La Tropical is a contemporary lush retreat hidden behind one of the many colonial facades of historic Merida.
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.
Hacienda Sac Chich
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.
Stay at a truly authentic former hacienda in the middle of the jungle.
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.
How would you describe Hacienda Sac Chich in a nutshell?
Hacienda Sac Chich is a luxury vacation villa rental that serves as a great gathering place for families and groups of friends offering a sensory experience in Mexico’s Yucatán region. The villa rental’s setting is very private with lots of nature surrounding it.
Please tell us a bit about the history of Hacienda Sac Chich.
The haciendas were set up like plantations, with a business structure and a factory. Casa de Maquinas was actually the heart of the factory. The floor of the main outdoor living area was where the machinery was stationed and below it ran the trains bringing in material from the fields.
The lands had then been subdivided by a couple of prior owners and eventually it was bought by a couple 10 years before we acquired it. They converted the factory into a residence, put the roofs back onto the structures and restored Casa Antigua, which now houses the living room, dining room and kitchen next to the swimming pool. Since then we have kept working on it to restore it to its former glory. There are a few remnants of the former factory we kept, but not much was left.
The main house of the original complex, Casa de Principal, the former owner’s residence, is on our neighbor’s property.
What was your inspiration to buy the hacienda, restore it and rent it out to vacation guests?
We’re both architecturally oriented and during past travels to Mexico had always very much enjoyed staying in the regions we were visiting. We deliberately came to the Yucatán to look at haciendas and experience staying at hacienda hotels. Ultimately we became more and more attached to the Yucatán culture, its area and the region in general.
For my 50th birthday we rented one of the big haciendas and sort of had a sense of ownership for the four days we were there. We looked at Hacienda Sac Chich while on that vacation and bought it within six months. It was one of the few haciendas that needed a lot of work but wasn’t a complete ruin so that we knew we could bring back at least part of its original glory and turn it into the luxurious vacation home it is now.
Basically, our desire to own a place and rent it out came from our love of Mexico and these haciendas.
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 lovely rural Mexicans living up close and personal as well as all the rodeos and celebrations.
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.
Hacienda Sac Chich is a complex of 3 limestone buildings: Casa Vieja, Casa Nueva and the Loggia.
Surrounded by palm-filled gardens Hacienda Sac Chich’s three 2000 square foot rectangular structures date back to 1850. Throughout the hacienda, there is evidence of its previous utilitarian life. Iron wheels and massive beams are remnants of its past. The original water tower is now transformed into a modern bathroom, the dramatic 85-foot chimney rises above the property.
Casa Vieja Casa Vieja houses the living room, a colonial kitchen, two full bathrooms, and two King bedrooms. One of the King bedrooms has stairs that lead to a loft that has an additional Single and Queen bed. All bedrooms have air conditioning.
Both bedrooms and the main bathroom of Casa Vieja have doors that open out to the pool and garden. Originally the water tank for the hacienda, the freshwater pool is now a shimmering refuge from the heat of the Yucatan. A steel and bamboo pergola and a playita of shallow water with a hammock suspended above provide areas for rest and shade.
The colonial kitchen has everything you need to cook (if you wish!) including a charcoal BBQ outside. The large and airy living room has a full stereo system with control of the speakers located throughout both houses as well as the outdoor spaces. You will also find plenty of games, books and even some instruments!
Casa Nueva Opposite Casa Antigua, is Casa Nueva. This building has a dramatic central hallway that is the entrance to three bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and soaring 26’ ceilings and 13’ high doors. The highlight of Casa Nueva, the Master King, has a sunken living area for relaxing, a private walled garden with a settee and plunge pool. Casa Nueva is fully air conditioned.
The Loggia Between Casa Vieja and Casa Nueva is the open-air living room and dining pavilion, the Loggia. It is surrounded by lily and fish-filled reflecting water ponds and dramatic lighting. It has two sofas, a fireplace, a built-in settee sitting area, hammock space, and a large dining table. From the loggia climb an enclosed spiral staircase to a rooftop lounge and star-viewing platform. Here you can watch the moon, stars, sunset, an approaching storm, or enjoy the night breeze.
Casa Sisal immediately nearby is also available to rent for larger groups. This will add two more bedrooms, one with a king bed and the other with two queen beds, to accommodate six more guests. There is also another swimming pool at the property.
For food, there are several options available. Kitchens are 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.
Hacienda Sac Chich 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 hacienda is the perfect base to discover all these places. Many of our vacation 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 hacienda enjoying the ambiance, the pool, the lush gardens etc.
Fall, winter and early spring are the cooler seasons. But summer allows for late night swims in the jungle pools.
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