Santa Semana en El Convento San Antonio de Padua

Santa Semana (Holy Week) in Mexico is a big deal, kicked off by Domingo de Palma, or Palm Sunday. So perhaps what better place to be, unplanned, than at the Convento San Antonio de Padua, the hugely sprawling (entirely yellow of course) 16thCentury Franciscan convent in Izamal, around an hour out of Mérida, towards the…

Fire Macaw With Sun Face

One of the most important structures in all of Mesoamerica, the pyramid of K’inich K’áak ’Mo’ is more than 34m high and one of the largest pyramids by volume in the Yucatan.  K’inich K’áak ’Mo’, which means “fire macaw with sun face” in ancient Mayan, was built around 400 A.D., though the site has been continuously…

La Ciudad Amarilla (And It Was All Yellow-ooo)

Around an hour’s drive west out of Mérida lies the impossibly beautiful town of Izamal, a designated Pueblo Mágico (a place with great national symbolism and historical importance) or, as it’s colloquially known, “La Ciudad Amarilla”, the Yellow City – and yes, the whole town is painted yellow! That’s every single house painted in various…

The Haunting of Villa María

There are many gloriously faded mansions and palacios all over Mérida, particularly in Centro Histórico. Some are clearly occupied and restored to their former grandeur, now either banks, corporate headquarters or boutique hotels, whilst others are seemingly abandoned and left to decompose in the tropical sun. I wonder why? No doubt the restoration costs would…

Doorways of Mérida

As you may have guessed I’m totally captivated by the vivid colours of Mérida and, more and more, the varied doorways of the older colonial homes. The worn exteriors of these sometimes humble casas are painted in the brightest of colours, often wonderfully clashing with their neighbours, peeling away and weathered by the baking sun,…

The Cenotes of San Antonio Mulix

On the way back from Uxmal and after a long hot day we stopped off at the San Antonio Mulix cenotes. Off the main road and down a long narrow dusty track through the low jungle, is the very unimposing gateway to the cenotes – it’s a very sleepy place with just one person on…

The Lost Mayan City of Uxmal

With thick jungle protection, Uxmal was shrouded from prying eyes and awaiting re-discovery, which didn’t arrive until the early 19th Century, when the American archaeologist John L. Stephens tracked down the ruins in 1841, introducing the world to Uxmal through his book ‘Incidents of Travel in Yucatan’. I’ve got a copy and I’m wading through its…

Mad Dogs And Englishmen Go Out In The Midday Sun

Leaving the Nuns’ Quadrangle you move through another stunning feature of Uxmal, a tall triangular vaulted passageway, onto another wide, stepped terrace and down to the ball court. A ball court is common to all Mesoamerican cultures, with the players aiming to pass a solid rubber ball  – unfeasibly – through one of two high stone…

Uxmal and The Magician’s Pyramid

Another scorching hot week in Mérida. Another ‘escape from the city’ adventure with our trusty driver, José Luis. This time our long-time friend Richard also in tow. Destination: the much-anticipated Mayan pyramids of Uxmal.  The ancient city of Uxmal (which means ‘thrice built’ in Mayan) lies 84ks from Mérida in the south west corner of…