Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Chichen Itza may first come to mind when you think of popular destinations in southern Mexico, but what about Izamal?
Colloquially known as “La Ciudad Amarilla,” or “The Yellow City,” for its colorful, golden-hued buildings, Izamal is a small picturesque town that isn’t flooded with tourists compared to its more popular neighbors.
Located about 115 miles outside of the state capital of Mérida in Mexico’s southern state of Yucatán, Izamal is a true gem to behold with a rich history that dates back nearly 2,000 years ago to the ancient Maya before the current colonial city was founded in the 16th century.
A designated “Pueblo Mágico” by Mexico’s government to preserve and recognize the city’s cultural heritage, Izamal is often referred to as a town of three cultures due to its fascinating blend of pre-Columbian, colonial and modern cultures.
Walk the streets of Izamal and feel as if you’re transported back in time.
The Monastery of St. Anthony of Padua is the focal point of town. The church was built in 1561 on top of an ancient Mayan worship center and today stands as one of the oldest Catholic churches in the Americas.
Meanwhile, Kinich Kak Moo, the largest remaining Mayan ruin in Izamal, is just a few blocks away from the monastery right in the middle of town.
Named after the Mayan sun god, the Kinich Kak Moo pyramid has 10 levels that can be climbed for amazing panoramic views of Izamal and the surrounding Yucatán jungle.