The region of the Capital of the Mayan World is one of the most representative of the state, given that the municipalities that comprise it are important historical centers, cultural centers and important archaeological sites such as the new wonder of the modern world: the Pyramid of Kukulkán in Chichén Itzá.
The modern Mayans still live within the boundaries of their ancient empire in Central America. In spite of the dominion of the European for half a millennium in this country, much of the native and historical Mayan tradition has been upheld among its people. The secret of the Mayans to keep their native culture alive seems to be their adaptability. Even though the culture could not avoid being influenced by modernity, it managed to preserve many of its traditional bases.
Nowadays, known as "The Capital of the Mayan Orient", Valladolid is one of the two Magical Towns of Yucatán. It is a beautiful destination, since it has kept the architectural beauty of its ancestral colonial buildings. It also provides a quiet place to enjoy your vacation, where you can mingle with a deep-rooted culture, history, legends, handicrafts, the nature of its cenotes, archaeological sites to admire and learn more about the Mayan culture. Not belittling its exquisite food with mestizo recipes, it is highly recommended to try the famous sausage of Valladolid.
Valladolid is located right in the middle of the two most important cities of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida and Cancún, both approximately 160 kilometers away. In addition, the main archaeological wonders of the area are fairly near: Chichén Itzá is only 45 kilometers away, and Ek Balam just 30 kilometers away.
Cenote Dzipnup is a closed-type cenote inside a grotto, its entrance is a narrow tunnel through which you descend by a staircase carved in rock to the interior of the cenote. The sunlight that enters through an opening at the top of the vault gives the water a turquoise blue hue which illuminates the water mirror that measures 30 meters long by 20 meters wide, with a minimum depth of one meter and a maximum of 20 meters.
It is managed by the Board of the Cultural and Tourist Services Units of the State of Yucatán (Cultur), which monitors and maintains the quality of tourist services through the collection of an admission fee. It is an ideal place for swimming due to its shallow depth. It is recommended both to wear life jackets and to avoid using sunscreen and insect repellents. It is strictly forbidden to throw garbage into the water.
This cenote is inside an underground chamber located 7 km southwest of Valladolid. You can see formations of stalactites and bright turquoise waters illuminated by natural light that penetrates through a hole in the central part of the vault. The water is shallow and so crystal clear that you can see a variety of fish swimming around.
Temozón ("swirlpool site") is a peaceful community widely known for the smoked meats offered in more than 18 butcher shops along the main street, as well as for the fine cedar furniture you can find in more than 60 carpentry and furniture shops. Most of these businesses are family-owned and have been operating for several decades, preserving and perfecting the ingredients and meat products together with the techniques and designs in wood.
Temozón is located very close to Valladolid, just 8 minutes away towards Tizimín. The community of Temozón offers tourists a different experience that alluringly blends gastronomy, history, natural beauty and archaeology.
Ek Balam, is a spectacular archaeological site in the heart of Yucatán. It is not as famous as Chichén Itzá, so you can access without standing in long queues, take pictures without crowds and walk around quietly. However, the best part is that you are still allowed to ascend to the top of the pyramids to enjoy the view of the spectacular jungle that surrounds it.
Ek Balam (Jaguar Star or Black Jaguar according to some interpretations), was the Mayan capital of a territory known as Talol. Its territory was a bit over 10 square kilometers, and the elite of the population was concentrated in its center. This small area of approximately one square kilometer used to be protected by walls.
Ek Balam has about 40 structures. Among the most important are a beautiful arch that welcomes all visitors, the ball game, the acropolis, the twin pyramids and a glyphic corpus representing an Ek Balam governor.
At the Acropolis you can also admire the great artistic work of the Mayans, with beautifully carved low-relief murals, inscriptions and a beautiful scenery where you will literally feel on top of the Mayan world.
After visiting the archaeological zone, you can visit the Xcanche cenote, which is about 1500 meters away. In fact, a few steps from the ticket office of the archaeological zone you can find a small place to rent bikes to commute to the cenote.
The Chichén Itzá Light Show, known as the Nights of Kukulkan, which with an amazing mix of light and sound has allowed us to visit this important archaeological site at night for several years.
Nights of Kukulkan shows us a spectacularly synchronized display of light and sound of the Mayan history. Animated images- projected on the impressive pyramid- tell us stories about gods and humans, rites, customs, the knowledge of the cosmos and mathematics, and so much more.
Throughout the night tour of the archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá and with the show "The Nights of Kukulkan" we can discover the most relevant sites of this complex, namely: the Temple of the Jaguar, the Temple of the Big Tables and the Temple of the Warriors; the ball game, the platform of the skulls or Tzompantli, the Temple of Eagles and Jaguars, the Temple of Venus; the Kukulkán pyramid also known as "The Castle", and the Group of the Thousand Columns.
Kukulkan's evening show schedule varies depending on the season, winter or summer. In either case, it is recommended to be there 15 minutes ahead the opening time.
Ik Kil complements a beautiful ecosystem, housing a large number of birds and other species. Whether you arrive after visiting Chichén Itzá or the caves, you can rest or spend the night in the nearby cozy cabins.
It is one of the most visited cenotes in the area, perhaps because of its alluring natural beauty. To enter the cenote, you must go down a wide stone staircase of approximately 26 meters, until you get to a platform from which you can just walk into the water. If you are bold enough, you can jump dive for a gutsy experience.