If you’re looking for a dream family experience while in Yucatán you can’t go wrong with a weekend at Hacienda Sotuta de Peón. In my family, we often choose to give experiences over physical gifts and this, I assure you, would be an absolute winner of a gift-experience. This time, by the way, I didn’t just take a husband and some kids with me: I added two grandparents to the mix. It was an utter joy to watch the kids and their grandparents explore and make memories together surrounded by such history and natural beauty.
The Hacienda Tour
Hacienda Sotuta de Peón is rightly famous for its ‘living museum’ tour of the Henequén (sisal) factory, as well as the hacienda grounds and stately home. But is the tour of the only working Henequén hacienda in Yucatán fun for kids? Absolutely it is. My kids are not shy about telling me when they’re bored and not once on this three-hour tour did they hint at it or did they even misbehave. The guide was full of fascinating information and history, he was chatty and engaged the kids as well as the adults. He even got the kids involved in a demonstration of how to make Henequén rope and let them take away the one they made, much to their delight.
Everyone enjoyed seeing the complexity of Henequén production, and oh, did the kids want to touch all the big machines! After the tour of the nineteenth-century grand house, gardens, and Henequén factory, we climbed aboard a mule-drawn cart to take a trip through the agave field to a traditional Maya home and cenote Dzul-Ha for a much-needed swim.
For the adventure lovers, the chance to drive ATVs on the old dedicated Henequén paths through the agave fields and jungle around the hacienda will be an absolute win. The tour lasts three hours and includes a guide, ATVs for you to drive (two per car), three cenotes, and lunch, plus safety equipment, of course.
While the tour takes place on the hacienda land, it’s run by Xperience Mayan Expedition. We took this tour last summer with our kids and overseas guests, and, when we returned to the hacienda for our most recent experience, my kids begged to get back on the ATVs. Even though they’re too small to drive they loved the chance to do something a little wild and exciting. The guides speak English and Spanish and are very knowledgeable.
Sadly, we did not have time to check out all the activities available at Hacienda Sotuta de Peón and even missed out on the spa. You may wonder why we were so dim as to forgo a traditional Maya massage; I’m wondering too, quite frankly. Seems like a rookie error now that I think about it. There is a Temazcal on site where visitors can relax in the traditional pre-Hispanic sweat-house. I love a good Temazcal; it really is one of the most rejuvenating experiences. It isn’t one for smaller kids though, given that it’s very similar to a sauna. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I find it so relaxing.
Next time we head over to Sotuta de Peón we’ll be sure to take an hour to ride horses (my daughter’s favorite activity). We didn’t have time on this trip but we did see very happy groups of people riding some very healthy-looking horses. We were specifically told, by the way, that the donkeys pulling the carts work only once a week, so I think it’s fair to assume all the animals on this hacienda are well cared for.
There are thirty gorgeous cabins available; what really struck the adults in our party was how peaceful the grounds and hotel are. The kids, of course, were super excited to have so much space and freedom to run and explore. There are train tracks to follow, animals to greet, the biggest pool the kids will have seen, there’s a palapa with table tennis and foosball tables, and, of course, trees to climb and even giant bits of train to clamber across.
Although everything is beautiful, there is no pretension here, which is what we really loved. The staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming, there’s nothing kids can break or destroy in the rooms and even the restaurant is low-key while still serving absolutely delicious meals. While the menu is always small, it is a very good example of high-quality Yucatecan traditional food. My kids are obsessed with their Cochinita Pibil and Sopa de Lima. Adults, be sure to ask for the special Sotuta de Peón margarita. You won’t regret it.
Tour details: Tours depart at 10 am and 1 pm (English, Spanish, and French), booking required.
Tour + Antojitos: $815 pesos (adults) and $475 pesos (children)
Tour + full meal: $1,050 pesos (adults) and $545 (children)
Horseback riding: $375 pesos (1 hr) or $275 pesos (30 minutes)
Temazcal: $450 pesos
Temazcal plus therapy: $700 pesos
Massage: $230 pesos – $1,000 pesos (discounts for guests)
ATV tour: $1,700 pesos per person
Double room: $6,750 per night including supper and breakfast. $5,750 B&B
Day pass (including room, meals for two and 15% discount on drinks, restaurant, and experiences): $1,950 pesos (two adults, kids under 17 go free)
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger, born in the UK. Cassie has a BA from Oxford University and an MA from SOAS, University of London. She lives in Mérida and loves exploring Yucatán with her family.
Photography by Cassie Pearse for its use in Yucatán Today.
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