Though Uayma is still in many ways a quintessential quiet Yucatecan town, the last decade or so has brought a new flair by way of some truly fascinating architectural projects.
Uayma is a small town of about 3,000 people located 15 kilometers, or around nine miles, west of Valladolid. The town is well known for its beautifully adorned 17th-century church but it is by no means a spot frequented by many tourists.
Before the arrival of the Spanish to the Yucatánin in the 16th century, a large section of the eastern Peninsula encompassing Uayma, Valladolid, and beyond was under the control of a Maya chiefdom known as the Cupules.
Almost always when the topic of Uayma comes up it is because of its beautiful church and former convent of Santo Domingo de Guzmán. The church is often considered one of the most striking in all of Yucatán for its colorful kaleidoscope-like facade and unique decorative features.
Though the convent section of the colonial era complex no longer functions as such, it is still in use and kept up fairly well.
The church was built originally by the Spaniards to enforce their culture in Uayma, which was at the time an important Mayan center. As is common in Yucatán, stones from nearby Mayan temples were used in the construction.
The church was set ablaze during the caste war of the 19th century but was restored in the 20th. Given its vibrant style, the complex has in recent years begun to draw tourists and couples looking for memorable wedding photos.
But Uayma’s Santo Domingo de Guzmán church is not the only architecturally interesting feature to be found in Uayma. A handful of out-of-town investors, mostly from Valladolid, have opted to replicate elements of the famous church, bringing, even more, color and dynamism to the tiny community.
Casa de Los Pianos sits just across from Uyamas famous church and incorporates many of its architectural elements into its own design.
Another notable property, Casona Santo Domingo de Guzmán, goes even further in the emulation of the church of the same name. This bright blue home is accented with 17th-century religious motifs and even replicas of the double-headed Hapsburg eagle.
Of course, not every home in Uayma is as grand. Many traditional Mayan houses can still be found in the sleepy community, along with more contemporary constructions.
If you are looking for action or a party atmosphere, you will likely be better served by visiting the nearby city of Valladolid and its famous Calzada de Los Frailes, but for relaxation, you would be hard-pressed to find a better place than Uayma.
Driving around Uayma, notice the ruins of what must have once been grand estates, many of which are for sale. Some properties are so damaged, however, that you may be better off starting again from scratch.