South of Mérida are two scenic routes, steeped in Maya and colonial history: the Ruta Puuc, and the Ruta de los Conventos. Both are best experienced in a car, though you can get to a couple of major attractions by bus. East of the city, by car or bus, lies the pueblo mágico (“magic village” – an official Mexican government designation) of Izamal, which is exceptionally scenic and rich in tradition. Taken as a whole, this area represents the essence of Maya rural life, the heart of the Yucatán, in dozens of villages linked by narrow roads through dense forest. Life is slower here, often conducted by bicycle – stay alert while driving.

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