Valladolid Cathedral (Photo: WikiCommons)

VALLADOLID, YUCATÁN – If you live in Mérida or are visiting the area, spending a day or two in the small but beautiful colonial city of Valladolid is a great option. Officially the second city of Yucatán (after Mérida), Valladolid is actually smaller than the city of Tizimín (capital of the cattle country in the north of the state), but considerably more charming. Valladolid is easily reached, being mid-way between Mérida and Cancun, and only a short distance off the main highway between the two.

Attractions in the town include the impressive Convento San Bernardino, to the south of the center, the Spanish colonial cathedral which anchors the main square, and the easily accessed Cenote Zaci, only a few blocks from the main square. Evenings are the perfect time for people watching, and the main square provides the ideal location.

Cenote Zaci is a great example of the cenotes which are found all over Yucatán, with the added benefit that it is easily accessible by fairly safe steps. A small entrance fee of 25 pesos is charged, but can be avoided by customers of the adjacent restaurant, which serves reasonably priced Yucatán staples (Poc Chuc, Cochinita Pibil, Longaniza, etc) and which is a good place to eat lunch after descending to the depths of the cenote.

Valladolid Cathedral (Photo: WikiCommons)
Valladolid Cathedral (Photo: WikiCommons)

For those with an urge to visit Mayan ruins, Valladolid serves as an excellent base for visiting world famous Chichén Itzá, or the much smaller and less known Ek’ Balam.

Valladolid offers a variety of accommodations including the colonial El Meson del Marques fronting the main square, and the comfortable modern Mexican style Hotel Zaci less than two blocks away. Dining options include the excellent restaurant at El Meson del Marques, the restaurant at Cenote Zaci, and many smaller restaurants and cafés surrounding the main square. For a local experience, try El Bazar, on the northeast corner of the plaza, which contains a dizzying choice of always busy (and always cheap) options. It’s a great place to start your day with a Mexican style breakfast.


By Stewart Mandy


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Stewart Mandy thumbnail Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has  been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media,  travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years. His local contacts and global  knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to  take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go. From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego,  from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are,  wherever you are heading, he knows the score.

In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (, “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.

He can be contacted by email at or You can join him on Facebook at, follow him on Twitter @stewartmandy or visit his website at or his blog at