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Please don’t go to Valladolid…

Please don’t go to Valladolid…

Last Updated on May 15, 2023

Please don’t visit 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…

visit 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. When you visit Valladolid, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

visit valladolidThough 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 center 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 Valladolid 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. visit valladolidPart 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 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 visit 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….

Update: I was able to visit Valladolid again – several years after my first stay there back in 2010. One of my return visits was during my epic Yucatan road trip. I just want to say that all these years later, I still love Valladolid as much as I loved it when I first discovered it, and it hasn’t lost any of its charm, even though I believe that quite a few more tourists stop in Valladolid these days.

For a detailed Valladolid Travel Guide, check out this ultimate guide to Valladolid, Mexico.

Sébastien Chion - Rue du Pourquoi Pas ?

Tuesday 1st of December 2015

As of december 2015, Valladolid is still very quiet and really enjoyable. Just a quick short stop here, but definitely enjoyed this lovely little city. Having more time, I would have definitely stay here longer :)


Wednesday 2nd of December 2015

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.

My Guide to Valladolid, Mexico – A Charming Colonial City | Simply Travel

Saturday 25th of July 2015

[…] Globetrotter Girls […]

Emily Gough

Monday 12th of May 2014


My boyfriend and I love your website and it gave us a lot of tips and inspiration before we set off on our own adventure.

We couldn't agree more with your thoughts on Valladolid and the Candelaria hostel.

We hope you're able to check out and reminisce over some of our photos from there.


Tuesday 13th of May 2014

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!


Thursday 19th of May 2011

Just saw this post, and i hate to break it to you, but you made my mind up .. I am going!


Sunday 22nd of May 2011

Noooooo :-) Report back, let us know how you like it! And stay at La Candelaria if you can!


Monday 20th of December 2010

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!


Tuesday 21st of December 2010

@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!