In the heart of the state of Quintana Roo, southeast of Mexico, there is a region littered with small towns inhabited by Maya people, many of which still preserve ancient customs and only speak their ancestral language. Moreover, some of the more interesting attractions in the area are the colonial churches that makeup the Churches Route… The union of two cultures.
The churches of the Maya Zone are the few colonial vestiges that have survived the test of time, still standing despite bearing damage from the battles of the Caste War in Yucatan.
To tour these towns full of history and traditionsis an interesting and enriching experience. Traces of the evangelization of the colonial era are present with several ancient churches in ruins and some still in conditions to gather people several times a week, or on special occasions.
The Churches Route of the Maya Zone covers the towns of Chanchén Comandante, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Tepich, Tihosuco, and San Antonio Tuk, within the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. As well as the towns of Huay Max, Sabán,Sacalaca, X-Cabil and X-Querol, in the municipality of José María Morelos.
Most of the churches on the route are small and sober, some older than others and each with unique characteristics. The church in Tepich for example, has walled in Maya cemetery on one of its sides. On the other hand the most impressive construction of the area is the Temple of Holy Infant Jesus or, the former convent of Tihosuco, which has oil-painted altarpieces, a golden cross with velvet sleeves embroidered with gold and silk.
One of the oldest churches known in the state of Quintana Roo is located in Sacalaca, known as “the one for whites”, which is consecrated to the Virgin Mary. But that’s not the only church in town. There is also “the one for natives”. The two churches in one town were established because of the division between the indigenous Maya and European conquistadores, who classified themselves as white and creoles.
To complement the experience, we recommend visiting the Maya Catholic ceremonial centers, spaces where the local Maya perform rituals, pray and hold ceremonies and festivities. These are located in Chancah Veracruz, Chumpón, Chunyaxché, Cruz Parlante, Tihosuco, Tixcal Guardia, and Tulum.