Impressions of Izamal and surrounding

Izamal Travel Blog

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Izamal is more than a day trip, if you really want to explore this jewel of history. The most famous attraction is still the convent which was founded by Franciscan monks. It was build on top of a Mayan pyramid and is made out of handcrafted stones from destroyed Mayan buildings. There is a sound and light show in the atrium of the convent at night. Still, today you can see many Mayan buildings as well colonial buildings which are made out of original pyramid materials. One of the biggest Mayan structures is located in Izamal, the Kinich Kak Mo pyramid which is dedicated to the Mayan sun god. The base is bigger than the well known Kukulkan pyramid in Chichen Itza. Several smaller structures are spread out over the town and some people have still ancient Mayan structures in their backyard. As well the hotel we stayed in, the Romantic Hotel Santo Domingo has ancient Mayan structures and an old Mayan well on their property. Parts of this former Hacienda property was built out of Mayan limestone’s. There are recovering ongoing on several Mayan structures in town. Another attraction are the horse carriages, called "calessas" which are still the public transportation in Izamal. You can rent them as well by hour and doing a city tour , visiting the artisans workshops and learn new things about Mayan life today. The surrounding of Izamal is very interesting as well. Many old Haciendas are located few minute drive from town. You can see old, abundant Haciendas, working Haciendas and as well beautiful renovated Haciendas like the Hacienda Sac Nicte, which is operated as a luxury hotel now. Many open and underground Cenotes are hidden in the jungle, ask your host about. The owners of Romantic Hotel Santo Domingo do have a Cenote to explore and they know as well several others. Ask for a tour to old Mayan mines where they excavated the material to build the structures in Izamal. Later the Spanish used this mines to make their colonial houses in Izamal. Visit Mayan families and see their daily life, eat some Tamales with them and enjoy the nature around their villages. Izamal is located in the middle of Yucatan. From here you are able to make daytrips to visit the most famous Yucatan attractions. Chichen Itza is just 45 minutes away, Merida ( 50 min) is good for a daytrip also, you don’t need to stay in the busy city, go back to Izamal in the evening and enjoy the tranquility of this charming town. Uxmal, Kabah, Mayapan, and many more well known Mayan sites are just one to two hours away from Izamal. If you are interested in bird watching you can see Flamingos and many other species in the natural preserve in Dzilam de Bravo, just 50 minutes from Izamal on the coast of Yucatan. We saw as well crocodiles there. Renting a car is a good idea to explore Yucatan and the Caribbean coast. Cars are inexpensive and roads are good now a day. Plenty of gas stations now (was different when I came first to Yucatan ) If you want to spend some days at the Caribbean coast I would recommend to see the Costa Maya with up growing village of Majahual. North of Majahual you still find lonely beaches which is gone on the other Mexican Caribbean destinations like the Riviera Maya and Cancun area. I recommend to stay at the small hotel" Mayan Beach Garden" which is located 20 km north of Majahual. It’s a very quiet and wonderful place located direct at the beach. Just 4 hours from Izamal. Make reservations since there are just 6 rooms
Eveline111 says:
Thanks for the excellent post and tips to go off the beaten path!
Posted on: Jan 02, 2015
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photo by: jose28