The following 3 haciendas are all within a few miles of each other. Drive south from Mérida towards Uman. Follow the signs to Muna on Highway 261. After 35 minutes, at the 187 Kilometer marker, you’ll come to a little town near Hacienda Yaxcopoil (YASH-coh-poh-EEL), which is Maya for “the place of the green Alamo trees.” You can recognize the hacienda by its beautiful arch, painted in a deep mostaza color. Park outside and walk through the arch, allowing your imagination to take you back hundreds of years.
Is a hacienda where time stands still. Rather than renovating the buildings, the owner has simply arrested the decay. You’ll pay a small entrance fee of 50 pesos per person to roam freely through the rooms in the casa principal. There you will see the large lounges and drawing rooms with high ceilings, walls with painted stencils, original mosaico floor tiles, and European furniture in every room.
Don’t miss the Mayan museum, with its display of ancient pottery and archaeological relics found on the grounds. There is an impressive casa de máquinas here also, with examples of the machinery used to process henequen. Hacienda Yaxcopoil is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, or from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sundays. Website: www.yaxcopoil.com
Hacienda Temozon Sur
By now you might be getting hungry, so continue south on Highway 261. At the 182 Kilometer marker, you’ll see the left turn signs towards Hacienda Temozon Sur. Follow the signs to the parking lot. Leaving your car, you’ll smell the sweet air and hear the birds of Temozon, the most palatial of the restored haciendas. The entrance leads up stairways, past the unique dolphin-head waterspouts, to the grand terrace. This hacienda, renovated by Mérida resident architect Salvador Reyes-Rios for Roberto Hernandez of Banamex, was chosen for a summit meeting between President Bill Clinton and Presidente Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico in 1999, and again for President George W. Bush and Presidente Felipe Calderón in 2007. If you’re hungry, you can enjoy a delicious gourmet meal for a reasonable price.
The service is impeccable, the food outstanding, and the occasional peacock adds to the peaceful and exotic setting. If you plan to spend the night here, be prepared for a luxurious experience at a luxurious price. But you don’t have to spend the night to enjoy Temozon. (Note: Some visitors have been turned away in the past with no logical explanation. This hacienda is an exclusive hotel and is occasionally rented to guests who want total privacy. If you can’t eat here, enjoy the view and proceed on to Hacienda Ochil). www.thehaciendas.com
Return to Highway 261 and continue south. After Kilometer 176, look for the signs to Hacienda Ochil (oh-CHEEL) on your right. Hacienda Ochil is every bit as historically interesting as Yaxcopoil, but with the added pleasure of several artisan workshops, a gift shop, and a small hacienda museum.
Here you can watch master craftsmen teach younger artisans to work in leather, stone, metal, wood and henequen. Although most of the products are commissioned, you can purchase some of their work in the gift shop. If you’re looking for a genuine henequen or a nice cotton hammaca, you can find them here at a reasonable price.
Ochil is a charming and intimate hacienda that houses an informal restaurant, a gift shop, the artisan workshops, and a museum. The museum has many interesting photographs that trace the history and restoration of Ochil, as well as examples of products and artifacts from when the haciendas were in full operation.
One of the pleasures of Ochil is simply strolling around the grounds, enjoying the lush gardens. If you walk behind the restaurant and down the path, you will be pleasantly surprised by a half-hidden cenote. Depending on the water level, you may be able to walk inside under a ledge and see ancient Mayan handprints painted on the cave walls. If you don’t have time to spend a whole day exploring the haciendas, there are haciendas closer to town. www.haciendaochil.com
On the north outskirts of Mérida, heading toward Progreso:
Many Mérida residents consider restaurant Casa de Piedra at Hacienda Xcanatún as one of the “must’s” to show their visitors. But…there is more to Hacienda Xcanatún than dining. The owners Jorge and Tina bought the hacienda in 1993, and began a renovation in 1994 which would take them six years to complete. It was a complete ruin. But, even though they purchased the “diamond in the rough” before others started buying and restoring haciendas in Yucatán, they saw the potential, and realized that the location at the north end of Mérida was perfect, not too far to drive for an evening out, and with easy access to the coast. Click here for a look at the history and the services of this very special Yucatecan icon. In addition to award-winning dining, it boasts a luxurious spa and 18 distinctive suites. www.xcanatun.com
Heading east towards Cancun you will find the following haciendas:
You can take a quick drive on Highway 180 out of Mérida toward Cancún. Take the left turn towards Hacienda Teya (tay-yah). Teya has been renovated with a modern restaurant, large enough to accommodate tour buses and events such as weddings. They have conference rooms, a gift shop, a chapel, and many beautiful suites, but the mirrored ballroom with reflecting pool will really impress. www.haciendateya.com
Hacienda San Jose
San Jose Cholul is a smaller more private hacienda located south east of Merida. The 15 rooms and suites are conditioned with exquisite details and locates around the main 18th century building, surrounded by beautiful gardens. We invite you to evoke the splendor of past eras, eveloped in the luxurious amenities and services expected of a five-star hotel. Learn about the history, our role in the social context of this ever evolving land, the rich juxtaposition of the ancient and modern cultures. Delight in the flavors of our cuisine, the architectural heritage of our rooms and the archeological zones, colonial villages and the natural reserves that surround us. A hacienda where you can enjoy the restaurant, spa and or stay over and enjoy the whole hotel experience. www.thehaciendas.com
By far, the most unique boutique green hotel found among the haciendas in Yucatán. This colonial hacienda is a serene elegant hotel and Mayan Spa retreat, located just steps from the Chichén Itzá in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. This eco-friendly hotel is the most romantic Yucatán Wedding Destination and Top Wellness Eco-Spa; a comfortable 90 minute drive from Mérida or Cancun Airport; rent a car, it is a safe and fun way to enjoy your eco-cultural vacation! Come and enjoy a two or three day stay! At Hacienda Chichen Resort and Yaxkin Spa, visitors and guests are pampered with utmost care, hospitality and friendliness. The hotel’s staff is 99% Mayan natives from nearby villages; all trained in-house and given the opportunity to learn and grow while they acquire new skills. www.haciendachichen.com
– Yucatan Peninsula Map