The Yucatán is a region well known for having a plethora of Mayan ruins, cenotes, and colonial architecture – demonstrated beautifully by the Hacienda.
One of these three things can be found at least every couple of miles. Sometimes, all three can be found in the same spot. The Mayans as well as colonials needed access to fresh water so they would logically build near a cenote. San Lorenzo Aké is just such a site.
San Lorenzo Aké is located off the main road, between Izamal and Mérida, just outside of the tiny village of Aké. This hacienda is special in many ways. First, there is a substantial, decently preserved Mayan archaeological complex onsite. Though not of much historical significance, there are pyramids – including one with impressive columns – in addition to other structures. There is much more that is unexcavated at this site as evidenced by unnatural looking mounds visible in the distance.
The opportunistic builders of the hacienda seized the opportunity to recycle the many pre-cut stones lying around and incorporated them into the buildings. The hacienda chapel, dedicated to patron saint San Lorenzo, is built atop a pyramid. Churches throughout Mexico were built atop Aztec, Toltec and Mayan pyramids.
Another interesting feature of this hacienda is that its casa de maquinas (machine house) is currently operational, processing henequen into rope. This provides a unique opportunity to observe the hacienda in action, much as it was 200 years ago. The present owners occupy the casa principal (main house) and keep it lovingly maintained. While the casa principal and cenote are private, the ruins, casa de maquinas and a few outlying buildings can be explored.