Hacienda el Carmen is one of the best haciendas in Mexico

15 Historic Haciendas in Mexico for a Luxury Experience

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Ready to Book a Spectacular Hotel Hacienda in Mexico?

You have come to a great resource for finding an exceptional experience. I have lived in Mexico for 15 years and I have a particular affinity for historic, luxury properties. This article will help you find the best haciendas in Mexico in the most beautiful settings.

Staying at a boutique hotel hacienda in Mexico will be one of the highlights of your travels. The combination of timeless old-world charm, luxury amenities, exotic locals, and regional cuisines make these properties some of the finest hotels in the world.

The hacienda system was prolific throughout New Spain during the colonial period, through Mexican Independence up until the Mexican Revolution. Many of these properties preserve regional traditions related to agriculture that can only be found in that part of the world.

Hacienda El Carmen in Ahualulco, Jalisco is one of the best hotel haciendas in Mexico

What is a Hacienda?

Today, a hacienda is a boutique hotel that is built on a large property with a long history. They usually incorporate some historic architecture that is complemented by luxury renovations.

Historically, haciendas were the major landed estates used by the Spanish crown to administer the newly acquired territories. Massive land grants were awarded to faithful nobles, soldiers, and religious orders who could establish profit-making enterprises and pay taxes.

In Andalucia, Spain, haciendas were exclusively in the business of manufacturing olive oil. In the Americas, there were a variety of industries such as sugarcane, cereals, agaves, livestock, mining, as well as other regional products. The wealthiest haciendas were close to cities or ports where products could be sent to market.

Top Picks: Best Hotel Haciendas in Mexico

Hacienda el Carmen in Ahualulco de Mercado, Jalisco

Hotel Haciendas in Jalisco

Jalisco has an unparalleled tourist experience given its geography, history, and culture. Many people consider this to be the heart of Mexico.

Charro cowboys culture is rooted in the hacienda ranches. Tequila is made from blue agave which is prolific in Jalisco and later built great fortunes. The evolution of Mariachi music and Son Jalisciense flows back to the countryside near Guadalajara. This is archetypal Mexico.

The first Spanish conquistadores and missionaries arrived in Jalisco in the early part of the 16th century. This area has a long history and the haciendas preserve pieces of a bygone era.

I first learned about these historic properties through an organization called Haciendas y Casonas de Jalisco. My wedding was held at one of their properties and my family has thoroughly enjoyed exploring the state through their recommendations.

1. Hacienda El Carmen

⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Ahualulco de Mercado | View on Expedia.com

Located just an hour outside of Guadalajara along the Ruta del Tequila, Hacienda El Carmen is one of the most beautiful haciendas in Mexico.

The property dates back to the mid-16th century when Alonso de la Roa arrived at the Ahualulco Valley and named it the La Estancia de la Roa. It took several centuries to construct the palatial grounds and build a sugarcane plantation.

Today, Hacienda El Carmen Hotel & Spa is a favorite escape and wedding venue for Tapatíos (Guadalajara locals). The hotel underwent a major restoration project in the 1990s and only opened as a hotel in 2001. It is a favorite filming location for major productions such as Netflix’s Monarca.

There is a working ranch that teaches horseback riding lessons. They have an onsite tequila distillery. Much of the produce served at the gourmet restaurant is grown on the property. The spa is meant to transport guests to a glamorous past. And kids will love the small pool and jacuzzi.

2. Hacienda Sepulveda Hotel & Spa

⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Near: Lagos de Moreno | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda Sepulveda is located in the Bajío Region of Mexico just outside of Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco. Peacocks wander the grounds and little kids will be amazed as they find secret gardens.

The estate was originally founded in 1684 along the Camino Real. The royal highway connected the silver mines in Zacatecas to the capital of Mexico City.

The hotel has 26 unique rooms that are decorated with antique luxury furnishings.

The hacienda restaurant is a time capsule that is decorated with furniture that was originally from the hacienda. The exposed brick ceiling has been updated with modern lighting for an enjoyable experience. The food is simple, local, and absolutely delicious. We found the service to be impeccable and kind.

The most popular activities revolve around horseback riding. Experienced riders can embark on half-day trips to visit other haciendas in the region. Young kids will enjoy the horse-drawn carriage rides around the extensive property.

There is a lovely pool in the middle of the property and a secluded jacuzzi under a pergola with mature vines. They have bonfires on the weekends and bikes that you can use to explore. It is like summer camp if you happened to be a part of the landed aristocracy.

3. Hacienda Labor de Rivera

⭐️ Rating: 8.6 /10 | Near: Teuchitlán | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda Labor de Rivera is a favorite hotel and restaurant for those visiting the Guachimontones pyramids. The most important archeological site in Jalisco is located just 15 minutes from the hacienda.

Visiting the pyramids followed by lunch at the hacienda is a popular day trip from Guadalajara.

The hotel has 21 guestrooms that have been updated with more modern furnishing but have historic decorations. The tile work is mostly modern and the carpentry work is beautiful if not original.

Hotel Haciendas in Morelos

The state of Morelos is very close to Mexico City and is where the Mexican hacienda system originally took root. Hernán Cortés built a palace and hacienda in Morelos not long after conquering the Aztec capital.

One of the reasons that Chilangos (people from Mexico City) love vacationing at the historic haciendas in Morelos is because of the weather. Cuernavaca is called the city of eternal spring and the countryside is even lusher.

4. San Gabriel de Las Palmas

⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: San Gabriel | View on Expedia.com

This is one of the oldest haciendas in Mexico dating back to 1529. Originally, the property functioned as a Franciscan monastery.

In 1558, the missionaries abandoned the property and it was eventually reopened as a sugarcane plantation. It would become the largest and most important sugarcane plantation in Mexico at one point. During the Mexican Revolution, Emiliano Zapata used the hacienda as a military barracks for his Zapatista forces.

Today, Hacienda San Gabriel is one of the finest hotels in all of Mexico. It is a favorite destination of wealthy capitalinos (people from the capital) and international travelers alike.

There are over 600 pieces of original furniture and art that decorate the estate. The attention to historical detail is incredible.

The property is set on 60 acres of lush gardens including an organic, edible garden. Kids will love the two pools and adults will love the private VIP jacuzzis. There is a lake, bike trails, horseback rides, and more than you could experience in one weekend. This is a truly spectacular hotel.

5. Hacienda de Cortés

⭐️ Rating: 8.8 /10 | Near: Cuernavaca | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda de Cortes is the oldest hacienda in Mexico dating back to 1530 and was commissioned by Hernán Cortes less than ten years after the fall of the Aztec capital. Originally called San Antonio de Atlacomulco, the property is an excellent example of Spanish colonial architecture.

Hacienda de Cortes is one of the easist haciendas to reach from Mexico City. It is less than 90 minutes from Mexico City to Cuernavaca.

The guest rooms have been updated nicely. It is the restaurant dining room and surrounding grounds that show how old the property is. There are trees growing through walls and incredibly lush gardens throughout the property.

Make sure to come in the warmer months to take advantage of the pool.

6. Hacienda San Antonio El Puente

⭐️ Rating: 8.8 /10 | Neighborhood: Xochitepec | View on Expedia.com

Xochitepec is on the southern end of Cuernavaca and about two hours from Mexico City. This is one of the favorite escapes for families from Mexico City to spend the long weekends.

Hacienda San Antonio El Puente is a part of the Fiesta Americana hotel group. They operate some of the finest hotels in the country. The hacienda is relatively “young” only dating back to the 18th century.

The Xochicalco archeological site and the San Ramón waterpark are just a few minutes away.

7. Hacienda Acamilpa

⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: San Gabriel | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda Acamilpa was originally founded in 1604 by El Colegio de Cristo. Today, the hotel hacienda is a monument to art, gardens, and the good life. It is a special place to spend time with family and friends.

Acamilpa is about 2:30 hours outside of Mexico City in the countryside of Morelos.

In the 19th century, the hacieda became one of the largest and most imprtant haciendas in Mexico in terms of taxes paid to the crown. they produced nearly 500,000 liters of sugar annually.

The lush gardens make this hacienda a favorite wedding venue for couples from Mexico City.

Hacienda Hotels in Campeche

Campeche is one of the most under-the-radar destinations in Mexico. The state is small in terms of both population and size. However, the state of Campeche and the capital city, Campeche, are some of the safest destinations to visit in Mexico.

8. Hacienda Uayamon

⭐️ Rating: 9.0 /10 | Neighborhood: Uayamon | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda Uayamon is one of the most beautiful hotel haciendas in Mexico because of the contrast between lush jungle and luxury accommodations. It strikes the perfect balance between historic decor and modern luxury.

This hacienda dates back to the 17th century when it was originally a cattle ranch. By the 19th century, the hacienda had diversified into sugarcane, corn, henequen (agave used to make rope), palo de tinte (used as a textile dye), in addition to livestock.

Located just 30 minutes outside of Campeche or two hours from Merida, the setting is rural. There are Mayan ruins nearby. The sound of the jungle is magical in the evening.

Kids will love the many pools. Several of the suites have thier own private pools.

Check Prices & Availability at Hacienda Uayamon

Hotel Haciendas in Yucatán

Yucatán State was one of the most important regions for the hacienda system in New Spain. There was a major concentration of haciendas in this area that remained an important political force until the early 20th century.

One of the most important crops grown in the region was a species of agave called Henequen. The agave leaves, pencas, produce a fiber that was used to make low-quality rope and twine popular worldwide in the 19th century.

9. Hacienda Xcanatun

⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Mérida | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda Xcanatun is located just 15 minutes outside of Mérido and is one of the easiest haciendas to access in Mexico. The property dates back to the 18th century when it harvested henequen agave thread.

Today the hotel hacienda has 18 suites and 36 guestrooms that blend contemporary details with historic local touches. The property is set on four acres of private gardens full of lush, exotic vegetation.

The Olympic-sized swimming pool is a favorite with the kids. There is a nice gym and the spa is a luxury experience.

Hacienda Xcanatun is one of the highest-rated haciendas in Mexico and one of the highest-rated hotels in the Mérida area.

Check Prices & Availability at Hacienda Xcanatun

10. Hacienda Misné

⭐️ Rating: 8.8 /10 | Neighborhood: Mérida | View on Expedia.com

Located just 15 minutes from Downtown Mérida, Hacienda Misné is an oasis of peace and relaxation. The hundred year old oak door transports guests to another world full of lush vegetation and exotic flowers.

The hotel hacienda has 42 guestrooms and 8 majestic suits. The architectural details are characteristic of the colonial era in the Yucatán Peninsula.

11. Hacienda San José Cholul

⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Cacalchén | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda San José is one of the highest-rated hotel haciendas in Mexico because of its rustic nature and luxury details. The jungle comes right up to the property but design and cleanliness are something that most guests mention.

The location is secluded an hour outside of Mérida and about halfway to the Pueblo Mágico of Izamal. Most travelers will have their own vehicle and will include visits to Mayan archeological sites, cenotes, and Pueblos Mágicos in addition to the hacienda.

The pool at Hacienda San José is one of the most photographed/Instagramed pools in the region. I would rather spend my vacation budget here rather than Cancun.

The lands that are today a part of the Hacienda San José were part of an encomienda (Spanish forced labor system) that was assigned in 1549. The growth of the hacienda system was slow in these parts because the soil is not very fertile. The haciendas in these parts needed to diversify to make ends meet. They started with cattle ranching and later moved into sugarcane, corn, and henequen fibers by the 19th century.

Check Prices & Availability at Hacienda San José

12. Hacienda Santa Cruz

⭐️ Rating: 8.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Santa Cruz Palomeque | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda Santa Cruz is located on the outskirts of Mérida. The estate was founded in 1640 and was originally a Franciscan monastery. Over the centuries, it was converted into a productive property when the “green gold” henequen boom took root in the 19th century.

Today, the property includes 12 acres of gardens, 25 updated guestrooms, and extensive event spaces. This is a favorite wedding venue for wealthy Mexican couples.

The hacienda has been cataloged by the National Institute of Anthropology and is recognized as a Yucatán State Heritage Site.

Valentina Restaurant is a destination on its own. Chef Pedro May grows a great deal of produce on the property grounds that he uses in the kitchen. This restaurant is an excellent representation of contemporary Yucatecan cuisine.

13. Hacienda Temozon

⭐️ Rating: 9.2 /10 | Neighborhood: Abalá | View on Expedia.com

A part of the Marriott hotel group, Hacienda Temozon is one of the highest rates hotel haciendas in Mexico. It is located an hour south of Mérida on a lush property with its own small cenote and several large cenotes nearby.

The main house and guestrooms have high ceilings with lovely tile work. The rooms are clean, comfortable, and cool in the Yucatán heat.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy the large pool.

Check Prices & Availability at Hacienda Temozón

Hacienda Hotels in Tlaxcala

Tlaxcala is not a typical tourist destination in Mexico. The small state is very close to the city of Puebla at the base of the Malinche Volcano. There is a lot of original history in the region and a strong Native identity.

Hernán Cortés passed through Tlaxala on this way to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán. After a brief battle, the Spanish and the Tlaxcaltecos made an alliance that would eventually overthrow the Aztecs as the regional overlords.

There are a number of interesting museums and popular cultural events such as bullfighting that are popular.

Reading James Michener’s Mexico would be a good place to learn a little bit about the history of the region. The book is set in the fictional town of Toledo but I am sure that Tlaxcala helped shape the authors setting. Particularly the town’s fiesta brava.

14. Hacienda San Francisco Soltepec

⭐️ Rating: 9.0 /10 | Neighborhood: Huamantla | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda Soltepec is the most affordable hotel hacienda on this list. The flora and fauna of Tlaxcala are very different from the tropical jungles in Yucatán. It is situated at a high elevation and is cold much of the year.

This particular property is famous for golf. Huamantla is a suburb of the city of Tlaxcala as well as the city of Puebla. People come here to get out of the city.

If you play golf, this will be a memorable experience.

Hacienda Hotels in Sonora

Sonora is a northern state famous for carne asada and flour tortillas. The haciendas in these parts grew different crops than the haciendas in the south. In the arid desert, wheat flour grows better than corn and thus the tortillas are different.

One of my favorite books about Mexico is The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. It is the story of a traditional medicine woman who grew up on a hacienda in Sonora. It is a fascinating tale about the people in the region just prior to the Mexican Revolution. Part of the book takes place in Alamos and I have to assume the author visited all the haciendas in the region while doing his research.

15. Hacienda de los Santos

⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Alamos | View on Expedia.com

Hacienda de los Santos is an oasis in the desert. It is the high desert so there is a lot of vegetation and greenery much of the year.

It took 24 years to renovate the vast property in a tasteful and historically respectful manner. There are 34 rooms including suites and villas. The property has four outdoor pools, a modern gym, and a classic cantina.

Alamos is located 45 minutes off the 15D international highway (Arizona to Guadalajara route). Travelers headed to Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlán would enjoy this resort even though it is a little ways off the freeway. This is one of Mexico’s hidden gems.

Hacienda el Carment is one of the best haciendas in Mexico

Haciendas in Mexico FAQ

When were the Haciendas built?

Haciendas were built from the time the Spanish arrived in the early 16th century until the late 19th century. The hacienda system continued even after Mexican Independence but the Mexican Revolution finally brought about some land reforms.

At the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, there were 8,245 haciendas in Mexico.

What was the Hacienda System?

The hacienda system was land management in the newly conquered territories. It was an extension of the Spanish government in its tax collecting ability. Hacienda owners paid taxes to the crown and later the Mexican government, and therefore the hacienda owners were given the right to collect taxes from whoever lived on ‘their land.’

Most of the people that lived on hacienda property had no money to pay taxes so they were forced to work. It was slavery under another name. Forced labor and debt peonage kept the masses unable to move without running away. Many of the people forced to work in mines or in the fields would die from horrendous conditions.

Many people compare the hacienda system to the great plantations in the southern US. Miguel Hidalgo declared the abolition of slavery in Mexico during the War of Independence but the new Mexican government didn’t have the means to enforce the decree.

Today, popular culture likes to describe the old hacienda owners as benevolent aristocracy that treated their workers like children. However, there is a long-documented struggle between haciendas and native villages. Books like Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo do not paint a pretty picture of the hacienda owners. Jose Clemente Orozco has several paintings and murals depicting the abuses of the hacienda system.

Jose Clemente Orozco mural about hacienda system injustices

Are there Haciendas in Spain?

In Spain, haciendas were exclusively olive oil manufacturers. In the Americas, there were many more industries that were available depending on the region. There were haciendas throughout New Spain. In Argentina the term used was ‘estancias’ but the concept was the same.

Is it Safe to Visit Haciendas in Mexico?

Yes, the hotel haciendas in Mexico have excellent security. Yucatán and Campeche are two of the safest states in Mexico. While Guadalajara is known as a big city with big city crime, the Tequila Valley where Hacienda El Carmen and Hacienda Labor de Rivera are safer than the city.

The state of Morelos is in the news for security problems around Cuernavaca but the haciendas themselves are very safe.

Jacuzzi at the Hacienda El Carmen one of the best haciendas in Mexico

Final Thoughts On The Best Haciendas in Mexico

Go! Skip the all inclusive resort in Cancun and plan a cultural vacation through the most historic destinations in Mexico.

There was a saying in the 19th century referring to many of the old hacienda owners, “There is no rich like Mexican rich.” The level of opulence at these resorts is off the charts. There is a very unique architectural style that is paired with regional and historic interior design.

Where I grew up in California the term hacienda has been appropriated to all sorts of cheap motels and real estate developers. It loses its meaning when it is used at a Best Western motel.

You really need to come and see the haciendas in Mexico. These are special properties with a lot of history. I know you are going to enjoy them.

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