Izamal, Yucatan, Mexico
Photo by Jordán Rodríguez
Izamal’s Yellow MagicIn Izamal—designated a pueblo mágico, or “magical town,” by Mexican tourism authorities—almost every structure is painted egg-yolk-yellow, in brilliant contrast to the Yucatán’s deep-blue skies. Once an important Maya settlement, the town now surrounds a 16th-century Franciscan monastery built atop a vast Maya pyramid. The pyramid’s base, still on view, implies an original structure much larger than even Chichén Itzá’s imposing Pyramid of Kukulcán. Inside the monastery, visitors note original Maya stones underfoot and look for the opening behind the chapel’s main altar, where an image of Our Lady of Izamal is placed to sleep each night. A great stopover between Chichén Itzá and Valladolid, the town is famed for sunset carriage rides and delicious regional fare like poc chuc (citrus-marinated pork) at picturesque Kinich restaurant.