The most imposing structure in Izamal  is the mustard-colored Convento de San Antonio de Padua (Parque la Estrella, 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily). Completed in 1562 under the direction of Fray Diego de Landa, the convent was built upon what was once the immense Maya temple Pap-Hol-Chac. If you look closely, you’ll even see some Maya glyphs in the church walls themselves.
A 7,806-square-meter (25,610-square-foot) grassy atrium enclosed by 75 arches sits at the front of this beautiful complex. It’s the largest open-air atrium in the Americas and, many say, the second-largest in the world (the largest is at Saint Peter’s in the Vatican).
There’s a mildly interesting sound and light show at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
The Convento de San Antonio de Padua has two small religious museums (10 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., US$0.50 each). One commemorates Pope John Paul II’s 1993 visit to the convent; it’s not terribly interesting—lots of photos and random facts—but an easy stop on your way to the second museum created in honor of Nuestra Señora de Izamal. Considered the Patroness of the Yucatán, this statue of the Virgin Mary has supposedly performed several miracles. Religious followers from around the Yucatán often make pilgrimages to see her; you may see some of them climbing the steps of the convent on their knees.