MAYAN RUINS AND COLOURFUL HOUSES: Exploring Chichen Itza and Valladolid

Valladolid was the first town we visited in Mexico, and it was a great starting point. The town centre is pretty, with lots of little shops painted in bright colours. During the day students hang around the town centre and in the evening people go to the main square for a walk.

There are plenty of shops selling local handicraft, busy restaurants and street food stalls.

Yerbabuena del Sisal: a vegetarian restaurant serving a varied selection of delicious local dishes. Lunch for two including drinks and tip for $335. This restaurant is located at the end of a pretty street which is definitely worth exploring.

Wabi Gelato: a small gelato shop selling amazing flavours. The guava was particularly great. A small cup for $40.

Las Campanas is a popular restaurant by the main square. Vegan options are limited but delicious. Dinner for two including drinks and tip for $450.

Chichen Itza

These famous ruins are the most popular attraction in Yucatán. The site is impressive: aside from the pyramid that is instantly recognisable, there are plenty of other great buildings to visit.

You can cover the whole site in about three hours, and you should arrive there early to beat the crowds and explore before it’s unbearably hot.

Valladolid is a good starting point if you want to get to Chichen Itza early. We got the first collectivo bus from Valladolid at 7am (tickets for the bus for $35), getting into the archaeological site just before doors open at 8am (tickets to the site for $480).

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: Getting to Valladolid right after a transatlantic flight is a long journey (that’s what we did). From the Cancun airport, you can take the ADO bus to Cancun bus station, then another ADO bus to Valladolid (the trip takes about 3h). Another option is to stay overnight at Playa del Carmen and then take a bus to Valladolid.
  • Stay: we stayed at Hotel Catedral which was well-located and staff was very friendly.

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