Izamal is a small city in Yucatán, about 70km east of the capital, Mérida. It has deep roots in the Mayan and Spanish colonial past, with impressive historic architecture. By local tradition, most buildings are painted yellow.


In ancient Mayan times Izamal was sacred to the Creator God "Itzamna" and to the Sun God "Kinich Ahau". The city was a place of pilgrimage from throughout the Mayan lands.

When the Spanish conquered Yucatán, they followed their usual practice of building a new Spanish town atop the Mayan city, but at Izamal some of the Mayan structures were so massive that the Spanish contented themselves with putting churches and convents on top of them rather than demolishing them completely.

Izamal is still a regional place of pilgrimage, only now worshippers come to pay homage to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Our Lady of Izamal. Pope John Paul II visited Izamal in 1993 and presented the statue of the Virgin with a silver crown.

The Mayan, Colonial Spanish, and Modern mix comfortably in Izamal. The Mayan language is still often heard here spoken here, although most people also have at least a working knowledge of Spanish.

Get in

By car or bus. Second-class bus from Mérida or Valladolid. First-class bus from Cancún. The bus station is centrally located just a block west of the Municipal Palace.

Get around

If you drive in, park your car near one of the 3 plazas around the monastery complex at the center of town; sites of interest are within walking distance.



Every day except on Sundays, there is a sound & light show in the atrium of the convent at 8.30 pm. On Sundays from about 9AM to 3PM, locals gather at Parque Zamna (the park on the north side of the Monastery) for a paseo with live music, vendors, and refreshments.



Several restaurants. Most are not open late.


A few hotels and bed & breakfasts in town. From budget Posadas to comfort hotels there is accommodation for everybody


A couple of cyber cafes ("Ciber Café") in town; one is by the bus station. Some hotels also offer internet access.

The post office is north of the Municipal Palace; one can also make long-distance phone calls from here.

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