The Convent Route refers to a collection of colonial-era churches and convents located in relative proximity to each other, south of Merida.
Despite its name, there is no fixed itinerary for the Convent Route although, with the main sites being what and where they are, and a limited road network, there is a largely natural route to follow.
So, let’s begin by assuming you are staying in Merida itself, in which case you would probably want to head towards the ring road and then onto the 180 as if aiming for Cancun.
Before long, you will exit the 180 and take Highway 184 south, passing through (and stopping at), Acanceh, Tecoh, Telchaquillo, Tekit (pictured above), Mama, Chumayel & Teabo.
If you wish to include some Mayan ruins within the day Mayapan (picture below), was the last great Mayan city in the Yucatan Peninsula, and is located just south of Telchaquillo. Please note however, Mayapan is a big site and will take a fair chunk out of your day.
Regardless of whether you visit Mayapan or not, you would come off the 184 at Teabo and head west to Mani & Ticul before heading back to Merida, north along the 261, completing an easy loop of the region.
Of course, the Convent Route needn’t be viewed purely as day trip, it can be part of an itinerary heading south to Campeche, including perhaps an overnight at the great Mayan ruins of Uxmal, a short drive from Ticul.
The Key Sites of the Convent Route
Acanceh is known for its Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Square of the Three Cultures), combining a Mayan pyramid and both colonial era and modern day churches. Also worth visiting is the Temple of the Stuccoes.
The town’s ornately decorated church (picture above) is known for its artwork and for the fact that, as with elsewhere in the Yucatan, it was built on top of the ruins of an existing Mayan building. Also located in town is a Convent dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption.
There is a small, simple chapel in this sleepy little village as well as delightful cenote.
Mama is home to what is thought to be the oldest church on the Convent Route, the Church of the Ascension, boasting both a unique bell tower and ornate altar.
Home to the simple Church of Immaculate Conception, it was in Chumayel that the ‘Chilam Balam’, a book sacred to the Mayas was found.
Teabo is home to two important religious structures. The convent of St Peter and St Paul was built in Teabo in 1607, followed in 1664, by the Church of St Peter the Apostle.
Mani (picture above) is home to a church, the Convent of St Michael Archangel as well as a small museum. It is also one of the most important stops on the Convent Route so make sure you leave enough time for it.
Where To Stay on the Convent Route
There are a number of accommodation options for exploring the Convent Route. Many visitors will be staying in Merida city centre and will be treating this as a day out. That’s fine, although getting out of and then back into the city centre will eat up some of your time.
From a purely logistical point of view, staying in the countryside south of Merida will mean that you are out and about rather quicker. Staying at one of the lovely hacienda hotels dotted around the region will perhaps also feel more in keeping with the theme of the day. Examples of where to stay include the Hacienda Santa Cruz (photo below), Hacienda Yabucu in Acanceh, Hacienda Temozon (not on our website but we can book it) and the Hacienda Petac.
It also possible to explore the Convent Route using the accommodation in Uxmal as your base.