Today I revisited Santa Elena, a town that lies in Yucatan’s Puuc Valley. Home to approximately 5,000 citizens of mostly Maya heritage, it is located between the archaeological sites of Uxmal and Kabah. All the infrastructure to support tourism is to be found: inns, restaurants, shops, hiking and birding trails, phone and internet service – all the amenities of home in a delightful setting. Just 90 kilometers south of Merida, it makes a fine destination for a day trip. I certainly recommend “The Pickled Onion” as a great place for lunch. If you can, stay over in one of the small casitas. You’ll fall asleep to the sound of the crickets and wake to birdsong.
Although I have visited Santa Elena many, many times, today – for the first time, I found the church doors open.
Built by the Franciscan order in 1779, the imposing colonial church looks as though it is sitting on top of a hill, but actually the elevated platform once formed the foundation of a Maya ceremonial building.
The stones from the earlier structure were used to build the Catholic place of worship