For every hacienda that gets rescued and resurrected as a luxury hacienda hotel there are scores that remain abandoned and in ruins. They have a crumbling beauty all their own and they inspire dreams of what they might be turned into if these former mansions, once owned by rich businessmen during the sisal boom of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in southern Mexico, could only find  buyers to bring them back to life. While they wait, these haciendas have been stripped of nearly every architectural element, from doors to floor tiles to fixtures, yet, they retain an elegance we hope we captured in these photos.

The machine house at Hacienda Uayalceh.

The chapel at Hacienda Uayalceh. It’s still sometimes used by the community and a local man had the keys so we gave him a few pesos to open it up and let us look around.

Hacienda Uayalceh.

The main staircase up to Hacienda Kochol must have been breathtaking before it was torn apart by time and looters.

The machine room at Hacienda Kochol.

Hacienda Kochol with a smokestack from the sisal factory in the foreground.

The neglected grounds of the abandoned Hacienda Chunchucmil are now used as a soccer field.

The remains of Hacienda Hobomo.

Here’s more about travel in Mexico

See all of our Photo Essays


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