Roughly one hour east of Mérida, at the end of a lane-and-a-half, freshly-cut swath of jungle vegetation is a mustardy Mecca that is desperately trying to retain its importance as a pilgrimage site. The most recent of devoted visitors are those of the Catholic persuasion – and it should be noted that “recent” refers to those who began their journeys as far back as the sixteenth century. Little more is commonly known of the city of Izamal among we pleasure travelers of the more “modern” era.
However, the ancient secrets that she hides are a welcome surprise to the ignorant. The religious have been attracted to Izamal for five centuries, to pray at its miracle church, the Convento de San Antonio de Padua. On the surface the convent appears to be the most holy of Catholic relics even recognized by the Pope himself. Yet under the shallow veneer of yellow plaster the foundation of the Maya temple it hides is beginning to shine through. This is what is slowly becoming the new draw to the few who find themselves discovering the sleepy settlement today.