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Valladolid is a city located in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Yucatán. Valladolid is located approximately 160 km east of the capital of the state of Yucatán Mérida, Yucatán, and 40 km east of Chichen Itza.

Valladolid is in the eastern part of the state of Yucatan and it is the head seat of Valladolid Municipality. The municipality includes many outlying communities, the largest of which are Popolá, Kanxoc, Yalcobá, and Xocén.

In 2012 Valladolid became part of the “Magical Villages Program”, an initiative led by the Mexican tourism department to display influential towns based on their natural beauty, cultural riches, or historical relevance to the country.

Geo & Climate

The climate in the Yucatan peninsula is hot and dry. There is also tropical rain with hot and predominant trade winds most time of the year. Valladolid features a tropical wet and dry climate.

The city lies in the trade wind belt close to the Tropic of Cancer, with the prevailing wind from the east. Valladolid’s climate is hot and humidity is moderate to high, depending on the time of year.

The average temperature ranges from 28 °C in January to 36 °C in May, but temperatures often rise above 38 °C in the afternoon during this time. Low temperatures range between 18 °C in January to 23 °C in May and June.

It is most often a few degrees hotter in Valladolid than coastal areas due to its inland location and low elevation.

The rainy season runs from June through October, associated with the Mexican monsoon which draws warm, moist air landward. Easterly waves and tropical storms also affect the area during this season.

Origin of the Name

Valladolid is named after the Spanish city of Valladolid, at the time the capital of Spain. The word “Valladolid” derives from the Arabic expression Ballad Al-Walid بلد الوليد, which means “city of Al-Walid”, referring to Al-Walid I.


The first Valladolid in Yucatán was established by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo’s nephew on May 27, 1543, at some distance from the current town, at a lagoon called Chouac-Ha in the municipality of Tizimin.

However, early Spanish settlers complained about the mosquitos and humidity at the original location and petitioned to have the city moved further inland.

On March 24, 1545, Valladolid was relocated to its current location, built atop a Maya town called Zaci or Zaci-Val, whose buildings were dismantled to reuse the stones to build the Spanish colonial town.

The following year the Maya people revolted but were put down with additional Spanish troops coming from Mérida.

Valladolid had a population of 15,000 in 1840. In January 1847, the native Mayans rioted, killing some 80 whites and sacking their houses. After a Mayan noble was shot by a firing squad, the riot became a general uprising.

The city and the surrounding region were the scene of an intense battle during Yucatán’s Caste War, and the Latino forces were forced to abandon Valladolid on March 14, 1848, with half being killed by ambush before they reached Mérida.

The city was sacked by the Mayan rebels but was recaptured later in the war.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, Valladolid was the third largest and most important city of the Yucatán Peninsula, (after Mérida and Campeche). It had a sizable well-to-do Criollo population, with several old Spanish-style mansions in the old city.

Valladolid was widely known by its nickname The Sultana of the East.

Tourist Attractions & Sightseeing

It is worth noting that principal sites are very well marked with bi-lingual signage, making this a truly hospitable place for English speakers. The local police are very friendly, speak English well, and are happy to give directions.

Valladolid is a great city to spend the day exploring the history and culture the Yucatan peninsula has to offer.

The notable sights to visit in Valladolid are the colonial-era cathedral Ex-convent and church Convent of San Bernardino de Siena named after Saint Bernardino of Siena which was built by Franciscan missionaries between 1552 and 1560.

Located in the Sisal neighborhood and a short 10-minute walk from downtown it also has a wonderful park where you can sit and enjoy tranquility and peacefulness.

In downtown Valladolid, you can find the cathedral of San Gervacio located in the main square of the city.

Valladolid has a chessboard-like street grid and at the city center, it’s a plaza with a park square in the middle surrounded by stores where you can enjoy a walk and purchase souvenirs, food, or refreshments.

The Cenote Zaci is located a couple of blocks from the center of Valladolid. This freshwater cenote or underground sinkhole is where you can access the inside and explore its cave. There is also a restaurant and artisans selling handicrafts.

Valladolid is a popular base for visiting nearby major Mayan ruins such as Chichen Itza and Ek’ Balam, as well as Cenote Ik Kilso.

Downtown Valladolid

  • Cathedral of “San Servacio o Gervasio”
  • Main center park “Francisco Cantón Rosado”
  • Municipal Palace (Palacio Municipal)
  • Cenote Zaci
  • House of the Culture (Casa de la Cultura)
  • House of the Deer (Casa de los Venados)
  • Mercado de Artesanías (Handcraft Market)
  • Centro Artesanal Zaci (Handcraft center Zaci)
  • Bazar Municipal
  • Museo San Roque
  • Parque de los Héroes (Park of the Heroes)
  • Las 5 Calles

Sisal Neighbourhood

  • Temple and former Convent de “San Bernandino de Siena”
  • “Calzada de los Frailes”
  • Park of Sisal (parque de Sisal)

Candelaria Neighbourhood

  • Church of “Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria”
  • Park of “Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria”
  • Ex Telar “La Aurora”
  • Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal) “Donato Bates Herrera”

Santa Lucia Neighbourhood

  • Church de “Santa Lucía”
  • Park de Santa Lucía

San Juan Neighbourhood

  • Church de San Juan de Dios
  • Park de San Juan de Dios

Other locations

  • Cenote Suytun
  • Cenote Xkeken
  • Cenote Samulha

Gastronomy & Cuisine

The typical dish of the region is “Lomitos de Valladolid” which is a pork dish in fresh tomato sauce.

Cochinita pibil meat marinated in achiote, which comes from the Bixa orellana bitter orange, and spices, wrapped in Banana leaf and barbecued or baked in a pit.

“Lechon al horno”, “bistek de cazuela”, “relleno negro” which is turkey cooked with a paste of charred chillies and vegetables with bits of hard-boiled eggs, “frijol con puerco” and chicken in escabeche.

Valladolid is also known for its longaniza which is a type of pork-based salami sausage with traditional condiments. Local traditional candies are based on materials from the region such as honey, coconut, corn, and others.

Traditional ice cream is very popular and a must have on your visit. The most common flavors are coconut, corn, and fruits of the region as “guanabana” or Soursop, “mamey” or Pouteria sapota Sapote, and others.


Valladolid has a structured road service which makes it easy to travel around. Travelers driving through the peninsula have the option of taking the federal road or the toll route and both roads go through Valladolid.

In the city, there are taxi services at reasonable rates and public transportation which is popular for students and locals but not recommended for tourists.

There is an Autobuses de Oriente bus terminal situated in the heart of the city which serves to the travelers going to all major cities in the Yucatan peninsula, such as Mérida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

There are also buses going to Chichen Itza Coba and Ek’ Balam.

One day tours from Valladolid

Valladolid is a perfect place to stay there for a while exploring the surrounding areas in daily tours on your own or guided ones.

Suggested 1-day tours from Valladolid

  • Ek Balam
  • Ria Lagartos
  • Chichen Itza
  • Chichen Itza + Balankanche Grottoes
  • Chichen Itza + Yaxunah
  • Izamal
  • Coba
  • Tizimin

For more information about all these suggested places to visit and how to get there, use the search form on our website or related tags.

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