Yucatán Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

The Life of a Baron in the Hacienda Temozón

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The gate of the Hacienda Temozón functions like a time machine, transporting you to an age when the Yucatán was among the richest areas in the Western Hemisphere. The henequen boom was a period of unimaginable wealth for the Yucatán… if, of course, you were among the lucky few who owned land.

Hacienda Temozón

I’ve always wondered how the ruling elite of grossly unequal societies can justify the abject misery suffered by the common people. I mean, how do they reconcile it, within their private souls? The landowners of the henequen-era Yucatán were no dummies; they were aware that their grand mansions and dainty luxuries were bought and paid for on the broken backs of an oppressed people. How could they sleep at night knowing that?

Most likely, they slept very well indeed… we started to understand that at the Hotel Temomzón, where we lived like barons for one glorious day. In the evening, as the sun was settling down, I stretched out on a hammock overlooking the hacienda’s garden with a tamarind margarita. At that moment, if someone had approached me with the choice to return to the 1800s as either [1] a spirited revolutionary fighting for social justice, or [2] a filthy rich landowner grown fat off the labor of others, there can be little doubt which box I’d have ticked.

The main hacienda building has floors with original tiling, photos of famous guests like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, a billiards hall and a restaurant on the patio. Behind the mansion is a beautiful pool and an old factory, with ancient machinery still in place. We loved walking through these equipment rooms, especially as they’re covered in old-time photos of life during the boom years.

Our room was in the former carpentry building, and I don’t even like thinking about it. It’s depressing that I’ll never be staying there again. The bathroom alone was a thing of perfection. The room was cavernous in size, and had an incredibly powerful shower that immediately turned on at exactly the right temperature. Sigh. Don’t ask me to describe the bedroom… the memory may reduce me to tears.

Hacienda Temozón

We woke early enough for a morning trip to the hacienda’s cenote. Three kilometers away, it’s reached along old railway tracks previously used to transport henequen. Climbing aboard a creaky wagon hitched to a donkey named Paco, we arrived at the pool after a bumpy and fun ride through the jungle. A deep hole with a ladder reaching down about six meters to the water, this was the first cenote we bathed in, and it couldn’t have been more beautiful.

Our day at Hacienda Temozón was everything we had hoped it would be. It’s a luxury hotel, so you can’t expect to book a room on the cheap. But you can expect a relaxing stay in a lovely and historic setting, hearkening back to another age.

Link: Hacienda Temozón

Location on our Map

Download Our Travel Books From Amazon

Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
Hacienda Temozón
, , , , , , , ,
January 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm Comments (0)

Río Secreto

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

A vast system of underground rivers flows through the limestone earth of the Yucatán Peninsula, with the largest found just south of Playa del Carmen. The Río Secreto allows visitors an exhilarating chance to walk, wade, and float through an extensive network of subterranean chambers.

Río Secreto is one of a number of attractions along the Riviera Maya promoting themselves as family-friendly theme parks. Despite rave reviews, we almost avoided it for this very reason. (A special adventure for the whole family in the Secret River? What are we, twelve?) But once we put away the glossy brochures and got past the front gates, the park revealed itself to be much more serious and interesting than expected.

After a bumpy bus ride to the site, we put on wet suits and helmets, and followed our guide into the woods. Soon, we had arrived at a gateway to the underworld. Illuminated perfectly by light filtering in from above, we entered into a mesmerizing cave full of stalactites whose reflections shone off the still blue water covering the ground. Although it has long been known to locals, Río Secreto was only discovered by the world at large in 2007, and was almost immediately made into a national park, which helps explain the immaculate condition of the caves.

For 90 minutes, we followed the river into vast chambers and underneath delicate, chandelier-like stalactite formations. Sometimes we’d wade, sometimes float, and occasionally the darkness was complete. Our guide once had us turn off our helmet lamps in order to experience being alone in pure, pitch blackness. But more often, there would be light shining through. The Maya considered these caves to be sacred, and it’s not hard to understand why. Their beauty is absolutely sublime, and their size is difficult to comprehend. Although our tour lasted 90 minutes, we saw only around 3% of the entire system.

At $69 USD per person ($99 if you need transport), Río Secreto isn’t among the cheapest entertainment options in the Yucatán, and I’m sure the high cost turns a lot of people off. Even more frustrating, a professional photographer who follows you into the cave will take some truly excellent pictures, but the CD costs another $99 USD (with the option to buy individual pictures at $25 a pop). Shameful. Still, we can’t recommend a trip to Río Secreto enough. We’ve visited a lot of the Earth’s special hidden corners, but this was among the most unforgettable.

Location on our Yucatán Map

Download our Travel Books Here

, , , , , , , , ,
December 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm Comments (7)

Dzibilchaltún – The City of Writing on the Rocks

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The longest continuously-inhabited Maya city on the peninsula, the site of Dzibilchaltún is found just a few minutes outside of Mérida. The Maya occupied this spot from roughly 500 BC to AD 1500, and left behind ruins which, though badly eroded, are a wonder to behold.

Dzibilchaltún
An eroded stele, and the Temple of Seven Dolls in the background

Dzibilchaltún means “City of Writing on the Rocks”, and was the name bestowed by the Spanish in 1689. Only recently did archaeologists uncover the original name of the city, Ch’iy Chan Ti’Ho, but the Spaniards picked a suitable replacement; although today the detail has been lost from most of the ruins, this was indeed a place in which the Maya did a lot of writing on rocks. A couple of the more important stele, or hieroglyph-inscribed columns, have been preserved in the onsite museum.

Having just visited the Casa Catherwood, we were in high spirits for our visit to Dzibilchaltún. The ruins are fascinating, particularly the Templo de Siete Muñecas. Found at the end of the town’s main sacbé, or road, this temple is named for seven small clay dolls which were buried inside, presumably as an offering. The building was probably built as an observatory; it’s aligned so that, during the spring equinox, the sun will appear to rise through its doors.

Not far from the temple, we found the ruins of an entire city, including remnants of houses and even a pyramid which we were able to ascend for a view over the forest canopy. You can hire a guide to introduce the various features of the city; we passed on this, but were second-guessing our decision throughout the day. There isn’t a lot of explanation on the ground and it would have been nice to have an expert on-hand to point out the different facets of the ruins.

Dzibilchaltún Cenote

One area for which we needed no explanation was the Xlacah Cenote. Hundreds of cenotes pockmark the Yucatán Peninsula, but this was the first we had seen. These pools are the result of sunken caverns or sinkholes in the limestone terrain, which have filled with fresh water from underground cisterns. They’re popular places for swimming, and were historically used as a clean water source.

Apart from the ruins and the cenote, Dzibilchaltún has an excellent museum preserving some of the relics found here, such as the seven clay dolls from the temple. We spent almost as much time in the museum as out among the ruins. Less than twenty kilometers from the city center, Dzibilchaltún makes for an easy day trip from Mérida.

Location on our Yucatán Map

Read About The Maya

Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún Cenote
Dzibilchaltún Cenote
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
Dzibilchaltún
, , , , ,
November 27, 2013 at 12:06 am Comments (2)
The Life of a Baron in the Hacienda Temozn The gate of the Hacienda Temozón functions like a time machine, transporting you to an age when the Yucatán was among the richest areas in the Western Hemisphere. The henequen boom was a period of unimaginable wealth for the Yucatán... if, of course, you were among the lucky few who owned land.
For 91 Days