Hey there! My name is Marjut from The Smooth Escape. Thanks for stopping by and reading my article on the best experiences in Valladolid! I’m obsessed with exploring our beautiful planet. I was born and raised in Estonia. At the age of 19, I decided to throw myself into the unknown and move to Denmark – a tiny Scandinavian country which I now call home.
I have been a fan of travel for as long as I can remember. Already as a kid, I enjoyed being on the road with my family – seeing different landscapes and tasting unfamiliar foods. As I got older, my curiosity to explore the world and discover cultures kept on growing. In fact, I just returned from a 10-month Latin America trip which certainly quenched my thirst for travel. Although, I have a feeling that I will be itching to travel again soon.
Over the past few years, I have become interested in travel photography since I wanted to learn how to capture all these special moments and stunning locations. I absolutely love looking through old travel photos and reliving all the memories they bring back! I have also started a blog called The Smooth Escape. One of the reasons I created my blog was to document my adventures so that I could always look back and reminisce.
Another reason I decided to start blogging was to inspire others to travel. By putting my experiences and photos out there, I hope to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and visit places they might have never even considered. I want to share my first-hand knowledge of the destinations I have visited to help my readers plan their own trips.
Five Awesome Weeks in Mexico
From mouth-watering food and vibrant culture to the fascinating Mayan history and postcard-perfect beaches, there were many reasons why I wanted to visit Mexico. Everyone I talked to was raving about this country! So when my boyfriend and I started planning our 10-month trip through Latin America, adding Mexico to the travel itinerary was a no-brainer for us.
We spent five weeks in the country, slow-traveling through the Yucatan and Quintana Roo states. It took me by surprise how huge Mexico is! Even after five weeks, it feels like we only scratched the surface. In the Yucatan State, we visited Rio Lagartos, Las Coloradas, Valladolid, Izamal and Merida.
In Quintana Roo, we traveled from Cancun to Bacalar, stopping in Playa del Carmen, Akumal and Tulum. We also visited three islands – Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. The highlights for me were Cozumel due to the amazing diving experience we had, Cenote Dos Ojos because of its stunning water, and Valladolid because of how colorful and cute it was.
Falling in Love with Valladolid
We spent about five days in Valladolid and its surrounding areas. My favorite thing about the city of Valladolid was how laid back and authentic it felt. In many other Mexican cities, we were often bombarded by souvenir sellers, restaurant owners, tour operators, etc. It felt like everyone was competing for our attention and after a while, it got a little exhausting.
In Valladolid, this was not the case at all. The locals were just going about their daily lives. It was like a breath of fresh air! Somehow this town has remained untouched by mainstream tourism and I hope it stays this way. You might want to visit before it becomes a super popular destination!
Valladolid and its surrounding areas are full of exciting places to visit but if I had to choose one place that stands out from the rest, it would be Cenote Suytun. There was just something special and mysterious about it. Perhaps it was the grandeur of the cave and the color of the water, or the fact that we got to enjoy this cenote without crowds and in complete silence.
I think you will have to experience it for yourself to fully understand why it’s so special. Spending quality time at Cenote Suytun is definitely one of the best things to do in Valladolid. Below I have outlined five more magical experiences to enjoy in Valladolid and its surrounding areas.
5 Best Things To Do in Valladolid
1. Stroll along the Colorful Calzada de los Frailes
The cobblestone Calzada de los Frailes street is bursting with colonial architecture. Some people compare the streets of this city to Havana due to the similar colors. So grab your camera and keep an eye out for the best hidden gems to snap for your Instagram. The streets around Parque Principal Francisco Canton Rosado are also worth strolling through.
2. Explore the Best Nearby Cenotes of Valladolid
Here are a couple of cenotes I recommend: Cenote Oxman, Cenote Zaci and Cenote Suytun (mentioned above). Cenote Oxman is situated just a 15-minute drive from Valladolid city, in the grounds of Hacienda San Lorenzo. Giant vines and tree roots stretch from the top of this cenote to the beautiful emerald waters. Cenote Zaci is a half cenote/ half cave right in the centre of Valladolid. It’s a surprisingly awesome place!
One of my favorite memories from our trip to Valladolid was jumping into the refreshing waters of Cenote Oxman from a rope swing. With its hanging tree roots and emerald water, Cenote Oxman is a magical place to visit but it’s the presence of a rope swing that adds such a fun element to the whole experience and sets this place apart from the rest of the cenotes.
3. Take a Day Trip to the Famous Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is a must-visit on any trip to Mexico and especially while you are in Valladolid as you can easily see the ruins on a day trip. For those who don’t know, Chichen Itza has been declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is home to incredibly well-preserved Mayan ruins.
4. Visit the Yellow City of Mexico: Izamal
Izamal is another destination which can be easily visited on a day trip from Valladolid. It’s known as the Yellow City as all the buildings have the same shade of stunning yellow. You might take your best photos in all of Mexico at Izamal, so be sure to bring your camera and explore around every corner!
5. Shop at the Municipal Market of Valladolid
The Municipal Market of Valladolid is located around the corner from Cenote Zaci and you can visit them both on the same trip. At this market, shop for authentic Mexican clothes, fresh fruit and vegetables, local sweets, tacos and much more. It’s absolutely worth visiting just to stroll around and take in the atmosphere, even if you don’t plan on buying anything.
Where to Stay in Valladolid
I recommend staying near the central square (Parque Principal Francisco Canton Rosado) since that’s the area where you will find most of the restaurants and colorful buildings. Since we were traveling on a budget, we were looking for cheap accommodation with good reviews and ended up choosing Gayser Apartamentos y Hostal.
The rooms were simple but clean and had everything we needed. Gayser Apartamentos y Hostal was great value for money and I can definitely recommend it to budget travelers wanting to visit Valladolid. If I ever return to Valladolid (which I hope to), I would love to stay in one of the boutiques such as Le Muuch Hotel, Casa Tia Micha or Colonte Hotel Origen.
Essential Info for Visiting Valladolid
I recommend renting a car to get around Valladolid and its surroundings. Although you won’t need a car to explore Valladolid itself since it’s a rather small town, you do need a car if you want to do a day trip to Chichen Itza or Izamal, or to visit some of the cenotes that are located outside the town.
Another tip is to arrive early at the cenotes and Chichen Itza if you want to avoid the crowds and get nice photos. While Valladolid town doesn’t get too busy with tourists at any time, the nearby cenotes and especially Chichen Itza can get crowded. So it’s best to show up early in the morning.
You also might hear of people visiting Merida and Las Coloradas on their Yucatan itinerary. Merida is the capital of Yucatan and known for its cultural attractions, culinary scene and colonial architecture. It’s certainly worth a visit. We also visited Las Coloradas which is famous for its pink lakes. Unfortunately, hurricanes and flooding had turned the lakes grey when we visited. But if you get good weather, I’m sure it would be fantastic!