Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Yellow City in Mexico: Izamal

Izamal is another great place for your vacations in Yucatan, Cancun and the Riviera Maya. It is located near Merida and is one of the 83 "Magical Towns" of Mexico. Known as the oldest city in Yucatan, it is a small town, with an estimated population of 15,000 people. Izamal is a picturesque colonial town with beautiful old houses painted in white and ochre, cobblestone streets, colonial lamp posts and sounds of horses to create a magic scenery, making of this place a real "Magical Town."

Street in Izamal
As you can deduct from the picture, it is known as "The Yellow City", since the entire downtown is painted in egg-yolk yellow. It was founded in the 4th century AD by Itzamna, leader and patriarch of the Mayan people. Actually known as the "City of three cultures", Izamal brings together elements of the pre Hispanic, colonial and contemporary eras.

It is also called the "City of the Hills" because of the archaeological remains located in the town center, including the pyramids of Itzamatul, Kabul and Hucpintok and the tallest in Yucatan: the 115 feet tall pyramid of Kinich-Kakmo. A real treat during your vacations in Merida, Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Izamal downtown at night
What to visit in Izamal:
  • The Franciscan Monastery, built on top of a Mayan pyramid;
  • the Government Palace, a large city model with pyramids, colonial buildings, parks, plazas, and horses;
  • the Kinich Kakmo pyramid, the largest pre-Hispanic temple in Yucatan;
  • the Community Museum;
  • the Santuario de la Virgen de Izamal;
  • the 30 minute sound and light show on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 pm in Summer and 7:30 pm in Winter;
  • On Sundays you can enjoy "Izamal en Domingo" in the Parque Zamna from 9 am to 3 pm, where you will see a big exposition of Mexican art, music and gastronomy;
  • the Hecho a Mano store on the main square. 

San Antonio de Padua Convent
When you visit Izamal, you get to know three cultures at the same time: the ancient Mayas, the colonial Mexico and the present day. The perfect mixture for your vacations in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan.

Did you know that?

• In Izamal there are 20 Mayan structures still standing. The most famous one is K´inich K´ak´Mo, named after the ruler “Great sun Fire Macaw.“ It is one of the largest pyramids in the Yucatan.
• A small museum in the main church commemorates the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1993, the International Year of Indigenous People, when he pledged the Catholic Church support for the Mayan people.
• In 1949 the Virgin of Guadalupe was adopted as the patron saint of Yucatan.

Street in Izamal
Where to eat in Izamal?

We recommend you the restaurant El Toro in front of the monastery. It is a restaurant specialized in Yucatan food with also some international dishes.

How to get to Izamal from Cancun?

- From Cancun you can take the highway 180, west for 3.5 hours approximately 273 km ( 169 mi). Look out for the sign that reads Izamal and turn north. It is also 80 km (50 miles) east of Merida.

- By bus from Cancun: You can take a first class bus of the company ADO to Valladolid and then a second class bus to Izamal.

Dowtown Izamal

Where to stay in Izamal:

- Homantic Hotel Santo Domingo (Traveler's Choice Award 2012).
- Hacienda Sacnite.
- Eco Hotel Green River.
- Hotel Iztamaltun.

Cheap hotels and hostels in Izamal:

- Hotel Macanche Bed & Breakfast.
- Hotel San Miguel Arcangel.
- Rinconada del Convento.