Colonial Cities of the Yucatan

Scenic aerial view of Valladolid church and main square, Mexico


The beautiful colonial town of Valladolid was founded by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo in 1543. Only an 1-1/2 hours from Akumal, Valladolid was established on the remains of a Maya town called Zaci, the buildings of which were dismantled to build the sixteenth century town. Highlights of a tour to Valladolid are the majestic Cathedral of San Gervasio, completed in 1570 by the Franciscans and a walk down the Calle de los Frailes (Street of the Friars) with its brightly colored colonial buildings.

A trip to Valladolid would not be complete without a visit to the impressive San Bernadino Convent, the two large cenotes Zaci and Dzitnup, the San Roque Museum and the Government Palace with its huge murals depicting Mexican history.

large yellow tinted building in Merida, Mexico


The enchanting city of Merida is a architectural and cultural gem located only 4 hours from Akumal. It was founded by Spanish Conquisador Franciso de Montejo in 1542 and established on the remains of a Maya town called T'ho (also known as Ichcaanzihó or "city of the five hills", referring to five pyramids)

Merida has the second largest centro histórico of any city in the Americas, surpassed only by Mexico City. There's plenty to see and do for those who choose to spend a few days before or after their vacation on the Riviera Maya. Several excellent museums, colonial-era churches and buildings, tree-lined avenues, great restaurants, cafes and shops and the peaceful Zocalo, a green park in the center of the city and a great place for people watching and resting during your tour of the city.

Capilla de la Santa Cruz in Izamal


Izamal, the City of Hills, is located in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, about 3 hours drive from Akumal. It is famed for its yellow colonial buildings, and along with its cobblestoned streets and colonial lampposts, it is a truly magical town. The main tourist attraction in Izamal is its Franciscan Covent, which was built atop an ancient Mayan pyramid. Also known as the "City of Three Cultures", Izamal is a combination of prehispanic, colonial and contemporary architecture, religion, art and customs. Izamal has a fabulous Light and Sound Show on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings at 8.30pm.