La Tropical is a contemporary lush retreat hidden behind one of the many colonial facades of historic Merida.
What is so captivating about Yucatán is all it has to offer — this kind of architecture, the jungle, Mayan ruins, beaches, and plenty of amazing places to explore.
This property offers easy COVID-19 cancellation terms:
In case of official travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, guests can cancel and receive a credit, less a $200 administrative fee, for the amount paid to be used within a calendar year on a mutually agreed upon date.
Great place to discover Yucatán, its jungles, Mayan ruins, and beaches away from the tourist crowds.
Mayan sites (Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, X-Lapak, Labna) are within easy driving distance.
Visit the cenotes – thousands of miles of underground rivers with sinkholes filled up with crystal-blue water.
Casa Sisal won an architects prize in the residential category.
How would you describe Casa Sisal in a nutshell?
Casa Sisal is a modern vacation villa rental that serves as a great gathering place offering a sensory experience in Mexico’s Yucatán region. The vacation homes’s setting is very private with lots of nature surrounding it.
What was the inspiration to build Casa Sisal?
Casa Sisal was added onto our first part of the property which is Hacienda Sac Chich basically for one reason, the arch. Walking from the Hacienda property to Casa Sisal you walk through this really beautiful arch. For a long time we’d sit here, looking at the arch, thinking of how much we’d love to own it someday. Therefore, once the opportunity arose to acquire that other property, we bought it right away.
Our idea of Casa Sisal was essentially a traditional Mayan hut, but modernized. The architect who we brought on board for Casa Sisal works with traditional haciendas and is known for the modernization of many of the hotels and residences in the area. Since we love modern architecture, over time the idea for Casa Sisal sort of developed from a Mayan hut to what you can see today.
Where is your interest for architecture coming from?
Cindy has an art degree and for some years also was a homemaker in California. I have a degree in engineering and have worked in the construction industry all my career. But both of us have always had a keen interest in architecture and most of our vacation trips were architecturally oriented. It helps surrounding ourself with many of our friends who are creative people like designers and architects.
We’ve also had some non-traditional abodes, like living on a boat for a couple of years in Boston Harbor and living in a yuppie teepee in California where we’d spend our weekends.
What else would you recommend to see in this part of Yucatán?
For guests interested into architecture, I would recommend keeping a lookout for chimneys, often the hacienda’s they are attached to, are in a poor condition. It’s interesting to see the scale of them and how some still have the machinery in them. It’s amazing to think about how these were built in the jungle, without roads, just connected by some narrow trains. There are working haciendas only 30 mins away from us, which you can tour as well.
There are two cities that are also just about 30 mins from Casa Sisal. The capital Merida has a historical downtown with the oldest cathedral of North America and nine big Mayan ruins nearby. Izamal is known as the golden city and has a large Franciscan convent that was built on top of a Mayan ruin, sitting up above the town. There is also a delicious Mayan restaurant, which we can highly recommend.
Tulum is our preferred beach coast city. It is very charming with nice beaches and a couple of Mayan ruins. It’s on the east coast of the peninsula and about three hours away from the hacienda.
What’s been the biggest reward renting out Casa Sisal and Hacienda Sac Chich?
The biggest reward of owning Hacienda Sac Chich and Casa Sisal so far has been meeting all these interesting people from all over the world. It is so nice to be able to share such a beautiful and luxurious place, especially for occasions such as weddings and other big events.
Twenty years ago we never would have guessed we’d be in the middle of the jungle, and yet it has turned out to be the best thing our family has ever done. It truly has fulfilled our fantasy of owning an old architectural structure and turning it into a vacation rental like this.
For me the amazing part is how interesting and enjoyable it has been to be out here in the middle of nowhere and just see rural Mexican living up close and personal and find it as interesting with all the rodeos and celebrations and the lovely people.
What’s the feedback you get from your vacation guests?
Oftentimes guests are pleasantly surprised. They often say Hacienda Sac Chich and Casa Sisal are even more beautiful than the photographs, which is true; you really can’t capture the immensity of the architecture, the openness, and its natural sounds with a camera.
Some of our guests are very unsure of traveling around Mexico. They have pre-conceived ideas of the (lack of) safety in places such as Cancún. It surprises them when they realize that Yucatán is the safest state in all of Mexico. Also, the people’s authenticity and the beauty of this place make them feel welcome right away.
Casa Sisal is the modern house adjacent to the old Hacienda Sac Chich, which is a luxury vacation home as well. In 2012 it won a design contest in the residential category for Mexico and first place internationally.
There is a kitchen, a dining room and sunken living room. Its glass doors slide back into the wall so lots of air can come through. The master bedroom has a king-sized bed and an en-suite bathroom with a shower, while the guest room has two queens and a bathroom.
There is also a swimming pool in the backyard of Casa Sisal and the yard surrounding Casa Sisal, almost two acres in size, used to be where plant fibers were dried, formerly referred to as green gold. The lawn is really beautiful when full of fireflies at dusk.
Casa Sisal and Hacienda Sac Chich are also available to rent together, they can sleep up to 19 people.
For food, there are several options available. The kitchen is fully equipped and guests are welcome to cook for themselves. Our staff can provide Yucatec-style family meals for an additional cost. This needs to be pre-arranged. We can also help organize a chef from the city should you wish for a more elevated, multi-course experience.
Our managers live on-site and can help organize transportation, tours, massages, cooking lessons, etc.
The cenotes are fun to explore. There are thousands of miles of underground rivers with the sinkholes filled up with crystal-blue water and you can swim in many of them. Some have been developed for tourists, and they’re becoming a bigger draw now.
As for beaches, Mexico’s Gulf Coast is about 40 mins away, with shallow waters. Many locals have beach houses up there, so that it is much less touristy.
Celestún is another place worth visiting. It’s about 1.5 hours away with a reserve for flamingos that also offers boat tours through the mangroves. In fact, there are quite a few natural reserves on the peninsular. And there is also Progresso, another place our guests like for seafood lunches and the beach.
The Mayan ruins are always worth a visit! Chichen Itza is the most famous one only just over one hour away, and is quite spectacular as one of the new wonders of the world. But with all the tour buses going there, it is always crowded and people aren’t allowed to climb up the ruins anymore. Therefore I recommend going to Uxmal, which is just as amazing but much less crowded.
There’s another small Mayan ruin about 20 mins from us called Mayapán. It is an interesting site with only 3% restored and they say that it is as big as Chichen Itza. You’ll probably be the only people visiting it and you can climb on it.
Casa Sisal is located in the Yucatán region in Mexico, 30 mins to the city of Merida and only three hours from Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
It is very easy to get to the hacienda, as it is just a 10 minute ride off the major road crossing the peninsular. The surrounding villages are essentially the way they’ve been for the last century. What guests can experience here is an authentic, non-commercialized environment.
What is so captivating about the Yucatán is the availability of this kind of architecture at a reasonable price versus other Mexican cities that we liked that were much more popular. The Yucatán is quite diversified with jungles, Mayan ruins, beaches, and plenty of things to explore. The house is the perfect base to discover all these places. Many of our guests have plans for every day to discover the area but after coming here they all change tune and end up hanging out at the house enjoying the ambiance, the pool, the lush gardens etc.
Fall, winter and spring are cooler but summers allow for late night swimming in the pool
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