Many years ago, my husband and I did a road trip through Mexico and happened upon Izamal, named after the Mayan God Itzamná, and also known as “The Yellow City”. When we returned in 2021 with our kids, we wanted to visit again.

There are different theories as to why this city has a yellow theme. The most common is that the town was painted yellow to prepare for a visit from Pope John Paul II in 1993. Another theory is that the yellow color is a tribute to the Mayan God of the sun.

This city is 1.5 to 2 hours from Valladolid, and about three hours west of Cancun.

The drive to Izamal is fairly easy, as it is on highways. We had no problem getting there using Google Maps.

There are plenty of signs as you get close to Izamal, plus you’ll notice more and more yellow buildings.

We parked near the center square. We were able to ask a traffic officer where there was parking (“Estacionamiento”).

While we did do some walking around, there are many carriages for rent around the center part of town, so we started our tour with a horse carriage tour.

The tour goes quite a ways around town, from the center square to several ruins around town. You get to see quite a bit of Izamal, including residential areas.

The Kinich Kakmó Mayan Ruins are located right in town. We were originally going to drive there, but since the horse ride went there, it was just as convenient.

It was a strenuous walk up to the top, with no shade, and it was a hot day. I definitely remember this being a very hot and sweaty day!

The view of town is very nice from the top.

There are other ruins sprinkled around town.

The Convento de San Antonio is right in the center of town. It is partially built using stones from Mayan structures.

The center square is a great place to sit, relax, take photos, buy snacks or souvenirs. We enjoyed taking pictures with the Izamal sign and snacking on some paletas (popsicles) from a vendor.

There are a variety of things to do in town, such as photo opportunities, walking, restaurants, markets, mayan ruins, and more.

What to bring to Izamal:

~ sunscreen and/or other sun protection (sunglasses, hat, etc)
~ water, or plan on buying some
~ money for souvenirs, food, etc.
~ camera

Check out our other Mexico blog posts here.


About the Author: Marysa

Busy blogger and mom of two girls. We love traveling and the great outdoors, and are always looking for our next adventure! If you have any travel questions, contact me!