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6 Reasons Tourists Are Flocking To This Magical Town Near Cancun

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Located about two hours on a toll road from Cancun, the magical town of Valladolid has a number of activities that will transport visitors to the popular tourist attraction to a different and more traditional part of Mexico.

Here are 6 great things to check out on a day trip or even longer adventure to this magical town in the Yucatan.

Exploring Valladolid

Tourists can start a Valladolid adventure by exploring the town itself.

Church of San Servacio ( Saint Servatius) in Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico

During the day, travelers should check out the colorful town, packed with traditional Spanish and Mexican culture and history.

Visitors should also walk around and see the town’s affinity for the VW Bug. All around the town, old VW Bugs from the last century were converted to many different uses, including make-shift pickup trucks.

By night, the light show at the former Convent of San Bernardino de Siena is not to be missed.

This is the spot where the early Franciscan monks came in the mid-to-late 1500s to convert the local Mayans to the Christian faith. The convent also had a defensive function to protect the early European settlers in the area.

The light show typically takes place around 9pm during the high travel season.

Cenote Suytun

Visiting a cenote is a normal part of a vacation getaway to Cancun and the Yucatan. However, there are few cenotes as dramatic as Cenote Suytun.

Dramatic light casts playful shadows in this popular cenote frequented by visitors to Valladolid. This is definitely an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity for visitors, all for a price of about $150 pesos (about $10).

swimming in cenote

Visitors purchasing a ticket to enter Cenote Suytun can also get an entry to other nearby cenotes included in the same ticket.

Rio Lagartos

Getting back on top of the ground, Rio Lagartos is a place travelers like to go in the Yucatan to do some birdwatching and connect with nature.

Don’t let the translation of the name to Alligator River deter you; this UNESCO-recognized lagoon is recognized internationally as an important bird area.

rio lagartos

Bird species, from flamingos and pelicans to herons and sea birds, are all on display for tourists to enjoy in their natural environment.

Rumor is that the moss and mud from the Rio Lagartos are even good for smooth skin.

Cenote Xheken

Few cenotes in the world have water that is brighter blue than visitors can encounter at Cenote Xheken near Valladolid.

Streaming sunlight into the cenote dances around stalactite formations, hitting the water and casting a bright blue hue that delights tourists to this popular attraction.

Valladolid Cenote

Visitors can enter the cenote and enjoy swimming while taking in the amazing sights.

Chichen Itza

Valladolid is only 40 kilometers from the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site of Chichen Itza.

This ancient city of the Mayans with awe-inspiring pyramids is definitely the highlight of any tourist visit to the Yucatan.


It was one of the largest Mayan cities and is visited by more than two million tourists each year.

Ek’ Balam

For a more intimate experience with some classical Mayan buildings, tourists should instead venture to Ek’ Balam.

Only 25 kilometers north of Valladolid, Ek’ Balam is a smaller version of Chichen Itza, which is more accessible to tourists than the large Chichen Itza site.

Ek Balam

Visitors to Ek’ Balam can actually touch and feel the rock surfaces, see some unique rock art, and even climb to the top of the pyramids (which is not allowed at Chichen Itza).

There are 45 different structures to explore at this important Mayan complex.

No matter if a traveler spends a day or longer exploring Valladolid and the areas in the Yucatan around the town, it is time well spent and an adventure back in time and nature that will never be forgotten.

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