Just three miles north of Tizimín sits the tiny community of Kikil, with a population of just under 200.
Though the town is very small, it makes for a worthwhile stop on the way to El Cuyo, the ruins of Kulubá, or Las Coloradas.
But for such a tiny place, Kikil sure has a lot to offer, including exuberant wildlife, a cenote, and the ruins of an impressive 16th-century convent built by the Franciscan order.
The former convent of San Francisco was founded back in 1576, and its massive church dedicated to San Roman soon followed in 1584.
The convent and church remained in use until the mid-19th century, when the Caste War (1847–1901) saw it destroyed and occupied by native Maya people.
The Caste War was a revolt of the native Maya of the Yucatán Peninsula against the dominant socio-political class made up of Europeans.
The convent complex has been out of use for close to two centuries now but remains extremely impressive, even though its ceiling collapsed long ago.
The impressive ruins of the church of San Roman feature a large nave measuring 37 feet wide, while the ruins are 85 feet tall and 150 feet deep.
By the time the Europeans arrived at Kikil, the area was controlled by a Maya chiefdom known as the Tases, who, after considerable resistance, were forcibly converted to Catholicism.
Aside from the church and convent, Kikil is also known for its open-air cenote, which is open to tourists and offers amenities such as showers, life jackets, a gift shop, and a restaurant.
The cenote is quite pleasant and has come a long way since I first visited roughly 15 years ago when it was full of garbage.
Kikil is also known to be the hometown of the renowned Caste War historian Apolinar García y García, who was only 10 when violence broke out and was orphaned by the time he was 12. Much of what is known about the area during the 19th century survives thanks to his extensive writings.
If you go
There are no hotels in Kikil itself, though it’s possible to spend the night in nearby Tizimín if you want to get an early start and enjoy some great birding.
The restaurant at the cenote is quite good and one of your few options if you do not pack your own lunch, but it’s always possible to find taco or torta stands lining the town’s main road.