This excellent regional crafts centre of IZAMAL is easy enough to visit from Mérida on a day-trip, but don’t leave before sunset, when the place takes on a perfect golden glow, thanks to the striking ochre-yellow that covers all of the buildings. If you prefer the country to the city, Izamal can also be a good alternative to Mérida as a base for sightseeing. In this case, though, it’s nice to have a car, as Izamal is served only by second-class buses.
You can take a craft tour of the town, using a free map, available from most hotels and businesses, which identifies the workshops of wood-carvers, papier-mâché artists and other artisans around Izamal – they’re all well marked and easily reached by bike, available from the craft museum. Be sure to visit Don Esteban, on Calle 26 at Calle 45, whose jewellery made from henequen spines is striking and modern, and whose effusive character is memorable. Agustín Colli, on Calle 19 between calles 24 and 26, makes double-weave hammocks that are positively luxurious.
For a broader selection of craftwork, visit Hecho a Mano on the south side of the convent plaza. This particularly good craft and folk-art shop is stocked with everything from Mexican wrestling masks to Huichol yarn paintings from Nayarit, as well as excellent photography by the owner.