Izamal Ruins

Izamal is a charming colonial town located about an hour to an hour and a half drive from Mérida. Virtually every building in the town is painted yellow.

Before the Spanish arrived, Izamal was an important ceremonial center for the Maya. Since their arrival, it has become a ceremonial center for honoring the Virgin of Izamal. Pilgrims have included Pope John Paul II who visited Izamal in August 1993

Regular organized bus tours are available from any travel agent or hotel tour desk in Mérida. When we visited, we took advantage of the Izamal Express Train, which runs only on Sundays. The train is very slow but it does give a close up view of the Mexican countryside and was a worthwhile endeavor.

The train leaves Mérida just after 8am and arrives in Izamal around 10am. The tour included a visit to several Mayan sites as well as the very large Franciscan convent completed by the Spanish in 1561. We were entertained by a Folkloric Ballet performance in the restaurant after our lunch and were driven back to the train station in a horse drawn carriage. The train got us back to Mérida around 5pm. Editor’s Note: We have heard a rumor that the train service may have been suspended recently.