Be a Culture Pilgrim in the Yucatan Peninsula

Pilgrims, the travelers of the world, be it for religious or new cultural experiences. Pilgrim is the name given to the early settlers in Canada and the US from Europe, and pilgrim is the term used for any travelers who decide to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

In the Yucatan Peninsula, there are many cultural travels that visitors and locals can experience. If you are looking for some great trips to enhance and expand your understanding of the Maya, the Caste War, the Spanish influence on the region and contemporary cultural influences, there are two great cultural pilgrimages that range from religious influences, to Mayan ruins, to the famous haciendas.

Ruta de las Iglesias – History of Spanish Influence on the Maya


This is a fabulous trip that can be done in part (our favorite option) or in its entirety in a few days. This is a travel route, done best by car, which takes you to a series of Roman Catholic Churches in small Mayan Villages. The design varies from town to town and it is fascinating to see, firsthand, the influence the Spanish had or attempted to have on the Maya through the introduction of Catholicism. Some churches were partially destroyed during the Caste War, some are still in use today.

Start in Valladolid and head south on Hwy 295 to the city of Tihosuco. Your final destination will be Felipe Carrillo Puerto, a small city to the south of Tulum. This route takes a day, with a stop in Valladolid for late breakfast and lunch in Felipe Carillo Puerto. An additional route is from Valladolid on Hwy 295 heading up to Rio Lagaratos. Each pueblo along this highway, whether you are heading south or north, is part of the Ruta de Iglesias (Church Route) and has at least one Roman Catholic Church to see.


If you find yourself in Merida, you might want to try the Ruta de Conventos, the Convent Route that takes a day to complete. If you wish to complete this route starting in the Riviera Maya, budget two days for the trip. Again this shows the religious influence and impact the Spanish had on the local communities.

Ruta de las Ruinas Mayas – Mayan Ruins Route

Now we have made this up. An official Mayan Ruins Route is not publicized, but you can create your own. Just follow our detailed explanations of the Ruins in the area. This is exactly what we have done, and did, when we came to the Riviera Maya. We would pick a weekend and go either west, south or north, and visit as many Mayan ruins as we could. This is a super fun way to explore the history, cultural influences and partnerships created by each Mayan city.

Check out our explanations and overviews of the Mayan Ruins that are within proximity to the Riviera Maya. Hop in a car and just go! We guarantee a great time, full of adventure and in many cases, you will feel like a pilgrim as you could be the only person visiting some of the smaller and more remote sites that day.

Fuerte de San Felipe – Fort in Bacalar

Fuerte de San Felipe, Bacalar

This is a fun place to visit with incredible views of Bacalar Lagoon. The museum within the Fort is a great place to learn more about the Caste War, pirates, the Maya and more. The overview provided at the museum that focuses on agricultural, economic and cultural history of the area is fantastic. Located just 3 hours from the Riviera Maya, this is a great day trip to the south.

What made you feel like a cultural pilgrim in the Riviera Maya? Do you have a favorite find that really made you feel like a traveler? Let us know as we are keen to hear other traveler’s stories and experiences!

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