Road trips are all about the journey… and the destination! Located on Mexico’s scenic Yucatan Peninsula,the ancient town of Izamal is one of the area’s “Magic Towns,” or Pueblos Magicos. Situated just a bit south of Merida and about three hours from Cancun,Izamal offers an exciting option for a day trip and is ideal for both adults and families.
“Izamal is a quiet old colonial town featuring buildings that are painted a charming egg-yolk yellow,” wrote Mexico News Daily. “During the time of the Spanish conquest of Yucatan (1527-1547),Izamal was one of the largest and most beautiful cities on the peninsula.”
Today,there are two exits for Izamal from the modern toll road Highway 180D,which runs from Cancun to Merida. One exit takes visitors down the well-traveled,nicely marked route that runs closer to Merida,while the other exit leads to a narrow country road not far from Valladolid that runs through the small pueblos of Kantunil,Sudzal and Juan Pablo.
In Izamal,the town centro is home to an expansive Franciscan monastery that is currently undergoing a massive restoration funded by state,federal and UNESCO contributions. But before the Spanish arrived,Izamal was considered by the ancient Mayans to be the home of a manifestation of the sun god Kinich Kakmo,as well as another god known as Itzam Na. An enormous pyramid in the center of Izamal was once dedicated to Itzam Na,but the Spaniards forced the locals to dismantle the top of the structure and build the monastery and church upon the newly flattened area high above the city.
“Izamal is a jewel of a colonial city,” wrote Yucatan Today. “Cobblestone streets and colonial lampposts complete the scenery. Clean,peaceful and quaint,this is a great town to stroll through. There are Maya pyramids,colonial-style buildings,parks and plazas,horses and buggies,and lots of people-watching.”
Insider Tip From Investment Properties Mexico: While here,be sure to check out Restaurante Kinich when hunger strikes. This cool,palapa-covered eatery features corn tortillas made by hand in the traditional manner using a very hot wood-burning fire,served up with a wide variety of delicious Mayan and Yucatecan specialties.
Also,be sure to head over to the Government Palace and its large model of the town,which shows the many ancient Mayan pyramids scattered about the area. Next,visit the Museum of the Community,which is located under the convent in Cinco de Mayo Park and features a wide variety of interesting exhibits.
“Be sure to visit the homes where local artisans work their magic creating unique crafts,” advises Yucatan Today. “There is a handcraft route you can take to see the workshops where minatures are made,where hammocks are woven,where papier maché butterflies and dragonflies are crafted,and where wooden jaguars,crucifixes,boxes and more are carved.”
Want to know more about life on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula?
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