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This Lesser-Known Red City Is A Magical Day Trip From Cancun

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Have you heard of the town of Motul in the Yucatan? For most tourists to Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and even Merida, the answer is probably no.

However, visitors should probably add this up-and-coming Magical Town in the area to their must-see travel bucket list, especially if they love to paint the town red.

The Red City of the Yucatan

Motul is definitely a city in the Yucatan where tourists can paint the town red.


No, we are not talking about going out, having fun, hitting the bars, and enjoying the music in this case. While that is all possible in the Magical Town of Motul, this is more in the literal sense.

Motul seeks to be known as the red city of Mexico.

The town recently has started painting all of the buildings in the center of the city an attractive rust-hued hacienda red color with dramatic white trim.

Motul Church

They started with the house of Felipe and Elvia Carrillo Puerto, which now holds a tourist museum, along with some of the businesses around the center square and the market.

After the historic center, town officials and building owners plan to move forward with the project, adding the main avenues, entrances, and exits of the city to the same class red rust color.

Motul Pueblo Magico Project

Church on the plaza in Motul

Located a day trip from Cancun, or about 45 minutes east of Merida, Motul is a Magical Town looking to recreate itself and attract visitors from all over the Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

It will be even easier to visit once the Maya Train project is completed from Cancun.

The entire community came together to strategize how to make their Magical Town even more magical for tourists.

The main square in Motul

They then came up with the idea to make the town feel even more traditional to its heritage, and that meant painting the town the classical red hacienda color that is a staple of many classical Mexican towns.

That’s when the local businessmen, municipal officials, teachers, and citizens of the community decided to come together as one and launch the project.

It started with one building and has since caught speed as Motul residents got excited about participating in the project. Before year-end, they anticipate much of the town will all share the traditional red color.

Motul Downtown

Ultimately, the municipal government allocated a total budget of two million pesos towards the painting project with the mission to ensure the town square, entrances, exits, and the main market all are painted the classic hacienda red color.

Tradition and History to Explore

Tourists visiting the Magical City of Motul can go back in time to the Mayan and Colonial Spanish days that were the founding of today’s Yucatan.

The Motul coat of arms

The legend is that the town was started by a priest named Zac Mutul and in the 1440s changed its name to Motul and became the capital of the Pech Kingdom.

The Spanish Conquistadors came later and converted the town into a Spanish colonial town with the establishment of a religious center. The current San Juan Bautista de Motul in the center of the town dates back to the late 1560s.

It later was granted formal city status in 1872.

Huevos Motuleños

Today, the town celebrates its colonial heritage and boasts a population of about 30,000 residents in the general area.

The popular dish of eggs on top of tortillas with Mexican cheese and hot sauce originated in the area and was named eggs motuleño after the town.

Today, it is a very popular breakfast dish in the Yucatan and some parts of Quintana Roo, where Cancun and the Riviera Maya are located.

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