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Hacienda San Francisco De Tzacalha: another wonder of Yucatan.
I loved this property from the very moment I stepped into it. This hacienda is an individually-owned, huge estate, in the town of San Francisco, in northeast Yucatan, and is another beautiful example of how the past can be brought to life.
The original hacienda actually encompassed what is now the town of San Francisco, until the land was expropriated by the Mexican government, and given back to the peasants. After 23 years of decline and ransacking, it was acquired by the Ruz Sosa family, who started the process of refurbishment and conservation, and have done a great job indeed.
Without the pretentiousness and opulence of the Starwood Hacienda collection properties, and probably less advertised, I believe it offers its own luxury experience, in a beautiful, fortunate setting. Like all haciendas, this property experienced its grandeur during the henequen period, and the new owner has conserved the original design and layout wherever possible, while beautifully refurbishing and re-adapting it for hotel use.
What I particularly liked , besides the entire layout, were the details in the decorations, like the original tiles, for example, which have been polished and used as floor, combining the simplicity of the furniture and high-quality cotton linen with an authentic feeling in the rooms and suites.
By way of accommodation you have a choice between ripios, junior suites and suites. I stayed in the first kind, the Ripio, named after the original houses, a cute, spacious suite, which is located on the far side of the hacienda, immersed in the vegetation. I enjoyed staying there. You have your own privacy and lots of space, and if you have time to actually stay there during the day, you have your own hammock inside the living room where you can relax. Surrounded by vegetation, you wake up to the sound of birds and little creatures living in the surroundings. I loved it.
You will also be equipped with lovely bicycles to ride around the property which come very handy, being the entire compound quite extended.
The suites have a more elegant touch and are located around the main facilities. They also have a small private pool, a patio and air conditioning.
The gardens are huge and immaculate, with secular trees and flowers, a swimming pool, and a games room in the centre of the property, where you can hangout and mingle with the other guests. You really feel out of this world, as if you have gone back in time.
You can spend a day exploring the hacienda, feeding the horses, patting the deer, checking out the museum and going to the ‘’mirador’’ to watch the sunset. Just cover up and wear a lot of mosquito spray.
The hacienda conserves the main structure where they used to process the henequen leaves; a majestic sight, right in the centre of the garden, which is, without a doubt, the signature piece of the hacienda. The restaurant, which offers delicious local specialities and a rich breakfast, has a seating area in a beautifully decorated courtyard, which is another thoughtful detail in harmony with the essence of the historical place.
PLACES TO VISIT IN THE SURROUNDINGS
The surrounding area is rich in things to see and do. The town itself has a beautiful church and is lovely to walk around, in and among Yucatecan friendliness.
Dzilam de Bravo, on the coast, is a 30-minute drive away. Here, you can arrange an on-the-spot tour on the lagoon, a beautiful 3 hour-ride in the mangroves.
Driving all along the ‘’Costa Esmeralda’’ from Dzilam de Bravo, is a smooth drive, among pink salt lakes and white sand beaches and… flamingos! It’s a short drive, but it could take you all afternoon if you stop off for lunch or to hang out on the beach.
Mayan site Xcambo’, an interesting little Mayan settlement, worth a stop.
Izamal, the yellow magic town which is a 30-minute drive away.
On the last day when I left the hacienda, I drove all the way to Hacienda Temozon, and found that road to also be full of precious sights and interesting stops.
It is really up to you and the kind of pace you like to travel at. I like to take it slow and enjoy every little thing. Let me know how your experience was. I am really curious to hear about it.
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