Exploring with kids doesn’t have to be only about getting dirty, arguing about TV access and stopping siblings from fighting. Sometimes you can do all of these things but still be in the lap of luxury. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

 

First, A Little Luxury

Recently, I was fortunate enough to experience this whole “parenting from luxury” thing when we spent a weekend at Hotel Hacienda Ticum, just an hour outside of Mérida and well situated not far from the archaeological site of Aké. Hotel Hacienda Ticum is casually elegant…or is it elegantly casual? I’m not sure, maybe it’s both but I do know we definitely enjoyed being able to explore a Mayan archaeological site and then return to a super smart hacienda hotel!

 

 

We basically lost the kids upon arrival at the hacienda: they were too excited by the expanse of beautiful lawn, the swings they spied in the distance and three swimming pools, to bother waiting around for their boring old parents. And that kind of set the tone for our stay. The kids could run and play without annoying anyone else and we could ummm, sit and drink margaritas. Everyone was happy, that’s for sure.

 

…Then, off to explore Aké!

Obviously, that’s not exactly how our weekend went but it totally could, if that’s what you wanted it to be. You could order massages, sun yourself by the pool, and really relax while the kids play, or, you could drive 15 minutes down the road to the generally deserted Aké archaeological site in the village of Aké, which is obviously what we did. We aren’t very good at sitting still for long.

 

This Maya site may be small but it was actually geographically very important in its heyday, situated as it is between Mérida and Izamal (in fact, there was a sac bé all the way to Izamal from Aké). It is easy to spend an hour or so clambering up the monumental steps, exploring all around, and watching the birds of prey swoop around you. Get the kids to count the steps and then count the columns too – what do they find? While you’re up on top of the buildings, look around and see if you can figure out where the un-excavated sites lie.

 

If you’re visiting on a weekday, don’t forget to enquire about a tour of the henequén factory next door to Aké and admire the old English machinery in the disused and open section of the factory. We had an absolute blast exploring the disused sections and even following the small train track as far as it went. Small kids will feel like explorers here, just don’t forget the water and snacks or they’ll be dehydrated explorers!

 

Once you’re done here, it’s time to head back to the hacienda for a relaxing swim…if there is such as thing as a relaxing time in the pool with kids!

 

Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse for use in Yucatán Today

 

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