Most tourists visit Valladolid as a stop en route to Chichen Itza, grabbing some grilled corn or ice cream in the plaza while admiring the church.
But if you’re lucky (or should I say, savvy) enough to want to spend the night, you might wonder—is Valladolid safe after all the tourist buses leave?
Valladolid is a very safe town. And I’m not being generous with that description; it’s one of the safest places I’ve visited in Mexico. The locals are welcoming, love to chat, and are appreciative of visitors who stick around to explore their beloved town.
Read on to learn more about why Valladolid is one of my favorite places safety-wise for solo travel in Mexico.
Accessibility Note: If you’re a wheelchair user, check out our guide on accessibility at Chichen Itza, which discusses accessibility in Valladolid.
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First Things First: A Disclaimer
I spent two weeks in Valladolid and had a positive experience in terms of safety.
But the information I share here, with the exception of statistics from linked sources, is my personal opinion based on my encounters.
Everyone has unique experiences that shape their perception of any given destination.
So, take what you want from this article and leave the rest. And above all, never let your guard down just because I or anyone else tells you that a destination is safe.
Trusting your gut and following basic safety practices are vital to improving your security in any destination.
May I Ask A Favor?
Since the recent bad press about safety in Mexico, we’ve seen an uptick in readers looking through our Mexico safety articles. I’m doing my best to answer the questions I receive. However, the safety situation in any destination can change fast, and I’m not currently on the ground in Mexico.
So, I’d appreciate you returning to this article after your trip and leaving a comment about your experience in Valladolid.
There’s nothing like recent firsthand experience to paint a more realistic picture of Valladolid’s current safety situation.
An Overview of Safety in Mexico
Before we explore safety in Valladolid, below is a chart highlighting some of Mexico’s general health and well-being statistics.
|Organization||Index score||Country ranking|
|Global Health Security Index||57.0||25 of 195 (good)|
|Global Peace Index||2.61||137 of 163 (bad)|
Safety in Valladolid: What the U.S. Department of State Says
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is an excellent resource for determining a destination’s safety. According to the DOS, Valladolid, along with all other destinations in Yucatan state, ranks as a Level 1.
Level 1 is the safest category, and the DOS states that travelers to Valladolid should “exercise normal precautions.” That’s great advice for any place anywhere in the world, if you ask me.
To give you a feel for the gravity of the DOS’ other rankings, see the chart below.
|1||Exercise normal precautions|
|2||Exercise increased caution|
|4||Do not travel|
The DOS explains that they don’t have travel restrictions for any U.S. employees in the Yucatan State, including Valladolid.
But before you book that trip to Cancun or Tulum thinking you can exercise normal precautions, know that Yucatan state doesn’t encompass the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
Instead, many popular tourist destinations in the Yucatan belong to Quintana Roo state. It’s still safe to travel to Quintana Roo, but not as much as Valladolid. The DOS ranks places like Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen as a Level 2 for safety.
For more details on safety in the Yucatan vs. Quintana Roo, check out my article, Is the Yucatan safe?
Safety in Valladolid: What the Statistics Say
I often use Numbeo as a guideline for how safe a destination is, as people who’ve been there can take their safety poll.
So, is Valladolid safe according to Numbeo?
Yes, it’s very safe.
But there’s a caveat.
Numebo states it hasn’t had enough contributors to make its data reliable. Nevertheless, its 9.38 crime rating is a head-turner. That number is on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the greatest amount of crime.
The over one dozen safety categories that Numebo lists for Valladolid all fall under the “low” or “very low” categories.
Furthermore, researchers have proposed five reasons why Yucatan state’s crime levels have remained uncharacteristically low for the country. You’ll be hard-pressed to find scientists pondering such a situation elsewhere in Mexico.
That’s not to say you should let your guard down completely, though.
In 2019, Valladolid made local headlines for a man that was murdered in the heart of Valladolid’s historic center. It happened at night, and spectators suspect he’d be alive today had he not resisted the two men robbing him.
But it’s still a lesson that even the safest areas require a healthy dose of vigilance.
Visiting Valladolid as a Solo Female Traveler
I felt comfortable during my entire 2-week stay as a solo female in Valladolid. I stayed in a locally owned hostel about a 10-minute walk from the historical center.
The sound of chickens filled the street each morning, the neighbors greeted me as I passed by, and I came to know the names of the staff at the restaurants where I ate.
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, I felt at home. And well watched; it comes with the territory when you’re a foreigner living in a town that most people leave by sunset.
Needless to say, there was never a time when I felt in danger or threatened during my stay in Valladolid. I also didn’t have issues with catcalls, unlike other places in Mexico (I’m looking at you, Cancun and Cabo).
Is Valladolid Safe at Night?
Valladolid is exceptionally safe at night, though you should still take normal precautions.
I had no issues wandering around the historical center in the early hours of the evening. The streets were well-lit and, while the tourist crowds were long gone by then, a smaller group of locals would hang out in the main plaza with their families.
Restaurants and shops don’t stay open super late in Valladolid.
So, it’s the kind of place where you won’t feel guilty for getting an early start on your z’s.
Does the Cartel Operate in Valladolid?
I was told that the cartel doesn’t operate in Valladolid. And while I’m hesitant to put such a “never ever” label on it, I can tell you that it certainly didn’t feel like Valladolid had a cartel presence.
If you’ve visited the likes of Cancun, Mexico City, and Cabo, you probably know what I mean by that sixth sense kicking in.
It’s unlikely you’ll find the national guard bearing guns in Valladolid. And, based solely on the fact that no one tried to get me to buy drugs during my two-week stay, it seems you’d have to go out of your way to find narcotics (please don’t).
Not only is there little to no cartel activity in Valladolid, Yucatan state has an excellent reputation for low cartel activity. From my experience, it’s a palpable difference from neighboring Quintana Roo.
Transportation Safety in Valladolid
You can get around the historical center of Valladolid on foot. But in case you need to venture further, below are some details about transportation safety.
Is it safe to take an Uber in Valladolid?
Taking an Uber in Valladolid, Mexico is very safe. However, I found that there were limited drivers. So, I mostly used local taxi companies when carrying around my luggage and visiting Cenote Suytun.
Is it safe to take a street taxi in Valladolid?
Unlike elsewhere in Mexico, taking a street taxi in Valladolid is extremely safe. Of course, it’s always safer to call a taxi company so they register your ride. But if you’re in a pinch, there’s a relatively lower chance of something happening to you if you flag a taxi off the street compared to elsewhere in Mexico.
Is it safe to drive in Valladolid?
It’s very safe to drive in Valladolid. But it’s easier to get around the historical center on foot than by car, given the massive tourist buses that take up the streets during the day.
Is it safe to take a bus in Valladolid?
Taking local buses in Valladolid is completely safe. There’s likely little need for it, though. For example, Cenote Suytun is only accessible via car. ADO buses run the route to Valladolid from several destinations, and they’re a comfortable option for long-distance routes.
Earthquake Safety in Valladolid
You might already know that Mexico sits on many fault lines, so it might get you wondering–is Valladolid safe from earthquakes?
Earthquakes are a low threat in Valladolid. According to Earthquake Track, zero earthquakes have occurred in Valladolid in the past 365 days.
Most earthquakes in Mexico happen more to the west, making it rare to feel an aftershock in Valladolid.
Is the Water Safe to Drink in Valladolid?
No, the water isn’t safe to drink in Valladolid. The pipes aren’t well maintained, so debris and bacteria build-up are common.
Always drink filtered or bottled water during your Valladolid visit. You’ll find plenty of cheap water bottles at the tiendas (convenience stores) that sit on nearly every street corner.
How To Stay Safe in Valladolid
Below are some basic safety precautions to take in Valladolid. As you’ll see, there’s nothing unique about them—it’s wise to practice these tips regardless of where you travel.
- Take a taxi at night
- Don’t walk around showcasing expensive electronics
- Only take out money from ATMs inside a bank
- Never carry around all your credit cards and cash
- Use a money belt
- Don’t wear flashy jewelry
- Ask locals for advice
- Don’t leave an unopened drink unattended
- If you’re going to get inebriated, do so with a trustworthy sober companion
Finally, trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
The Safest Destinations in Mexico
Valladolid is one of the safest places I’ve ever visited in Mexico. But it’s not the only place I’ve felt safe.
Below are some other Mexican cities where I’ve felt exceptionally safe during my solo female travels.
And should you be considering a trip to Cabo, learn why I don’t recommend it for solo female travelers.
The Bottom Line: Is Valladolid Safe?
Valladolid, Mexico is a safe town for group and solo travelers alike. I loved having two weeks to explore its nooks and crannies, and I never felt my safety or belongings were in danger.
If you have questions about safety in Valladolid, leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to help.
I’d also love to hear about your experience after your Valladolid visit. I bet other readers would appreciate reading viewpoints other than mine as well 🙂
Psst! If you’re planning a trip to Cenote Suytun from Valladolid, don’t miss my post on must-know tips, including why you might not be able to stand under the famous ray of light.