Valladolid is a city in the state of Yucatán in Mexico and has a colorful center and many beautiful sights. We stayed three days in Valladolid in Gayser Apartments, a simple but excellent hotel. Because there is so much to see in the area around Valladolid, four days would have been perfect.
Read below what we did and saw in Valladolid.
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To the west of Valladolid, you will find Chichén Itza, which used to be one of the most important Mayan cities. In this old town you will find El Castillo, also called the pyramid of Kukulcan. This is a very large pyramid and is definitely worth a visit! Besides El Castillo there are other temples, cenotes and a tomb. Chichén Itzá is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which makes it a popular place for tourists.
Tip: Arrive a few minutes before opening time to get inside before all the coaches arrive. We got there at 07:50 and we were there first! See the result below. Half an hour later it was already packed.
Chichén Itzá is open from 08:00 in the morning and the entrance fee is nearly 500 pesos per person. Going by car? For parking your car you pay a small additional fee.
I happened to come across this cenote on Instagram. I thought it looked so cool, that I wanted to take a look myself. This underground cenote is a cave covered in stalactites. The water in the cenote is shallow, but you can swim in it. In the middle of the cenote you’ll find a platform, where you can take a very cool picture! Cenote Suytun is located near Chichén Itzá, making it easy to combine these two. Start with a visit to the Chichén Itzá and then take a refreshing dip in the Suytun cenote.
The price for a visit to Cenote Suytun is 120 pesos per person.
Ek Balam, Ek’ Balam, is an archaeological Mayan site and is located about 25 kilometers from Valladolid. The site is mainly known for the temple in which Ukit Kan Le’k Tok, a king, is buried on the side. Unlike the pyramid in Chichén Itzá you may climb this temple. It’s super fun to do! The top of the temple offers a very cool view. On a good day you can even see all the way to El Castillo!
Note: Make sure you wear proper shoes, because the temple stones are very slippery.
The entrance fee for Ek Balam is 413 pesos per person.
Ik Kil Cenote
Another beautiful cenote near Chichén Itzá is the Ik Kil Cenote. Personally, I think this is the coolest cenote we visited! Ik Kil, also called Sacred Blue Cenote, is about 40 a minutes’ drive from Valladolid and can be combined with a visit to Chichén Itzá. We arrived early, with almost no other people in the cenote. Besides two divers, we were the only one in the cenote. What makes the cenote so special are the lianas and all the plants that grow inside. Truly an awesome sight!
The cenote is open from 09:00 in the morning and costs 80 pesos per person. Be on time and make sure you are ahead of the busses full of tourists!
Las Coloradas, Río Lagartos – The Pink Lakes & Flamingos
Do you want to see something really cool? Travel to Las Coloradas! At Las Coloradas, located in the north of Yucatán about 1 hour and 40 minutes’ drive from Valladolid, you will find the pink lakes. It may be a long drive, but this is definitely worth it! We thought the lakes were super special and are glad we made the trip. Upon arrival you see huge mountains of salt and there are a number of men, who will take you to the lakes. Without a guide you are not allowed to go inside. I’m not sure if this is true, but a few euros will get you some information about the area!
The lakes are huge salt evaporation basins and turn pink because of microorganisms like plankton and shrimps. The lakes are full of plankton, attracting flamingos. They eat these organisms. Did you know that flamingos owe their pink color to eating pink shrimp and plankton? By the way, there are not only pink lakes, but also orange ones. According to our guide, this has to do with the salt content. The pink lakes have a higher salt content than the orange lakes. A unique sight indeed!
You are not allowed to swim in the water. The guide told us that in some places the lakes are 60 degrees and that the salt will be used for consumption and shouldn’t be polluted.
Tip: Visit Las Coloradas in the middle of the day, because the sun gives the lakes their most beautiful colors.
Coba a former Mayan city just like Chichén Itzá and can be visited from Valladolid and Tulum. We did this from Valladolid and this was about 45 minutes’ drive. Just like the temple at Ek Balam, you can also climb the Coba temples. The largest temple in Coba is Castillo, which is about 42 meters high. You can enjoy a beautiful view over the jungle around Coba.
Note: Make sure you wear proper shoes when climbing the temple. The steps are short and can be very slippery.
The old town is open from 08:00 – 17:00 and costs 140 pesos per person. For parking your car you pay a small additional fee.
Visit the colorful center of Valladolid
Valladolid city center is cozy and colorful, which makes it a perfect place to wander around in. There’s a nice square, Parque Francisco Cantón, which is surrounded by restaurants and shops. Mexican music is played here and there’s traditional dancing. What we noticed is that in Mexico there are a lot of colored, old Volkswagen beetles driving around that make for a nice streetscape. And just like in all the other cities we visited; there’s a letter sign here as well!