Is Valladolid Mexico safe? Yes. The charming pueblo magico is not only one of the safest cities in the country but it is also located in Mexico’s safest state. This is not somewhere where you need to worry about crime, violence, or any other dangers. This article, written by a local expat will run through all the things that you need to consider during your time in Valladolid (and the wider Yucatan region) to ensure that your vacation is a trouble-free and enjoyable one.
Valladolid is a historic colonial city located close to the archeological sites of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam in the beating heart of the Yucatan state. Until recent years, it was overlooked in most Yucatan itineraries.
However, more and more people are choosing to stop in Valladolid as they adventure through the region. Valladolid was founded by Francisco de Montejo in 1543. (The same person who founded Merida)
He named it after the city of Valladolid in Spain. Originally, the Spanish conquistadors built the settlement of Valladolid close to a lagoon, before moving it inland to its current location and constructing the city over an existing Mayan settlement.
This caused a great deal of violent clashes between the Spanish and the Mayans which would go on for centuries. The Spanish even demolished important Mayan temples, pyramids, and shrines in order to build their own catholic churches.
Today, Valladolid is a peaceful, sleepy place and a designated pueblo magico. This is a marked difference from its violent beginnings.
Is Valladolid Mexico Safe?
Valladolid Mexico is one of the safest places in Mexico. The Yucatan state in general is the safest region in the country.
While Mexico generally doesn’t deserve the negative ¨dangerous” image it often receives, the Yucatan is very culturally different from the rest of the country. Violent things that you hear of happening in other places in Mexico simply don’t happen here.
Many cities in the Yucatan, including Valladolid, are places where you can comfortably go for an evening stroll or dash out to the convenience store at night and never feel that you have to keep looking over your shoulder. In fact, this is somewhere that you can easily completely forget that you are in Latin America.
Check your government travel advice before traveling to Mexico
It is a good idea to check your government travel advice before traveling anywhere in the world for the first time and the same rings true when visiting Mexico. The US government travel advisory appears quite sternly worded but it provides a useful state-by-state breakdown of the security situation in each part of Mexico.
Mexican states are divided into four categories. The Yucatan state (where Valladolid is located) and Campeche state are the two safest states in the country and they are recognized as places where you should ¨exercise normal precautions¨.
Other states are recognized as places where you should ¨exercise increased precautions¨, ¨reconsider travel to¨ and ¨do not travel to¨. There are no restrictions or warnings in place for Valladolid or the Yucatan state which should speak volumes about the safety of the area compared to other parts of the country.
Crime rates in Valladolid
Crime rates in Valladolid are very low. Locals and expats alike are not worried about the risks of someone breaking into their homes, robbing them on the street, or committing any other type of crime like vandalism or harassment/abuse.
While crime waves have rocked other parts of Mexico in recent years, crime rates in Valladolid and the wider Yucatan state have remained low. (Indeed the nearby city of Merida is the safest city in Mexico and one of the safest in North America on the whole).
Valladolid Mexico Safety Tips
Despite the fact that Valladolid is a safe and culturally-rich place to explore, it is still useful to use the same common sense precautions when traveling here as you would at home or anywhere else in the world. Some hand Valladolid safety tips are detailed below for your information.
Always watch your personal belongings
While crime rates are relatively low in Valladolid, petty crimes such as pickpocketing can still happen. Always be mindful of your surroundings and use caution when in crowded areas or on public transportation.
There is a small food court opposite the Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado which isn’t dangerous, but which is often crowded with tourists. Other mercados are usually equally hectic and may attract opportunists.
In busy places, try and walk with your backpack in front of you rather than slung over one shoulder, and always keep an eye on your belongings. If you travel a lot, you might want to consider investing in a theft-proof backpack or money belt.
Is Valladolid safe at night?
Valladolid is usually pretty lively at night, particularly at weekends and in the area surrounding the Zocalo (central square). There is a police station a short distance away from the ADO bus station and central square which adds to the overall feeling of safety in the city.
By nightfall, you can round off a perfect day in Valladolid by indulging in some traditional Yucatecan food at a local restaurant and treating yourself to artisanal bars and cocktails at one of the city’s bars.
If you want to experience something uniquely Mexican, stop by Cantina La Joyita (C. 41 193B, Centro). This is a traditional cantina with saloon-style swing doors that is frequented by locals rather than tourists.
Order yourself a michelada (Mexican beer cocktail made with tomato juice and hot sauce) and indulge in some botanas – small complimentary tapas-style dishes that you are given with every drink order. For something a little more upscale, join a well-heeled crowd for cocktails at Condensa Cantina Bar. (Calle 40 #201E between 41 and 43).
Of course, you should still be aware of your surroundings at night as you would in any unfamiliar city. Don’t leave your drinks unattended and be wary of any over-friendly strangers.
It’s safe to walk between bars and restaurants in the city center as the streets are very well-lit and filled with people. But don’t wander off down dimly lit side streets alone.
Is Valladolid safe for solo travelers?
Yes. Valladolid is a very safe destination for solo travelers, including solo females. The city sits on a well-trodden route through the Yucatan and is a popular stopping point for people traveling from Cancun to Chichen Itza or Merida and wanting to break up their journey.
If you are traveling alone and want to socialize and meet other travelers, you will probably bump into plenty of other people on the ADO bus into town or in the local hostels. Tunich Naj Hostel, Hostel Candelaria, and Mamacha Hostel are all modern, affordable places that often organize social events and are worth considering.
You can also use Couchsurfing to see if any other travelers/locals are around and are looking to hang out. This is a tourist hotspot (without yet being overcrowded and a victim of over-tourism) so there are always plenty of people around.
Is Valladolid safe for women traveling alone?
Solo female travelers can also feel safe traveling in Valladolid. (This entire website has been written by a solo female traveler in Mexico!)
Rest assured, you won’t get any weird looks for being by yourself as people are accustomed to seeing tourists. Although local women often prefer to dress conservatively or wear jeans/trousers to avoid male attention, a lot of Yucatecan women wear shorts and dresses daily.
(This is one of the hottest parts of the country after all!) Don’t worry about what to wear as a solo female traveler. Dress however you are most comfortable.
Don’t wear expensive items
To avoid attracting unwanted attention, try not to wear expensive jewelry or display valuable items while exploring the city. This will help minimize the risks of becoming a target for petty thieves.
People don’t really wear expensive designer labels in Mexico. By the same token, it is also a good idea to keep your electronics and expensive gadgets out of view just in case.
In other words, no expensive DSLR hanging around your neck, and no Go Pro tucked under your arm.
Public transport and getting around Valladolid
You don’t really need a car in Valladolid as the city is compact enough to explore on foot. The ADO bus station provides frequent, comfortable intercity bus links from Valladolid to Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and other cities in the region.
ADO and Noreste buses are the main intercity bus providers in the Yucatan. Both are perfectly safe to use.
Buses run multiple times a day between most destinations and services are usually always on time. The seats are comfortable and the buses are airconditioned. Some of the newer ADO buses also have complimentary wifi installed on board.
To get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza, you may also want to consider taking a colectivo. Colectivos are mini-vans that run from one destination to another and depart when full.
This is the cheapest method of transport. A ticket to Chichen Itza 45km away costs just 40 pesos (circa $2 USD) per person.
For this reason, a lot of locals prefer to use colectivos. The minivans are perfectly safe and provide another local experience. However, they are not air-conditioned and can often be full and cramped which may not be what you are looking for on a hot, humid day when it’s 105 degrees.
Relax and enjoy Valladolid!
If you spend all your time traveling in Mexico feeling skittish and worried, you won’t enjoy your trip. Relax and focus your energy on finding the best places to eat and the best things to do here. This is one of the safest places in Mexico after all!
The central square and the little streets that veer off from it are great places to base yourself. Valladolid is also a very affordable travel destination and you can easily find a comfortable, modern hotel here for as little as $30 USD per night.
The church of San Servacio in the central square is a charming structure – despite the controversy behind it. Be sure to stroll down the Calzada de los Frailes (Causeway of the Friars).
This colorful little street is a photographer’s dream. It was built in the 16th century to unite Valladolid with the Indian village of Sisal.
There are some gorgeous colonial and palapa houses here, many of which once housed famous merchants and notable figures in Mexican history. Today, many of these buildings have been converted into quirky artisanal stores, cafes, and guesthouses.
Nearby, be sure to visit the colorful Convent San Bernardino – one of the oldest convents in the Yucatan.
Is Valladolid Mexico safe? Final thoughts
Valladolid Mexico is a very safe place. While safety is a very personal thing, even the most inexperienced traveler can feel comfortable here.
It is not somewhere that you need to be anxious about visiting. I have been living in Merida nearby for the last 18 months and have visited Valladolid numerous times as a woman alone.
Do you have any further questions about visiting Valladolid or staying safe in Mexico in general? Feel free to reach out to me if you need anything.
If this is your first time traveling to the Yucatan, you might also find the below related articles useful.
- Is the Yucatan safe to travel to?
- Best time to visit the Yucatan
- Best places to visit in the Yucatan in 2023
- Yucatan pueblo magicos