Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Soumya
Looking for the best day trips from Valladolid, Mexico? You’re at the right place.
Here’s a complete list of the 9 most incredible places to visit near Valladolid, all within 2 hours of driving.
Valladolid is one of the most beautiful places in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. With a rich colonial history, rainbow-colored houses, and a happening cultural scene, Valladolid has many amazing things to do.
But if you have done those already and wish to explore beyond the borders, here’s a list of nine top Valladolid day trips.
From exploring the rich history of the Mayans to spotting flamingoes in the wild, these Valladolid side trips offer something for everyone.
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- Best Day Trips from Valladolid, Mexico
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Best Day Trips from Valladolid, Mexico
Chichen Itza: The Unmissable Valladolid Day Trip
In fact, Chichen Itza is why many people stay in Valladolid in the first place, though Valladolid has its own charm. Trust me on that.
Staying in Valladolid does give you an early-mover advantage over other tourists from Cancun and other parts of Riviera Maya. You can get here as soon as the gates open at 8 am.
The archeological site is spread over four square miles and has numerous attractions. Here are some things you should not miss at Chichen Itza.
What not to miss at Chichen Itza?
- The Kukulkan Pyramid, El Castillo, is a marvel of Mayan architecture. It served as the Mayan astronomical calendar and is where the Serpent God, Kukulkan, comes to life on equinoxes.
- The Great Ball Court, with walls reaching up to 27 feet, is one of the largest ball courts in Mesoamerica, .
- The Temple of the Warriors is a stepped pyramid featuring intricate warrior carvings with a Chac Mool statue on top.
- Plaza of a Thousand Columns that was once a public meeting place and the city market.
Although the site is vast, you can easily see the main attractions of Chichen Itza on a day trip from Valladolid.
I recommend this Chichen Itza guided tour to ensure you see all the highlights. Check out this highly recommended Valladolid to Chichen Itza guided tour.
✦ Pro Tip: If you don’t want to take a Valladolid tour, don’t worry. You can do DIY, too, like we did the first time. Check out our guide on the 5 Best Ways to get to Chichen Itza from Valladolid.
Ek Balam: Closest Mayan Ruin
Less renowned than Chichen Itza but equally beautiful, the archeological site of Ek Balam is just 30 minutes away from Valladolid.
Ek Balam is the closest Mayan ruin to Valladolid. That’s why it is one of the most accessible day trips from Valladolid.
Once an important Mayan political and cultural center, Ek Balam has several interesting attractions, including a massive pyramid, a round palace, and many smaller structures.
However, Ek Balam’s pièce de résistance is its collection of unique stucco sculptures that are rarely seen in other Mayan sites in Yucatan except in Uxmal.
What not to miss at Ek Balam?
- Ek Balam’s 100-foot-tall pyramid called the Acropolis, that’s still open for climbing. Be ready for stunning views of the Yucatan jungles once you climb up there.
- Intricate stucco carvings at Ek Balam representing winged Mayan warriors and the Mouth of Hell.
- A secluded Cenote Xcanche where you can enjoy a relaxing swim.
✦ Pro Tip: Do you want to visit Chichen Itza and Ek Balam on the same day? You can do it. Find out how here.
Cenotes near Valladolid
Cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula are natural sinkholes formed from the collapse of limestone bedrock.
These are clear freshwater pools that allow you to take refreshing dips. So, if you’re longing for a cool dip on a hot day in the Yucatan, you have to find a cenote.
Cenotes are different from regular pools because these cavernous pools inside the earth’s surface and are often covered with hanging vines.
Swimming in a cenote is surreal and a unique Mexican bucket list experience that you will not find anywhere else.
Interesting trivia: Cenotes were gateways to the afterlife for the ancient Maya and are still considered sacred. Check out the Sacred Cenote in the Chichen Itza archeological area.
Valladolid in Mexico is surrounded by cenotes, including one in the city center.
So, if you want a refreshing day trip from Valladolid, go cenote hopping.
Or combine your cenote tour with an authentic Mayan cultural experience on this Cenote and Mayan Experience Day Tour from Valladolid.
Top Cenotes Near Valladolid
- Cenote Zaci: Located within Valladolid, it’s easily accessible and perfect for a quick dip.
- Cenote Samula and Xkeken: A short drive away, they are famous for their cavernous structures and aquamarine waters.
- Cenote Ik Kil: One of the prettiest cenotes in the Yucatan, Cenote Ik Kil is right on the road to Chichen Itza and a great place to enjoy a relaxing swim.
Izamal: The Yellow City
If you’re looking for pretty colonial towns near Valladolid, you cannot miss Izamal or “The Yellow City.”
I love the color yellow (yellow and blue are my brand colors!), and the Magical Town of Izamal is exactly how I would picture my hometown to be – BRIGHT YELLOW!
Izamal is yellow everywhere you look, from the gorgeous San Antonio Convent to every other building on the street.
Just an hour from Valladolid, this small town, with its charming mix of pre-Columbian and colonial architecture, is an exciting addition to your list of best places to visit near Valladolid.
What not to miss at Izamal?
- The vibrant yellow-colored San Antonio Convent which is one of Mexico’s oldest Catholic churches.
- The Kinich Kakmo Pyramid that is dedicated to the Mayan sun god and is a massive pyramid by volume.
- Municipal Market in Izamal which is a riot of colors, flavors, and tastes.
✦ Pro Tip: Check out this exciting Izamal tour from Valladolid that includes Chichen Itza and a cenote.
Rio Lagartos – A Nature Getaway from Valladolid
Looking for a quiet day in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of Valladolid? That’s possible.
Head to the tiny fishing village of Rio Lagartos, 1.5 hours north of Valladolid.
Situated on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Rio Lagartos is full of mangroves, exotic flora, and fauna.
More importantly, it is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It is the best place to spot hundreds of flamingoes between March and June.
Not very far from Rio Lagartos are the pink pools of Las Coloradas that have become quite an Instagram sensation.
Getting to Rio Lagartos from Valladolid by public transport is tricky. We took a colectivo the last time we went there. However, the colectivo would not take us to Las Colorada after that.
What not to miss in Rio Lagartos?
- A boat tour through the reserve to see flocks of flamingos, herons, eagles, and other migratory birds.
- The thrill of spotting crocodiles lazing on the riverbanks.
- The healing properties of the mud baths, a rejuvenating Mayan tradition.
- Marveling at nature’s beauty at the pink pools of Las Coloradas.
If you’re looking for a wholesome, full-day excursion from Valladolid, head to the beach town of Tulum.
Tulum is the perfect amalgamation of ancient ruins, soft white sand beaches, and bohemian culture.
Even though it is a slightly longer journey from Valladolid (about two hours), a visit to Tulum is absolutely worth it.
What not to miss in Tulum?
- The ancient Tulum ruins perched atop a cliff overlooking the stunning Caribbean Sea.
- Tulum’s beautiful beaches are perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
- Cenotes like the Grand Cenote and Dos Ojos provide unique snorkeling and diving experiences.
- Tulum’s vibrant town center is full of artisan shops, hip cafes, and a dynamic nightlife.
If you want to dig deeper into Mayan history, I recommend visiting Coba ruins from Valladolid.
Coba is located deep in the jungles of the Yucatan and is home to a monumental pyramid that is still open to climbing. As you must have guessed, panoramic views can be enjoyed from the top.
However, more than the pyramid, the stelae and the sacbe of Coba excite me.
Coba has several stone stelae or reliefs from the Mayan era filled with carvings. They give us rich insights into Mayan art and culture.
Further, Coba was also an important center of the Mayan Stone Causeway project. Known as sacbe, these stone roads connected many important Mayan cities in antiquity.
What not to miss in Coba?
- The Nohoch Mul Pyramid is one of the tallest pyramids in Yucatan that’s still open to climbing.
- Coba stelae with their rich carvings.
- The Mayan sacbe or stone roads, over 50 of which are still visible in Coba today.
Just a stone’s throw from Valladolid, the small village of Uayma is a lesser-known day trip destination.
The small town is known for its well-preserved colonial church with the most beautifully painted facade.
The vibrant pastel facades of its buildings and its laid-back atmosphere make Uayma perfect for a relaxing day trip from Valladolid.
What not to miss at Uayma?
- The 17th-century Convent of Santo Domingo de Guzman, with its colorful facade, is considered one of the prettiest churches in the Yucatan.
- Colored buildings, windows, and doors make Uayma a picturesque getaway from Valladolid.
Temozon – A Gastronomic Day Trip from Valladolid
Temozon is a fantastic day trip from Valladolid if you want to experience the gastronomic delights of Yucatan.
Located just 8 miles north of Valladolid, this quaint town is known as the birthplace of smoked meat.
Locally known as “poc chuc,” smoked meat in Temozon uses secret family recipes dating to the 1960s. Several shops on the main street sell delectable smoked meat.
Not to be confused with Hacienda Temozon, a beautifully restored 17th-century hacienda south of Merida, the city of Temozon is a smoked meat hub and the perfect getaway for foodies.
The city is also known for high-quality wooden furniture. So, if you ever plan to move to the Yucatan, you know where to buy your wooden stuff from.
You can easily club Temozon with the ruins of Ek Balam on a day trip from Valladolid since both of them are located to the north of the city.
What not to miss in Temozon?
- Smoked meats made with secret family recipes.
|Experience more of Valladolid, Mexico
Read our posts on
Valladolid | From praying in a fortress convent to watching a traditional Jarana performance, there are many wonderful things to do in Valladolid, Mexico.
Chichen Itza | Grab this ultimate guide to visiting Chichen Itza. Or read some surprising facts about Chichen Itza before your trip.
Mayan Ruins | Visit the best Mayan ruins near Valladolid or check out some of the magnificent pyramids of Yucatan.