below!