Mérida, Mexico || Sotuta de Peón

Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico When you think of the Yucatán most people think of beaches, Mayan ruins (like those at Chichen Itza, Tulum, or the lesser-known Ek Balam), cenotes, and… if I’m being honest… margaritas.

But the Yucatán Peninsula has a rich cultural history that can actually be enjoyed WITH all of those things too.

It’s time to break out of the resort gates and see some living history.

Perhaps at a true, living-history hacienda operating nearly the same as it was 100 years ago?

Welcome to Sotuta de Peón. A museum, hacienda, hotel, restaurant, Mayan cenote, and sisal farm ALL in one.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Located just an hour or so outside of Mérida, Sotuta is the sort of place you want to budget half a day at at least.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Because its one of those places you’re really going to want to explore thoroughly.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Originally built at the end of the 19th century, Sotuta de Peón was restored as a living history museum over 12 years ago in order to share the rich history of the haciendas in the 19th and 20th centuries, touching on their vast production, incredible wealth, and also the inevitable wealth inequalities amongst hacienda residents (read more about the violent history of this region here).

It’s a unique place for appreciating both the beauty AND the true facts of history.

Shall we step inside?Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Upon arrival we were greeted very warmly by the locals.And immediately began our tour.
Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWhich took us through the many manicured grounds of the hacienda…Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Filled with palm trees,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAnd plenty of lovely huts and winding pathways.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico(I spy Erin shooting in the jungle! Have you checked out her new blog yet? As Chicago’s reigning food Instagram expert, you’re going to want to!)
Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWe approached the main hacienda house which overlooks many of the other buildings and lawns on the property.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAnd the house itself is absolutely spectacular.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico With its stunning verandas,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Amazingly colorful kitchen,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Beautifully furnished rooms,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico And breath-taking chandeliers.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico I swear I could have shot those chandeliers for decades and never tired of them.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoEver.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Other areas of the house mix beautiful bright colors with an old-world European decor evident in the many statues, mirrors, and ornate finishes.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAs well as a few, more personal finishes.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoBut the tiled floors in every room were the true star.

Erin and I could not stop shooting them…Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoTaking quite a few “shoefies” for good measure.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoHow can you NOT when you’re walking on a floor this beautiful? Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico The back veranda is just as beautiful as the front,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexicohousing a lovely shrine with a cross all decorated in ornate tile work.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico I could easily have sat on this shaded patio for hours.
Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Afterwards we walked more of the grounds and through the many gardens.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAll vibrant and lively!Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWith some magnificent entrance gates into the inner gardens as well.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoBut then it was time to learn HOW this hacienda house came about and — more particularly — what they produced:

Sisal fibre ropes and twine!Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoFirst we practiced beating and brushing the sisal fibres like they did 100 years ago. Seth being the most successful at beating… ahem, I mean combing down the fibres in order to be woven into strands.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico It’s a shockingly labor-intensive process (and makes you think about just how rough conditions on these haciendas must have been back in the day).Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico After combing we wove the strands into ropes.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoThe number of strands in a rope correlates to its strength and use.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico We made a simple two-strand rope which was still incredibly strong, Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico and which we got to take home with us!Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Then we went on a tour to learn how the sisal fibres are prepped before combing.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoSisal leaves are harvested first.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Then loaded into a large, loud machine that takes up an entire building to itself.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWhere the leaves are crushed, smashes, and squeezed so only the strong fibre remains.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico(On a side note Seth and I found this cool little room just off the machine room and couldn’t resist taking a few photos)
Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico (the view from the room was absolutely spectacular too — this shot may very well be my favorite from our entire trip to Mexico!)Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico The fibres are then dried in great vast fields.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Then brushed (by machines now, not by hand),Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexicoand bailed…Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoInto giant mounds of fibres.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Then, by machine, are brushed again and twisted into strands.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWhich can then be woven into balls of twine.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Of all sorts of sizes and strengths.
Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico (Are you sick of my shoefies yet?)Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAfter our tour of the sisal factory, we climbed into a wagon set onto tracks throughout the property and met our donkey Mariposa (Spanish for “Butterfly”).Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoShe first guided us over to the hotel huts which are located in a lush, tropical corner of the hacienda.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoEach is unique in its design.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico And the interiors are absolutely lovely.Not to mention the private pool each guest hut has!Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAnd the hammocks which I all-too-happily climbed into for a mini siesta.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAfterwards Mariposa guided us through the fields of sisal plants.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoVast fields of green agaves as far as the eye can see.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAnd we came to another stop near a hut atop a hill.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWe had arrived at the Mayan House of Don Antonio who gave us many stories and insights into the world of the hacienda when he worked there in his childhood.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Afterwards Mariposa guided us further down the tracks to a rest stop with a bar, a hut full of hammocks for snoozing in,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexicoand a very ancient underground cenote.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWhich was a spectacular way to cool off in the Yucatán heat.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAs were the crisp cervezas served at the bar!Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAfter a long swim, a few margaritas, and a quick siesta in the hammocks, Mariposa pulled our wagon to one final destination along the tracks…Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoThe restaurant!Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico Essentially an open-air hut, this was a lovely, tropical restaurant serving up authentic Yucatán cuisine.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoWe started with some chaya water (one of my favorite new-to-me dishes in Mexico and one of the 17 Foods To Try in Yucatán).Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAnd some margaritas… obviously.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoAnd a bright, refreshing beet salad.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoThen we moved onto an array of appetizersSotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico like Sopa de Lima,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico and fresh salads.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexico As well as a wide sampling of entrées like succulent fish,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexicoroasted chicken in spices,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexicoand Cochinita Pibil (another dish you absolutely must try in the Yucatán).Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoFor dessert we had a delicious platter of plantains,Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexicothe Yucatán specialty Dulce de Papaya with Edam Cheese (discussed in this post),Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán Mexicoa silky flan, and some lovely glasses of cinnamon-spiced rice pudding.Sotuta De Peón Hacienda Yucatán MexicoIt was a marvelous meal to end a beautiful and yet educational day at the hacienda.

Next time you find yourself planning a trip to Mexico and looking for something MORE than just a swim-up pool, head to Mérida and take a day trip to Sotuta de Peón. It’s well-worth the experience and gives you such an amazing appreciation for the rich, cultural history of the Yucatán. Not to mention the fact that the underground cenote was easily one of the coolest experiences we had in all of Mexico (with the massive cenote at Ek Balam coming in a close second).

You can learn some history, walk into a 100-year-old hacienda, AND still do it all with a margarita in your hand. Now THAT’S what I call visiting Mexico!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary visit to Sotuta de Peón through the Mexican Board of Tourism to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are ALWAYS my own.

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