So it turns out we stumbled across a ‘magical’ city when we drove into Izamal – The Yellow City.
Apparently there are 35 cities/towns in Mexico that are ‘magical’ and Izamal is one of them. So what makes a city magical you ask? According to the Mexican government, the town or city must be small with rich historical tradition. It also must be close by to tourist sites and be accessible via good roads.
From what we have seen in Mexico this would mean there are many more than 35 magical towns but who am I to argue with the Mexican government!
To us however, what made Izamal particularly magical was the architecture – It was all painted yellow! Even the convent was pained yellow.
As garish as that sounds, it really worked! The city looked amazing and so bright and happy!
While this city is no Cancun (i.e. more tourists than locals) its obvious they do get a fair run of tourists through here. There was a row of horse drawn carts lined up and waiting for the next tourist to hop on for a tour of the magical yellow Izamal. We decided to use our feet (need to work off some of that yummy Cancun food!) and our hire car.
Speaking of the car – Michael decided it would be a great idea to go down the wrong way on a one-way street! To his defense it was the GPS that told us to go down that street! So next thing we know we have a police car pulling up beside us and saying something in Spanish that was probably “You stupid tourists! You are going the wrong bloody way!” So we quickly rectified the situation and kept on exploring.
Another thing that really stood out for me in this colorful Mexican city was the cobblestone streets and iron lampposts that really added something extra to this already charming and colorful city.
There is a large church in the middle of of city – Franciscan convent. The church is actually built over one of the Mayan pyramids. There is a lot of history in this church – Even the Pope visited in 1993.
As you walk around inside the church you will notice they have restored the altarpiece which is really quite lovely. There are stained glass windows throughout which really adds to the ambiance of the place.
All in all Izamal is really worth the visit. Its only 45 minutes outside of Merida (and not far off the highway if you are traveling from Cancun to Merida), which is capital city of the Yucatan Peninsular. I am so glad we stumbled on to this colorful historic little city – Some times it’s the places you come across by accident that turn out to be the most memorable.
Have you been to Izamal? We love colorful cities/towns – Can anyone recommend any others (world wide, not just Mexico)?