My trip to Izamal, the magical town in Yucatan
Izamal is one of the best-preserved magical towns that one can still enjoy across Mexico. This small town 45 m. east of Merida in Yucatan is surely one of the best-kept gems of the Mexican heritage borrowing from the Mayan and colonial past, painted in yellow to reflect the sun’s rays in its entire splendor. We set out on a weekend trip to Izamal to decide for ourselves if this town was worth all the hype over the Internet.
We looked for a secluded hotel to have a relaxing time. I wanted deafening silence and thousands of stars brightening my night. Undecided between Hotel Romantico Santo Domingo and Hacienda Sacnicte, we finally chose the latter, mainly because it is outside town and we thought it would be quieter. And it was the right choice! From the moment we arrived, these boutique hotel owners welcomed us like part of their family. Hacienda Sacnicte’s rooms are decorated in different hues and themes with a typical hacienda exterior and a Tuscany-style interior. Since we were free to choose, we went for the Lavender Suite. The breakfast was bountiful, and most importantly, the service was first class all the way through. We got a real dose of Mexican hospitality!
After settling in our luxurious quarters, we set out to walk the cobbled streets of Izamal, wandering around its market and breathing the finest fresh air. It doesn’t take long to get to the area’s main attraction, the Franciscan Monastery of San Antonio de Padua, built over a Mayan town’s remnants as it was the custom back in the 1560s. We were delighted at the pristine shape of the arches and the atrium that, back in time, was only the second biggest after the Vatican’s. I have seen plenty of Baroque and Romanic atriums in Europe, which is one of the finest I have ever witnessed.
The great thing about Izamal is that one can see these colonial buildings next to Mayan pyramids that the Spanish didn’t manage to hide from view. Marking the four cardinal points, one can still see the pyramids of Kinich Kakmo to the north, Pap Hol Chac to the south, Itzamatul to the east, and Kabul to the west. Together they have given rise to a unique environment that is now sought-after for the mix of cultures that have left their mark on the land.
We found the Hotel Romantico and had lunch at its restaurant, served by the most attentive staff who accommodated our vegetarian choices without question. It felt great to lunch with the pool’s relaxing view in majestic surroundings after the town’s walkabout. Magical towns come in many shapes, and Izamal deserves its place as a favorite for excellent reasons. We would not hesitate to come back to another time. This was a relaxed and carefree weekend when we felt like royalty from beginning to end. What else could you ask for?