One facet of Yucatán exploration that my family only recently discovered is the famous Yucatecan hacienda. Somehow it just hadn’t occurred to us that these magnificent old buildings with their extensive grounds, smart restaurants, and boutique hotels had anything to offer us, or that they would even want us around.
WE WERE WRONG.
Haciendas are absolutely somewhere you can take your family, in fact I highly recommend you do because my kids are now as addicted to hacienda day passes as they are to Yucatán’s beaches, cenotes, and parks. They’ve tasted the good life and they can never un-know what’s behind those high walls.
Every hacienda has its own personality and will offer your family a different experience. Generally, there will be somewhere to swim, eat, and relax, and maybe even a cenote to explore, too. My absolute favorite thing about the haciendas we’ve visited has to be the sheer magnificence of the vegetation. If you’re craving lush greenery with oodles of grass to run and play in, then a hacienda could well be the perfect answer for you. For the kids there is such a sense of freedom in a hacienda.
It is just over an hour from the center of Mérida. It is the wildest and least ‘tamed’ of the haciendas we visited. Not only is there a small cenote on site (life jackets are provided but you may wish to take your own in case others have borrowed them), there are also two swimming pools, a bouncy-slide, a trampoline, and a small assault-course. While the kids play, the adults can lie in a hammock and enjoy the peace and quiet.
If you are so inclined, there is a daily short tour of the grounds (in Spanish), bikes to borrow, and small farm animals to be noticed. I enjoyed the tour very much. Without it, I wouldn’t have known that the hacienda makes a real effort toward sustainable cooking. They grow their own herbs, tomatoes, chiles, and even chickens (and I’m sure so much more too). I also learned about the history of the hacienda.
Hacienda Santa Cruz is thirty minutes from Mérida, and entering the grounds is truly like entering another world. Everything is so green and lush. There are two pools on site as well as a large cenote and bikes for visitor use. The restaurant is wonderful and staff will go out of their way to help find something for your kids to enjoy. When we visited we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was incredible. The kids couldn’t have been more excited by the pool and the cenote (no life jackets). They also loved exploring the grounds and running through the perfect grass. We loved lying in the hammocks while they ran around!
Day pass options:
$400 pesos per person: access to installations, bikes, one drink, 15% discount on local drinks
$750 pesos per person: add a main course
$950 pesos per person: includes a deluxe room for the day and 10% discount on local drinks
Children under six are free, 7 – 11 pay half
12 pm – 6 pm
An hour from Mérida, deep in the countryside. With three swimming pools, plenty of space to run, and even some tree swings, the kids will have a blast hanging out here for the day while adults relax on a sun lounger. The restaurant has a billiard table and chess board, which our kids loved. Another benefit to this hacienda is its proximity to the important (but rarely visited) archaeological site of Aké, which is well worth checking out when you’re in the area.
Hotel Hacienda Ticum
Entrance $200 pesos adults, $100 pesos for children
10 am – 5 pm
Km 1.5 Carretera Ekmul-Ruinas de Aké, Tixkokob
Thisis the perfect option if you’re looking for somewhere green and relaxing within the city. While this may not immediately strike you as the most child friendly space (the overwhelming atmosphere is of laid back elegance), I can assure you that not for one second did we feel out of place or unwelcome with our noisy and boisterous children. With two swimming pools, a games area, and a gym and spa, relaxation is highly encouraged. The waiters were really lovely and helped ensure we ordered the right things for the children. The kids were thrilled by the lush green grass for them to roll around
Day pass options:
Basic: $1,950 pesos for two people: includes a superior room, a meal for two people, 10% discount on drinks, use of all the installations
Premium: $2,930 pesos for two people: includes a deluxe room (with private dipping pool), meal for two people, 10% discount on drinks, 60-minute massage for each adult
Two children under 17 can be admitted for free with either day pass
10 am – 6 pm
Calle 19 #172, Misné, near Periférico salida to Cancún
It is a different type of hacienda altogether. Here, the focus is less about all day luxury and relaxation and more about exploring the history of the hacienda with a short introductory tour (Spanish or English) followed by a tour through two cenotes. The swimming pool is huge but shallow enough that even small kids will be happy paddling around. Exploration and cute kid photo opportunities abound.
There is an on-site restaurant that serves good, traditional Yucatecan food. I recommend booking an early tour to get a small group. I also recommend taking either a waterproof camera or a phone with waterproof cover.
Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyché
Adults $400 pesos, kids (6 -12) $200 pesos
Tue. – Sun. 9 am – 4 pm (last tour at 2 pm)
Reserve via Whatsapp: 9995 47 60 87
Mucuyché, Abalá, Yucatán
FB: Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyché
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse for use in Yucatán Today
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