Stopping off for a few days in Valladolid between Tulum and Merida just seemed to make sense. And when we started researching the town and seeing the Instagram posts for it we were even happier with the decision. It is a super mellow town with ice cream colors and quite a bit to pack in to the three days we stayed there.
Getting to Valladolid is easy using the ADO bus from Tulum or Merida. And if you are a Mexican Resident and have an INAPAM card the ride is half price. It drops you off at a very central bus station and since the town is small, depending on where your hotel is you can probably drag your suitcase there like we did.
We chose Casa Marlene, a block and a half off the main square, for our base and were thrilled with the choice. Incredibly nice people in all facets of the hotel, a great included breakfast to start your day, big comfortable rooms and a refreshing pool to top things off. If you are headed to Valladolid and want to book please think about using our affiliate link (above) at no extra cost to you.
If the pool doesn’t give you enough water time and you feel a cenote is needed Cenote Zaci, a good half-in and half-out one, is right in the middle of town, along with a few others in the surrounding area.
The first full day we were there we hooked up with Free Walking Tour Valladolid, look for the red umbrellas in the main square in front of the cathedral at 10am and 4:30pm. We did the morning tour which included the wonderful mercado where we had a few taste tests and learned about some of the Mayan foods. Cesar our guide was a wealth of information, spoke great English and was a pleasure to be around. The tour, as the name says, is free but tip well. They deserve it. Plan on a bit less than 2 hours.
Another must do is Casa de Los Venados, a half block from the main square by the Palacio Municipal. This is a private home with an absolutely amazing collection of over 3,000 pieces of Mexican folk art. You must take a tour and these usually run at 10, 11:30 am and 1pm and are in English and Spanish and take a bit over an hour. They do move quickly. No reservation is required and there is not a cost to visit per se, but a donation (100pesos each) is suggested and well worth giving since it goes to various community and charity projects. The owner John Ventnor meets every tour and gives some insight to the works the donations help. Not only is the art collection worth seeing, the house is beautiful too!!
Our friends Susan Paige and Mayer Schacter who own Galeria Antontinilco in San Miguel de Allende told us to visit and we are so glad we listened to them.
Calazada de Los Frailes is the main picturesque street and leads down to the Convent de San Bernadino de Siena. Definitely visit at night (9pm for Spanish and 9:20pm for English) when video mapping of the history of Valladolid is done on the convent outer walls. Spectacular!!! If you haven’t seen video mapping before this is a nice place to start. It is free to see and lasts about 15 minutes.
We went back to the convent the next day to check out the inside, but personally I would give this a miss. If you do go in it is only 30pesos, 15pesos with the INAPAM card if you are a Mexican Resident over 60 like I am.
The Municipal Mercado is really worth a visit and can be seen on the Free Walking Tour Valladolid as mentioned above. If you don’t take the tour you can check it out anyways. Although small it is a mass of beautiful produce, sweets, toys and handicraft. Check out the ricados, or rubs used in Yucatan cooking. They are fantastic. This is one of our favorite markets in Mexico.
Our favorite place to eat was El Atrio del Mayab on the main square with its lovely back garden and fabulous Yucatan food, including the famous Cochinita Pibil, at a reasonable price. We actually went twice during our stay, we liked it that much. Another good place was La Cantina Restaurant y Bar also on the main square a few doors away from El Atrio. We went our first night when El Atrio seemed to be closed and before we knew about it. And lastly we went to Casa Canato Cultural 1910 for dinner one night. Even if you chose not to eat here check out the cool artwork. It is a trippy place and reminded us a bit of being in Rajasthan, India when we were sitting on the rooftop area. A bit pricey for some just ok food.
Two and a half days in Valladolid was the perfect amount of time and as mentioned was a great little stopping point if you don’t want to do Tulum to Merida all in one day and we would highly recommend it. If you visit, let us know how it went.