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Tel Code: 988

Altitude: 21 meters (, 72 feet)

Pop: 18,000

Postal Code: 97540

The Yellow City of Izamal continues to draw pilgrims – religious and secular – as it has since its founding in 2,000 BC by the Maya Lord God Itzamna. This town is one One of Mexico’s 35 Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns), selected and marketed for their beauty, historic nature and special charm. Izamal casts its magical spell when the afternoon sun sets aglow the egg-yolk yellow walls of the colonial center.

Izamal’s five main archeological sites lie within an easy walk or horse and buggy ride of each other. Local guides say that the Maya laid out the temples and pyramids in the shape of the human body, with a pyramid at each foot and hand and at the heart, and with the great pyramid of Kinich Kak Moo at its head. Along the way, visit the workshops of Izamal’s master craftsmen.

The exterior of Basilica of San Antonio de Padua is perhaps the most glorious colonial religious structure in Yucatán (formally known as the Templo de la Purisma Concepción and Ex Convento). Next to the basilica resides a statue of 16th century Friar Diego de Landao, who burned the written records of Maya knowledge, an error he lived to regret.

An unusual and worthwhile daytrip combining mountain biking, kayaking and a visit to the archeological site of Xbaatun is offered by the community-owned Ox Watz, located in nearby Tekal de Venegas.

Just a short walk from the center is one of Yucatán’s best-run bed and breakfasts: Hotel Macan ChéChe, a lush, secluded retreat. Yoga workshops, Maya language classes and 2012 Mystery Tours are just a few of the reasons guests return again and again.

Hotel San Miguel Arcangel occupies prime real estate, fronting on Hun Pic Tok Square across from the basilica.

Some of the best Yucatecan food on the peninsula is served at Restaurant Kinich - El Sabor de Izamal. For simple, tasty fare head to the market to El Portrero and grab a table to watch the locals do their everyday shopping.

Hotel Macan ChéChe: Calle 22 No. 305, between 33 and 35, Email: macanche(at), Tel: +52 (-988) -954-02-87,, 15 rooms, US$45-135

Hotel San Miguel Arcangel: Calle 31-A No. 308, between 30 and 30-A, +52 (988) 52 988 954- 0109, contacto(at), Web:, 8 rooms, US$41-45

Restaurant Kinich - El Sabor de Izamal: 2 blocks from the town center (on Calle 27 near the corner of 30, between 28 and 30). +52 (988) 52 988 954-0489,, MX$45-118

Restaurant El Portrero: In the market, South side of main square facing the Basilica, Corner of Calles 30 and 33, MX$7-50.

Ox Watz, Calle 13 No. 101B, between 20 and 22, Tekal de Venegas. Tel: +52 (991) 911- 90 83, Cell: +52 1 045 9991 60 37 44(999) 160-3744, Email: oxwatz(at), Web:

Tourism Office: Calle 30 No. 323, between 31 and 31A, Tel: +52 (988) 954- 0692

Izamal is reached by car from CancĂşn (4 hr), MĂ©rida (1 hr) or Valladolid (2 hr). Take the meandering Highway 180 directly into town or Highway 180D, the MĂ©rida-Valladolid-Cancun the toll roadhighway, to the Izamal exit and follow the signs into town. Izamal is served by frequent 2nd class buses daily: from MĂ©rida’s Oriente station at the corner of Calle 69 and 68 and via less frequent Autocentro buses from CancĂşn’s downtown station on the corner of Uxmal Avenue and Tulum Avenue and from Valladolid’s single terminal.

Buses to MĂ©rida (Oriente, 18 daily, $1.50), Valladolid (Autocentro, 6 daily, $3.35), and CancĂşn (Autocentro, 6 daily, $9.35) depart from the bus station located on Calle 32 between Calles 31 and 33. Collective vans to and from MĂ©rida arrive and depart from Calle 31 between 30 and 32.


Other places nearby Izamal: San Felipe, Hopelchén, Progreso, Celestún , Oxkutzcab, Chichén Itzá, Valladolid, Ticul, Santa Elena and Escárcega.

07 Oct 2011

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