Top things to do in Valladolid, Mexico
from sights to bites we have you covered
The magic of the Yucatan can be found in and around Valladolid. From the cenotes to ruins, the food and cultural richness and the ease of travel, Valladolid, Yucatan is a great place to visit with friends and family. There are so many things to do – from sights to food to cultural activities. I have traveled to Valladolid several times over the past 10 years solo, with a group on our culinary tour, and with my kids. Here are some of my favorite things to do in and around Valladolid.
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5 Favorite Eats and Drinks
- Xcatik – Xcatik means pepper in Maya. This restaurant features traditional Mayan cuisine in a beautiful environment. Order a cocktail made with herbs grown in their garden, then order from their menu of traditional dishes. Thay are all my favorites! Try the sikil pak, a pumpkin seed spread, or the . You can’t leave the Yucatan without pibil–slow cooked pork or chicken with achiote and spices– and theirs is delicious. Did I mention that the tortillas are made by hand to order? You can watch the woman making them – be sure to tip her!!
2. Tres Mentiras Valladolid – This restaurant and bar features creative and fresh mezcal cocktails and delicious casual eats such as quesadillas, hamburgers, tacos and nachos. Try the al pastor burrito stuffed with rice, beans, meat, guacamole and cheese. Wash it down with a classic margarita or the pineapple ginger mezcal marg, made with fresh fruits and juices. Mezcal fans will find an array of liquors here to choose from and a very knowledgeable staff.
3. Maison de Marques – this courtyard restaurant (part of the historic hotel) has the most incredible colonial architecture and delicious food right off the main town square. The menu is expansive, with lots of local and regional options. I love the molcajete which comes in a large stone bowl, filled with meats, vegetables and guacamole. Don’t miss out on the longaniza, a special sausage in the region made with achiote, lime and spices.
4. Yerba Buena de Sisal – This cafe offers delicious coffee beverages and pastries as well as healthy variations on local dishes. Try the casuela–eggs cooked in a clay pot with sauces and cheese – the Oaxaquena has plantains and mole! YUMMMM. I love the fresh juices, too! The pa la gripa is made with guava, orange grapefruit, bee pollen and honey.
5. Restaurant Zaci– a great place to get a platter of traditional Mayan dishes after a refreshing dip in the cenote! The cenote sits right in the middle of town, with the restaurant perched on top, and you can look over from the balcony of the open air restaurant while you enjoy your meal. I recommend a platter of traditional dishes such as poc chuc and pibil. Take a dip before you eat:).
Things I love to get here are: Mayan crafts, leather goods, spices, beaded jewelry and silver
Some of my favorite shops are:
- Mayan artist Cooperative- this store faces the main square to the south of the square. It houses rooms filled with crafts, jewelry, and more.
- Calle 41 – I love heading down this street to the west of the main square, I have my go to craft and leather stores along the way.
- Central Market – don’t miss the central market! (This was under construction when I was there in Dec 2021) There are spices, honey, local foods and crafts. Also be sure to pick up a tamale for breakfast! These tamales are creamy and steamed in a pit.
- Productos Sosa Distillery – this small shop (at C. 42 215, San Juan, 97783 Valladolid, Yuc., Mexico) and distillery has been in the same family since the 1800’s. It is located off the main square a few blocks and produces xtbentun, a local honey spirit.
This region of Mexico is rich in Mayan and Hispanic culture. From the cenotes to ruins there is so much to experience. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Valladolid and the Yucatan.
1. Xkopek – this incredible family run sacred bee preservation urban farm is worth a visit. You will learn all about the sacred mayan bees and the preservation efforts Jorge and his team are putting forth. And, you can even camp on his land!
2. Ek Balam – Smaller, less touristy ruins that you can still climb on! The frescos are incredibly preserved and it’s only about 30 minutes from Valladolid.
3. Chichen Itza and Yokdzonot – Chichen is one of the 7 wonders of the world, and so worth a visit. I would recommend going early before the buses arrive! You can get the sunrise tickets and get in before 8 am. Yokdzonot is about 30 minutes from Chichen and is one of the most beautiful cenotes! The restaurant on site is delicious and supports a women’s cooperative
4. Cenote Zaci – this cenote is right in the middle of the town! Check out the restaurant above and watch the swimmers, or take a dip yourself.
5. Casa de Los Venados – the largest privately held collection of Mexican folk art outside of Mexico city. This is a not to be missed tour, with donations going to local charities and schools.
6. Valladolid Main Square – come hang out at night and enjoy marquesitas and people watching. THE place for families and kids.
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