A small colonial city in Mexico’s Yucatan region, Izamal combines the aesthetics of old and new, with ancient pyramids standing alongside an old Spanish monastery and yellow-painted town buildings. The city was once an ancient Maya ceremonial center, and the largest pyramid—dubbed Kinich Kak Mo—was a holy site built for the Maya sun god.
Most Izamal tours leave from Merida and include pickup and drop-off from local hotels. Excursions typically last a full day and visit both the ruins and the adjacent town. Some tours also include a romantic carriage ride in Izamal and a light-and-sound show at the Franciscan convent. For a personalized experience, private tours are also available.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Izamal is a must-see attraction for history buffs and culture lovers.
- Remember to bring sun protection, comfortable shoes for exploring, and plenty of water.
- It’s a good idea to bring cash (usd or pesos) for tips and shopping.
How to Get There
Izamal is easy to reach from Merida, which is just 45 (72 kilometers) miles away by road; it can also be accessed via a day trip from Cancun, which is 3.5 hours away. You can get there by taxi, rental car, or on a guided tour.
When to Get There
You can visit the Izamal ruins year-round, but it’s is busiest from December through April when the weather tends to be sunny and warm. There are fewer crowds during hurricane season (May through October), but be sure to check the weather for storms. It’s a good idea to visit early in the day to the avoid crowds and afternoon heat.
Other Must-See Archaeological Sites
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is full of ancient Maya ruins. Chichen Itza is one of the largest and most popular, while Tulum Archeological Site, Ek Balam, and the ruins at Coba are also excellent remnants from the ancient Maya civilization.