State: Yucatan

Type of Hacienda: Sisal, Cattle

Service: Ecotourism; small mammal and bird-watching.

Location: It is approximately 86 kilometers northeast of Merida, one kilometer from the village of Dzidzantún and 12 from the beach at Santa Clara.

History:This area has been occupied since pre-Hispanic times, and although the first mention of this property are found in documents from the end of the 18th century, when it appears as the seat of syndicate or guild, it appears that the site formed part of an orchard belonging to Franciscans from nearby Dzidzantún. At the end of the 19th century, the property was acquired by Albino Manzanilla, and was thus given the name San Francisco Manzanilla. This enterprising Campeche wood merchant, who later became a notable Yucatecan politician, extended his initial purchase until he had built up a huge property measuring over nine thousand hectares and reaching to the sea. San Francisco was a “mixed” hacienda which was dedicated both to the cultivation and exploitation of sisal and to Salt extraction in the coastal parts. On several occasions it occupied first place in production and stripping of sisal, sometimes exceeding 600 thousand spears scraped in a day. The salt, ground and dried on the hacienda, was shipped to their own jetties and boats to be taken out to sea to the ships that would transport it to New Orleans under the name “goldmine”. The owner built up a village for his workers, dividing it into four “barrios” which were settled by Mayan employees, Koreans, mestizos and Yaqui Indians uprooted from the north of Mexico by the Porfirist government after an unsuccessful rebellion. The decline of the hacienda came with the collapse of the sisal market and the agrarian reforms; around 1970, the Albino Manzanilla’s heirs decided to abandon it. It soon fell victim to neglect and pillage, until in 1994 it was acquired by the Ruz Sosa family, who, after ten years of intensive restoration work, have succeeded in rescuing several of its parts, maintaining as far as possible the original architectonic features.