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Please don’t go to Valladolid – I’d like to keep this town for myself… Valladolid was only supposed to be a quick stop before our month-long stay in Playa del Carmen, but it turned in to one of our favorite places in all of Mexico. We’d like it to stay that way…

Parque La Candelaria valladolidThe sleepy colonial town in the center of the Yucatan peninsula has a classic, authentic feel. It is the kind of place which is somehow still devoid of major tourism despite its proximity to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and several beautiful cenotes. The town is exactly what I picture when reading the magical realism of Latin American literature, usually stories set in the late 19th or early 20th century.

Though most towns on the Yucatan don’t have a main square, or Zocalo, Vallodolid has a large, beautifully-designed, clean main square. It is the type of relaxing centre where children play, old men watch the world go by and couples canoodle. It is a place to relax and lose yourself in the to-ing and fro-ing of the locals.

Zocalo Fountain & Benches valladolidThat is not to say that Valldolidad is stuck in the past. Restaurants for all price ranges are available in town, and the Zocalo has both a higher-end wine and cheese restaurant as well as an indoor food market with several restaurants serving up delicious local fare on the cheap. Valladolid has a small cinema, plenty of bars and a good range of shops for clothes and also tourist trinkets. While the town is easily small enough to explore on foot, there are plenty of bike rental places to visit the surrounding areas on two wheels. Part of the magic of the place might have to do with our hostel. Valladolid is still small enough that when exiting the bus station, the shop directly across the street has an advert for La Candelaria, a hostel that sat on a nearby square called La Candelaria. This hostel is exactly how we would run a hostel after taking all the experience acquired from traveling and staying in everything from five-star hotels to the dankest and dirtiest of hostels. La Candelaria has fresh, clean rooms, comfortable beds, cable TV and the dorms are open, light and airy.

Breakfast is not served as much as it is simply ‘made available’. Serve yourself bread and coffee, and freshly cut fruit bowls are laid out in the main kitchen, which is in a covered outdoor area that stretches far back and encompasses two chill-out spaces, the kitchen, and an area with three hammocks. Inside, there is a second kitchen (both have full cooking facilities, fridge, and clean (!) cutlery and dishes) and a TV room for guests who stay in the dorms. Cool cruiser bikes are for rent for 15 pesos per hour – great for exploring the nearby cenotes Samula and X-Keken located 7 km from town. The owners are super friendly, the showers are very clean, and there are two chihuahuas and a couple of friendly cats for animal lovers to play with as well.

After a month in Playa del Carmen, where over-priced tours to Chichen Itza include a quick stop-off in Valladolid, we have decided to return to this romantic town to soak up a few last days of Mexico before leaving for Belize. Who knows when and if we will ever have the time or chance to return to Valldolid. More importantly, who knows if Valladolid will have kept its charm in the meantime, as more and more tourists discover the town.

This is why we’d like you not to go to Valladolid. And if you do go (which you really should) please don’t tell anyone else about it…or at least tell them to keep it quiet too….

Tags : Please don't govalladolid hostelvalladolid la candelariavalladolid mexicovalladolid yucatan


  1. You’re lucky I’m not still in Mexico or else I would have definitely gone with you! As you know, this is one of my favorite places in Mexico as well and it’s really difficult to believe that it is so close to some of the other main sights of the Yucatan. Every time I went I felt as if I was in the middle of nowhere in some town that had been forgotten about by the outside world. And I guess that’s the appeal of the place…

    Enjoy your time over there again and hopefully it hasn’t lost any of its charm!

  2. great shots! the colors are incredible.
    we were a bit disappointed we stayed there only briefly. most of the time we were recovering from a hangover thanks to the world cup final.
    jamie from

  3. I looove Valladolid! And totally agree with you – no one else should visit and it should stay the same forever 🙂 I’d watch tour groups stop at the zocalo in the afternoon and then leave after about an hour, and kept thinking they didn’t know what they were missing – but I’m glad you guys did and came back! Great pictures too!

    1. Hi Ashley! We saw even more tour groups in the evening this time around, but they just hang on the Zocalo and wait to get back on the bus. We couldn’t have been happier about coming back to Valladolid for a few days! 😉

  4. How coincidental to have stumbled upon this post only 1 day after returning from Cozumel and Valladolid…I was kicking myself for only having stayed in Valladolid 2 days. I absolutely loved the charm, the people, the architecture, the cenotes, and Hostel Candelaria. Ranks right up there with Suk 11 in Bangkok as the best hostel ever! I plan on returning and staying at least a full week (or heck, maybe I’ll just stay there forever!) LOVED IT!

    1. @Andy Thanks for your comment, and for backing us up on what is still one of the most magical parts of our last year, even months later. Valladolid just has the perfect combination of peace and quiet, cleanliness and good spirit…Plus, it helps that La Candelaria is so great – strong coffee, two kitchens, a TV room, comfy beds, great cable TVs in the rooms, hammocks, yup, pretty much the best EVER like you said. Oh, but don’t tell anyone about it all 🙂 We’ll keep the secret between us, agreed? Pls send your pics/links of Valladolid once they are up! Your site’s great!

    1. Hi Emily, thanks for your comment! So glad to hear to hear that you love Valladolid too, and that Candelaria is still going strong! And THANKS SO MUCH for sharing the link to your pictures – absolutely stunning!! I love these photos so much!

    1. Thanks for the update, Sebastien! Glad to hear that Valladolid hasn’t lost any of its charm 🙂 I hope I’ll get to go back there soon.

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