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In the Yucatan, half-way between Merida and Cancun and only 46kms east of Chichén Itzá, is where you’ll find Valladolid, a city built out of stone. The city was constructed during the 16th Century, dating back to the early days of the Spanish Conquest. It is also famous for its stunning cenotes (caves), including Zací, which is located within the town itself, and X'keken and Samula, found just outside town in Dzitnup. Prebook car hire in Valladolid before leaving and get a hire car at a fantastically low price. It's a great way of touring the area at your own pace, without the hassle of public services.
If you're looking for peace and tranquility Valladolid is the perfect place to visit, and get a feel of authentic Mexico. Travellers can enjoy some of the colonial flavour of Valladolid near the zócalo (main square). Additionally, visit the sculpture museum (Museo Nacional de Escultura Religiosa), where outstanding Spanish Renaissance works are on display.
Founded in 1552, the convent and church of San Bernardino de Siena is the oldest church in the Yucatan and one of the oldest in the Americas. Here, travellers are able to stroll under the archways, and browse the shops and restaurants, or people-watch from one of the many stone benches. The weathered Spanish coats of arms above the doorways of some of the older buildings are interesting.
Visit the Cenote Zací, a natural sink hole, which is located 3 blocks from the main plaza. This enormous and stunning cenote was covered by a roof of stone as recently as 200 years ago. During the 17th Century Mayan warriors spoke of this spring, which provided cover from the Spanish.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can hop on a bicycle and head to nearby Cenote Dzitnup. Alternatively, visit Chichén Itzá taking the bus heading to Merida, which will take you to the small town of Piste, located 2.5kms from the ruins. From Valladolid, there is frequent bus service east to Cancun and west to Merida. Additionally, the Mayan ruin of Ek-Balam is worth exploring, and is located just 20 minutes north of Valladolid on the road to Tizimin.
The airports nearest to Valladolid are in Cancun and Merida, both about two hours away by car. There are reliable transport services running from the airports into their town centres, including taxis, buses and car rentals, which are the more popular option.
Travelling from either Merida or Cancun tourists will need to follow the toll highway number 180 (taking the exit for Valladolid) or the freeway. It takes 2.5 hours to get to Valladolid from Playa del Carmen by road.
There are several daily buses to Valladolid from Playa del Carmen, Merida and Cancun.