If you are in Tulum and really want to explore the area for places to admire and enjoy, there is this beautiful place located in the State of Yucatan, called Valladolid. It is a truly magical and peaceful city, full of attractions such as colonial buildings and beautiful hotels with the same style of architecture. It is also an excellent point of reference to visit other equally exciting sites such as Chichen Itza, Ek Balam or the beautiful cenotes of the surroundings. What is there to do in Valladolid? Read on for a quick guide of the most iconic spots of this beautiful town.
The main park
Right in the center of the city is the central park of Valladolid, a site full of gardens and imposing trees where you can take a walk and try a delicious and refreshing coconut ice cream sold here. In the center of the park, there is a fountain known as “La Mestiza” that pays homage to Yucatecan women. It is also the place where you can begin to immerse yourself in the local culture and language during the day and feel its vitality and local activity at night. The streets surrounding the central park are often closed late at night, while there are dance and musical shows.
Cathedral of San Gervasio
Located on Calle 39 between 40 and 42, in front of Francisco Canton Park on the south side. This cathedral overlooks the central park and is a beautiful church with detailed architecture.
The cathedral still has daily services, which are open for anyone to visit them. It is beautifully lit at night, and there are often beautiful Mexican weddings.
The colonial cathedral is appreciated for its architectural beauty and dates from 1545. It is built with a surface of carved stone. Its interior is simple and has an area of catacombs with niches dating from the eighteenth century, fully accessible to the public.
In front of the central park, the municipal palace is a sixteenth-century building with two floors, and on the second floor, there are oil paintings that narrate passages on the history of Valladolid. The view from the balconies is beautiful because the park and the Cathedral of San Gervasio can be seen here. Undoubtedly, a place worth visiting, where you can relax a bit and appreciate the view, take pictures and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the city of Valladolid.
Church of the Candelaria
In front of this church, there is a beautiful and quiet park in which cultural and community events are held every weekend; Also, if you are here on February 2, you can participate in the party that takes place in the church, live local music, typical Yucatan food, and the best atmosphere. The Spaniards built this church on a Mayan pyramid that was demolished, using some of the stones of the monument to build the church itself.
Take a picture of this iconic symbol of Valladolid is definitely one of the best things to do in Valladolid. Just make sure you see it during the day and at night since the view is entirely different.
Museum of San Roque
Inside a 16th century house, the museum is modest, but quite exciting, as it exhibits archeological pieces, medicine utensils of the ancient Mayan culture and crafts of a considerable antiquity, without a doubt a place to visit if you are interested in knowing La History of Valladolid and the life of the ancient Mayan culture. Give it a try, we are sure you will not regret it.
Convent of San Bernardino de Siena
It used to be one of the abbeys of the Franciscan Order in 1552, has large hand-painted murals and vast courtyards enclosed by walls and also has a cenote with the name of Sis-Ha, and there is a spacious esplanade in the surrounding area where It is lovely to walk around and contemplate the construction and the gardens.
A visit to Valladolid is excellent to get a glimpse of the real Mexican culture and history. So if you want to give your vacations in Tulum a twist and enrich your visit, it is a tour that you can’t miss.
Visiting Chichen Itza
The world famous archaeological site of Chichen Itza is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World by UNESCO, and also a world heritage site. This vestige is located directly in the heart of the Mayan region and was once one of the most important cities for the Mayan civilization, due to this and more, Chichen Itza is a visit that must be made if or if you are on vacations in Tulum.
Here’s a recap on the most remarkable points of the archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá, and they are not few!
The archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá is full of monuments, temples, and new locations. We will mention some of the most remarkable ones, and when you visit them, you will be amazed, without you having ruined the surprise.
This imposing pyramid is located right in the center of the archaeological zone and is the most known symbol of the ancient Mayan culture worldwide. It is also known as “El Castillo,” and it is a monument dedicated to the god Kukulkán, the feathered serpent, and god of the sun. A spectacular temple, especially if your visit is made during the spring or autumn equinox because during these dates you can see a shadow show designed centuries ago by the Mayans themselves, in which a Snake-shaped shadow is projected above the steps of one of the faces of the pyramid and begins to descend through them. An impressive optical illusion that you must observe at least once in life.
The pyramid is a direct reference to the Mayan calendar since each of its four sides is composed of 91 steps, which when added to the central platform gives a result of 365, just like the days of the year. It has 9 terraces divided into two sections each that result in 18, reminiscent of the 18 months of the Mayan calendar. This impressive building is a reminder of the incredible observation skills of the Mayan astronomers.
Arena of the ball game
Within the archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá, there are at least 8 arenas for the ball game. A formal ceremony that the ancient Mayans practiced honoring the gods, in which the goal was to pass a rubber ball through a ring located in the center of the arena. The players could only pass the ball between team members and through this ring using elbows, shoulders, hips, and ankles. At the end of the game, the winning team members were sacrificed; That’s right! That was the prize! For the ancient Mayan culture serving the gods was a practice of honor.
The main arena is carefully detailed with engraved representations of snakes in the rock of the walls and the ring of the game, murals representing the game itself taking place. Which gives us more information about the game itself which seemed to be quite violent, but here the most important thing is that you see it with your own eyes and witness its magnificence and we hope that this information will be useful for you to know a bit better what this is all about.
The temple of the skulls
Right next to the arena of the ball game is the Tzompantli or temple of the skulls, this is one of the most unique sites or temples in the entire archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá and a bit spooky as well. It is a low platform covered by carved skulls on all sides. Here were exhibited the heads of the sacrificed by ceremonies and also by the ball game, this platform draws much attention for its aforementioned very particular aspect, similar platforms are found In the old Tenochtitlan in the center of Mexico, it is a monument that is worth knowing, but it is not the last one so let’s continue.
The observatory or Snail
This is a circular building on top of a large square platform dating from around 906 BC. It is believed to act as an observatory where ancient Mayan astronomers could observe celestial phenomena. Focused on the trajectory of venus due to its location, an exceptional building because it highlights one of the main functions that developed in this ancient Mayan city and the importance that the ancient Mayans lent to the stars and other celestial bodies, being there you can feel the passion of these astronomers of antiquity. As the last curious fact the name given to “the snail” is due to the spiral-shaped stairs that are inside.
Temple of the Warriors
This temple is a large stepped pyramid, and its name is due to the carved columns that surround it. Each of these representing standing warriors that give the feeling of being guardians in the temple’s watchtower. This building is similar to the one found in Tula. Of the Toltec capital, known as temple B, which gives us hints of a cross between the two cultures. However the temple of the warriors from the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá is more extensive, in the upper part of the staircase and at the top of the temple is a statue that represents a reclining figure leaning on his elbows with a disk on his stomach, which is known as Chac Mool. This temple is impressive like many other monuments that are found in this archaeological zone.
Reading about Chichen Itza may not be as exciting as an actual visit, so if you’re visiting Tulum be sure to get a tour to the impressive site for an unforgettable experience!
When visiting a destination such as Tulum, there is something to see and experience for practically everyone! From luxury boutique hotels to camping under the stars and everything in between. So one of the best things to do in Tulum is to try new things and go on adventures, in this case, we highly recommend a trip to Muyil for a combination of archeological appreciation and contact with nature.
Muyil is a beautiful archeological site inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, right in the heart of the jungle (don’t forget your eco-friendly mosquito repellent!) in which you’ll be witness to the beauty of the Xlapak ruins surrounded by the lush Mayan jungle. It is a short 25 minutes car ride from Tulum and definitely worth it.
A visit to Muyil is a short but engaging tour (that you can reserve beforehand or at the site) where you’ll be walking across the ruins and learn about this fantastic ancient ceremonial place. It is a relatively small site but offers a wonderful and great educational tour. You’ll enjoy a lovely jungle hike, where birds and monkeys will serenade you. And if you are a dog lover, you are in for a treat! There are resident dogs who love leading the way and take care of the visitors in a very heartwarming way.
Once you get to the end of the path, you’ll find a wooden door that leads you to walk on a wooden bridge almost engulfed by the jungle to get to a high wooden lookout, here’s where you’ll marvel in Muyil’s picturesque beauty.
Next, you can take a boat ride through the mangroves calm waters with an expert tour guide; the current will literally take you to the crystal clear turquoise lagoon of Muyil and Chunyaxche to enjoy a full snorkel and swimming experience. You will spend a little over half of your day immersed in this one of a kind mixture of culture and wilderness (one of the Riviera Maya’s qualities actually); the scenery is truly breathtaking, along with all that lives within it.
Birdwatching is one of the favorite activities among those who visit, as the Biosphere is home to over 350 different kinds of birds.
This eco-adventure will give you a fuller insight into the rich history of Mexico with the help of experienced tour guides as well as admiring some jungle habitats that have been preserved intact, both land and water. All of these wonders are just kilometers away from your Tulum hotel, waiting for you to make them a part of your story.
Visiting the Tulum Ruins
You’ve probably heard about the Tulum Ruins and their unique beauty and how they make a must on your vacations in Tulum. But is it really worth it? Much has been said about the Tulum Archaeological Site, but have you’ve been told the important stuff? Like, what’s there to do, how much time should you spend there, etc.? We’ve come with this quick guide for newbies and travelers that may be short in time but still want to make the most of their stay in Tulum. Read on, and you’ll be ready to make the best decision.
It’s the most visited archeological site in Mexico.
Tulum is famous for its white sand beaches of turquoise waters and the perfect weather. Now imagine an ancient vestige with that landscape on the background? The Tulum ruins are the only archaeological site built on a cliff next to the Caribbean sea, so the place makes a unique portrait sought by Instagrammers, selfie lovers, professional photographers, and families looking for the best vacation photo. Keep in mind that for its popularity, the place always gets a bit crowded, so if you’re planning a visit, be sure to get there early in the morning (8 am) or before the closing hour (around 4 pm is excellent).
Getting there is easy.
There are many transportation options and tours available. So the best would be what suits you. If you’re of the adventurous kind and don’t like to depend on others, take a cab from the hotel or even better: rent a bike! The Tulum ruins are 20 minutes away from the hotel zone or 20 minutes away from Tulum downtown. Some people like to hitchhike cause almost every traveler wants to visit the site, so you may get lucky and get a free ride.
If you don’t feel like making any significant effort (since you’re on vacations), you can always book a tour, with transportation and expert guides that will share useful insights that will enhance your visit.
You can swim in the Tulum ruins beach.
Exploring the whole site won’t take you too much time, but it will get hot. Trust us on this. So amongst bringing comfortable clothes, a cap and putting on some biodegradable sunscreen, don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, as you can take a swim on the Caribbean sea right under the Tulum ruins’ cliff and cool yourself while appreciating the ruins from a different perspective.
You don’t need to spend the whole day there.
As said before, a visit to the Tulum Ruins will take you no more than 2 hours, making it one of the things to do in Tulum that you can’t miss, even when you don’t have too much time or when you don’t want to spend time in lines or to get to a place. It takes 20 minutes (top) to get there, and you can visit, take a lot of photos, swim or tan on the beach and be back at the hotel before lunch. The ruins can get crowded quite quickly though so you might want to get there as early as possible (around 8 am).
What to bring.
Plenty of water. The tropical weather may be as good or as bad as you want, depending on how you deal with it. Keep hydrated and put on some biodegradable sunscreen, and a cap or hat, even if it’s cloudy. You can bring some bug spray too. Wear comfortable clothes. Bring cash (Mexican Pesos) in case you want to do some shopping at the entrance, where you can find some restaurants and a Starbucks. Most places accept cards, but it’s always better to bring some cash.
What not to do.
Don’t touch what’s not supposed to be touched. That includes archaeological vestiges, animals, plants, and people. Seems a bit obvious but some tourists just don’t know how to behave. It’s a matter of common sense, and you’ll be surprised at how many people lack it.
We hope you love visiting the Tulum ruins, a mystical and beautiful place.