Hacienda Yaxcopoil

Author: , August 4th, 2013

Yucatan Haciendas

When you visit the Yucatan, there are three things you must see: at least one Mayan site (and I highly recommend several), at least one cenote (and I highly recommend as many as you can fit in), and at least one Hacienda. One hacienda that is now more of a museum than a working hacienda is Yaxcopoil, just an hour outside Mérida.

Hacienda Yaxcopoil entrance gate from rear

Hacienda Yaxcopoil (yaks-ko-PEL) is located on Highway 261, on the road to Uxmal. You enter through a driveway to the left of the large entrance arch, which is closed, probably to save it from accidental destruction by vehicles hitting it as they pass through. It is a stunning piece, and suggests to me architectural design borrowed from the Middle East. Its curved arches contain lights, making it look like a giant candelabra.

The walkway up the middle of the front yard is still mostly intact, as are the steps leading to the wide front porch stretching the entire width of the main building. Inside the main hallway we paid our entrance fee, and then continued on. I expected this building to be pretty much the entire hacienda, but I was in for a bit of a surprise as we discovered room after room, structure after structure, and fields that stretched on for, seemingly, miles and miles.

Hacienda Yaxcopoil pool and bathhouse

The main building contained much of the owners’ family’s living quarters. There were bedrooms with much of their original furniture, and a salon, all with their original pasta tile floors still intact and gorgeous. I am constantly amazed at how well these old pasta tiles hold up in construction, design and color retention.

The next building contained a library, dining room, and at least one kitchen. Behind that was a pool and bathhouse for those hot Yucatan summers. As we continued beyond the bathhouse we came across the property’s well house, with a huge, old water pump reaching deep down the well to suck up the water running in the underground rivers below to disperse throughout the house and gardens. A huge concrete reservoir (I thought it was another swimming pool), sat next to the well.

The grounds are beautiful, if not 100% maintained. But it is easy to imagine the huge cost of running a hacienda, with all it encompasses. There were trees to be used for lumber, all kinds of floral offerings, areas for vegetable gardening, and some agave plantings.

Hacienda Yaxcopoil maintenance building

As we strolled the gardens an employee of the hacienda stopped and asked if we wanted to see the maintenance building. Of course we did. So he unlocked a gate and guided us through a field (where locals happened to be playing softball) to another huge structure. This was the building where all the heavy machinery was located.There were old saws, lathes, smelting equipment, welding equipment, and a huge smokestack just behind the building. Hacienda Yaxcopoil machinery 2Just beyond, stunningly, were two more huge, ornate buildings with statues and many carvings. These, we learned, were for storage. Then, beyond these buildings, were acres upon acres of the hacienda’s land, some still owned by the hacienda, some having been given to locals to farm many years ago. Hacienda Yoxcopoil storage building

I had no idea these haciendas were so large and so self-sufficient. Next to the main house were several other buildings. One was a small hospital, one was for feeding the hacienda’s employees, and one was a school for the children of the hacienda’s workers. It was a small town contained on one family’s property. I suppose you could see it as the Yucatan’s Downton Abbey.

There are several haciendas in the Yucatan, and some are still working haciendas, where you can see workers cultivating and processing henequen into rope, baskets, purses, rugs, and many other products. A trip to the Yucatan should definitely include a trip to at least one hacienda.

Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Merida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer hand-crafted Mayan furniture, pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, and much more, all centrally located for easy access to Merida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.

Cenote Summer – Part III

Author: , June 24th, 2013

Ek Balam and X’cane Cenote

One of the joys of running our B&B is being able to take our guests with us on some of our day trips. That’s exactly what we did on a Saturday this June when we spent the day at Ek Balam and its cenote, X’cane.

The young lady staying with us for a week wanted to see a cenote and a Mayan civilization site, but we could not find a tour operator going to the site that day. So Steve and I thought we would go ourselves and invite our guest along with us. Ek Balam was on our list of Mayan sites to visit this summer, so this was definitely a two-birder.

We rented a small car, loaded ourselves in, and headed for Ek Balam, a Mayan civilization site just a few kilometers north of Valladolid. The trip takes about an hour and a half, and the roads are excellent all the way, IF you ignore the pot-holed driveway into Ek Balam itself.

When we parked the car a young boy was waiting, and told us he would “watch” our car. Yes, we were kind of being shaken down, but it is really a tradition in the Yucatan to tip people who help you park your car. A lot of these people are very poor, so who can begrudge 5 or 10 pesos?

Inside the entrance to Ek Balam we paid our two entrance fees to the two government entities that run the site. One government department collects for the administration of the site and the other is for maintenance and buildings. It is always amusing to me that the government cannot figure out how to charge one fee and split the appropriate monies to the two departments, but it is this way at every Mayan site we have visited.

DSCN6238Ek Balam is not Chichen Itza, thank goodness. It is smaller, with less tourists (at least on this day), but no less spectacular. We first approached a small building that was open on all four sides. We thought it might be some sort of entrance building. As we continued through the site we came across two pyramids across the grounds from each other.

DSCN6271The Oval Palace is the smaller of the two, and we climbed it first. We reached the top and surveyed the area. The green canopy of trees of the Yucatan spread out across the countryside. This was a very good spot to get a feel for the layout of the entire site. We looked across to the Acropolis and suddenly couldn’t wait to climb that one. So down we went.

DSCN6316About 100 steps take you to the top of the Acropolis.It’s a bit of a slog, but your reward is a spectacular view of the Ek Balam area and about 30 kilometers in all directions. We could see that there were probably many more buildings yet to be uncovered; indeed, one of the site employees told us that Ek Balam extends at least 4-5 kilometers beyond this main section. It must have been quite a civilization and makes me want to know how and why this great culture collapsed.

DSCN6239We spent quite a bit of time at the main site, but eventually wound our way to X’cane, the cenote nearby.

At the Ek Balam entrance there is a rough road that leads to the cenote. You can rent a bike for 20 pesos, or take one of the bicycle taxis for 30 pesos, round trip. We decided to just walk, which normally takes about 20 minutes. I say normally because about 5 minutes into our trek the clouds opened up and it poured rain the rest of our way to X’cane. By the time we made it to the ceonte entrance we were, of course, soaked. But that was no problem; after all, we were there to get wet anyway!

DSCN6363Cenotes are like snowflakes: every one is different. X’cane has a very large, round opening, and it drops down about 150 feet to the beautiful water below. There are two sets of very steep, wooden stairs on opposite sides of the cenote, with wood walkways and two suspension bridges connecting them.

DSCN6337There are ropes hung from various trees at the top of the cenote that swimmers use to swing out over and into the water. Several teens were taking advantage of them. One guy with very long hair – we called him Fabio – stood on one of the wood stairs about 60 feet up and dove into the water to much appreciation and applause.

DSCN6350We swam about 45 minutes, then sat on the wood boardwalk and watched the other visitors enjoying the water, then headed to the little restaurant on the grounds and had beers and a wonderful jamaica (ha-MAY-ka).

DSCN6346The walk back to the car was drier, if not any less muddy, and by this time we were pretty hungry. We headed to the wonderful town of Valladolid and ate at the restaurant connected to the hotel El Meson del Marques. By the time we got back home, we were all pooped and headed off to a restful nights’ sleep.

Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Merida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer hand-crafted Mayan furniture, pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, and much more, all centrally located for easy access to Merida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.

Merida Pride 2013

Author: , June 16th, 2013

Merida Pride 2013 – Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Let’s let the photos speak for themselves…DSCN6218

DSCN6219

DSCN6221

DSCN6222

DSCN6224

DSCN6225

DSCN6226

DSCN6227

DSCN6229

DSCN6232

Cenote Summer – Part II

Author: , May 26th, 2013

Last time I wrote about some of the cenotes one can visit just a few minutes from Merida. We continue our cenote summer with a look at a fantastic little cenote in the town of Chochola, just 10 minutes from Merida’s main square.

For 17 pesos each we hopped a van to Chochola. The driver let us out in the main square, and we walked three blocks to San Ignacio cenote. From the front it is nothing special to look at; we could see a couple of palapa buildings. You never know what you’re going to get when you arrive at one of the over 3,000 watering holes in the Yucatan. The San Ignacio cenote exterior belies its stunning cenote cave.
San Ignacio entrance stitch smaller
Inside a woman took our 70 pesos each, and put a paper wristband on our wrists. We then headed to the little outdoor restaurant on the premises to get a key to one of the free lockers. The lockers are made of plywood, with small locks on them. I wondered if this was a fool’s paradise, but I needn’t have worried; we have found people very honest in the Yucatan.
Cenote entrance smaller

After shoving our backpack and shoes in the locker, we headed to the cenote entrance. There is a narrow cement staircase with high stone walls that drops dramatically down into a hole in the ground. Ducking our heads as we passed through, we saw before us a small, multi-colored cave filled with crystal clear water. We put our towels down on an available stone and gingerly scooted ourselves down into the water. It was about 80 degrees, cool and refreshing, a glorious respite from the 102 degrees topside.

The water at one end of the cave is just the right depth to sit and relax while the opposite end is about 10 – 12 feet deep. We sat a while, swam a while, then climbed up on some rocks on one side and enjoyed watching as others did the same. Children splashed and swam the length of the cave while their mothers and grandmothers sat in the shallow end, enjoying their brood.

The cave roof is only about 6 feet above the water, and shows many colors. Brown and red stones turn to gentle shades of green in some areas, and back to amber. Stalactite bases hang everywhere from the ceiling, but the stalactites themselves were broken off years ago. I have been in a few cenotes, but never one that was a cave. This one definitely rates a 10 on the “wow” factor.
Cenote interior smaller
About 45 minutes later we were beginning to get a bit pruney, and decided it might be time to tear ourselves away from this magical under-world and head back to the surface.

Back on terra firma we took a walk around the cenote grounds, then headed back to town and our bus back to Merida. A very relaxing time was had by us both, and we’re already planning part III of our cenote summer.

Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Mérida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, and much more, all centrally located for easy access to Mérida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.

Cenote Summer

Author: , May 6th, 2013

Summer is here and what better time to visit Mérida, Mexico to tour some of the wonderful cenotes that dot the landscape around the city. These wonderful sinkholes, each one with its own special feel, provide ample opportunity to relax, cool off, and enjoy one another’s company as you escape the heat of summer.

Over 3,000 cenotes dot the Yucatan peninsula. These swimming holes have been used by locals and visitors alike for hundreds of years. Some cenotes are just a few feet below the surface and resemble sunken lakes or a pond. Others are much deeper and require some climbing to reach the cool water. Still others require diving under a stone wall or archway to reach them. And many have been outfitted with ladders and even concrete stairs to facilitate reaching them easily. Whatever your adventure level, you will find a cenote just right for you. Here are just a few of the cenotes reachable in a day trip from Mérida.

Cenote Chelentun

With wonderfully clear, blue water, Chelentun, located in the town of Cuzamá, has stalactites and stalagmites adding to its beauty. Also in Cuzamá are the cenotes Chansinic’che and Bolonchoojol. All are worth at least seeing if not taking the time to swim in.
cenote Chelentun

Valladolid

Several accessible cenotes are located in and around the town of Valladolid, south of Mérida. Right in the center of town is Zaci, very popular for swimming and relaxing. An eyeless black fish, the lub, swims along with you in Zaci. For a fun day, rent bikes in the center of town and bike to two cenotes, X’Keken and Samula, located across the road from each other in the village of Dzitnup.
cenote samula

Cenotillo

This little village sports more than 150 cenotes. You can hire a local guide to take you to one or several of them.

cenote cenotillo

Xlacah

Just north of Mérida is Xlacah, on the Mayan site of Dzibichaltún. This cenote is at ground level and a treat for swimmers. At 140 feet deep at one end, it’s a great way to cool off after a hot day climbing the pyramids at Dzibichaltún.
cenote xlacah

Kankirixche

This cenote attracts snorkelers and scuba divers exploring its crystal clear waters.
cenote kankirixche

These are only a few of the many opportunities to take a dip in a cenote around Mérida. Come explore and decide for yourself which is the best.

Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Mérida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, and much more, all centrally located for easy access to Mérida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.

Slow Food

Author: , March 28th, 2013

When we needed shower shelves for our B&B, my partner, Steve, and I hopped a city bus for the nearby pueblo of Dzitya. A friend told us that Dzitya was the place to go if you wanted anything in stone. How right he was. What our friend didn’t know was that you can find another one of those incredible “Cocina Economicas” (inexpensive kitchen) you find everywhere in Merida. This one would give us the most “local” experience ever.

We got off the bus at a corner, on a street where are located about a dozen little shops selling their stone wares. They all seemed very quiet and we wondered whether they were even open. Ahead we saw a little more action: dogs wandering the street, children riding bikes, and a few cars parked on the side of the road. Birds chirped in the trees and a woman in a ragged jumper watched it all from her front door. We headed in that direction.

As we rounded a corner onto the dusty road that passed the town square (one of the things I love about the Yucatan is how every town, no matter how small, has a town square), we began to pass a few small, old stone houses. The last one before the square had a large covered carport attached to the side. Billows of smoke rose up to the roof and flowed under until it found its way to freedom. It carried with it the most delicious aroma of pollo (chicken). We stopped to see a woman grilling maybe a dozen chickens on her barrel grill, with abuela (grandmother) seated near the entrance overlooking the operation. Behind them were four plastic Coca-Cola tables and chairs set about the carport, and three children of about 8, 11, and 13 helping set up for the day’s hungry guests. We had seen many Merida cocina economicas in storefronts or set up on the street even, but this was the first we saw in a carport.

Steve and I looked at each other and Steve said, “I think we’ll make better shopping decisions on a full stomach”.

“Abierta?”, we asked. That was about the extent of our Spanish at that time.

“Si! Entrada”, the old woman said to our question…or something like that. My ear is still learning to separate long strings of gibberish into understandable words. She waved her arm for us to take a seat, so we assumed she was welcoming us in.

Upon sitting, the 11 year old girl set our table with knife, fork, and spoon. Salt and pepper and the ubiquitous pepper sauce were already on the table. This was a family affair; the older boy was carrying supplies out of the house for his mother at the grill while the little 8 year old watched us intently, seemingly trying to figure out what she might be able to do for the two gringos.

grilled chicken

We each ordered half a chicken. We waited for our orders only the time it took for the woman at the grill to serve up half a chicken on each of two plates, along with freshly cut cabbage and tomatoes. No sooner did we start digging into the chicken than the little girl arrived a second time with two huge bowls of black beans swimming in the water it was cooked in. It was really like a bowl of black bean soup.

Black Beans

The chicken was plump and juicy, perfectly grilled, and so delicious. It was like no chicken I ever tasted before – they way you always think chicken should taste. The vegetables were garden-fresh, and the black bean soup was a perfect accompaniment.

We ate slowly, deliberately, and savored every bite.

Finishing up, we washed our hands at the little sink hung on the wall. The water went down the drain and into a bucket placed on the floor. We then returned to our table to relax and savor a great, simple meal. Then we were ready to head out to shop for… Uh, now why did we come to Dzitya?

Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Merida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, and much more, all centrally located for easy access to Merida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.

Merida Morning

Author: , February 14th, 2013

Each morning I wake at about 6:00 AM.  No alarms, no impatient husband shoving me out of bed.  I am eager to get downstairs, make coffee, and sit on the patio enjoying the peaceful serenity of a Merida morning.

There is nothing in the world I love more than a Merida morning.  I sit with my coffee and computer, checking reservations for our B&B, catching up on overnight news.  I pause as Marlon Brando, the neighbor’s white feline, whom a guest named Marlon Brando because of his ragged-looking face often torn up by all the fights he seems to get into, gingerly makes his way along the top of our property-line wall, a feat requiring no small amount of dexterity due to the many, broken bottles cemented into the top of the wall to keep “intruders” out of our neighbor’s yard.  But Marlon is no intruder, just a local citizen looking for a challenge, or maybe an enticing bag of trash someone forgot to put inside a trash can.

Marlon Brando’s visit makes me think of another denizen of the neighborhood: a large, silver and green iguana who lives on the opposite side of our property.  I always hope he will come by to sit on our wall in the sun, or sit on his perch on the top of our casita, or even brave our scary yard for a chance to sip from our pool.  But with all the activity at our B&B in the late mornings, he seldom comes around, so it is a rare treat to see him up close.  But in the afternoons we often see him taking in some rays on a high branch of a tree.  The last time he was in the yard I grabbed the camera and made a video for our Facebook page of him trying to scurry away from me, finally running to the back and up the wall to safety.Iguana in yard smaller

My mind returns to the present.  The pool is quiet; no pump shooting water through the filters and back out the two Ticul-stone cannons and into the pool with a constant splashing – only a gentle ripple now and then after a leaf slowly floats from the trees above to the calm, still water.

Suddenly there is a loud screeching of birds, and I know that the green parrots that live in the area have arrived for their morning visit.  About a dozen of them flock from limb to limb, screaming to each other with a sound that affects me like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Then, as suddenly as it began, it is quiet again, and the sense of calm is even more profound than before.  I mentally check off my tasks for the day: make breakfast, clean rooms, fill that crack in the rear wall.  I pick up my empty cup and computer and start to make my way back inside, turning off the dim lights left on overnight for the guests to make their way to their rooms after late-night dinner or clubbing.  I notice the leaves on the walkway and mentally add “sweep the walk” to my task list.  Time to make breakfast, and greet another great day in Merida.

Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Merida, Mexico.  Their six rooms offer pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, ticul gargolas, and much more.  Casa Del Maya is centrally located for easy access to Merida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others.   For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.comMerida Morning

Carnaval!

Author: , January 17th, 2013

Every year Merida, Mexico hosts one of the largest and best Carnavals in the world. This year, from February 6 – 13, locals and travelers alike will put on their dancing shoes, their colorful costumes, and headdresses to enjoy internationally known artists from the worlds of music and dance, parades, and daily events that will help bring out your wild side. Carnaval1

This year’s Carnaval, titled “Mérida Mística”, brings to the Yucatan internationally known artists to enthrall us with their music and dancing. From Salsa bands to traditional folk music, from lovely women and handsome men in traditional costumes presenting traditional Mexican dance to brightly costumed modern dancers, Carnaval week promises something for everyone. But music and dance are but one part of Carnaval. There are parades, from the opening parade with floats featuring school-age children, to the more adult-themed parties and parades later in the week. Men and women dress up in their most colorful costumes representing their long heritage in the Yucatan.
The week begins with the “Burning of the Bad Humor” in the main square, or zocalo. Each night will see a parade through town with a different theme. Thursday is the pre-school parade, followed on Friday by the Corso parade, and the week continues with the Fantasy Parade, Bachata Parade, Regional Parade, the Battle of the Flowers, and the week ends up with the Burning of Juan Carnaval. Carnaval2

Don’t miss this great week of fun; come to Merida and let your hair down!
Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Merida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, and much more, all centrally located for easy access to Merida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.

Carnaval3

Romantic Merida

Author: , December 29th, 2012

People come to Merida for the historic architecture, the museums, galleries, and Mayan ruins sites. But Merida is also a very romantic destination. There are so many great ways to show your partner how you feel while visiting Merida. Here are a few suggestions.
1) Drive him to Celestun where you can lounge in a boat and while away the afternoon staring in awe at thousands of pink flamingoes. Then walk the backcountry boardwalk and discover new birds and aquatic animals while discovering new things about each other.
2) Rent bikes and ride from downtown Valladolid to the twin cenotes. Swim in both and then enjoy a leisurely lunch before your return ride as the sun sets behind you.
3) Walk up Paseo Montejo, the “Champs Elysees” of Merida. Sit in one of the many “lovers” chairs placed on the boulevard, then enjoy ice cream from one of the local stores.
4) Go on a “Frida” hunt. Try to find artwork by and about Frida Kahlo. There is even a restaurant dedicated to the great Mexican artist named, naturally, Frida’s.
5) Indulge her in her love of good food. Take her to one of the many “Cocina Economicas” in the city where you both will enjoy the best Yucateca food prepared by women who know their way around a kitchen.
6) Bring out the animal in him by taking him to the zoo. Actually, there are two in Merida, each with their own special appeal.
7) Go shopping and buy each other new wardrobes. From local shops selling handmade linen clothing to local malls offering more traditional wares, Merida has it all sewed up in the clothing line.
8) Buy each other Guayabera shirts, the “Mexican Wedding Shirt”, and then sit in a local café planning your wedding.
9) Carnaval
Enjoy Merida’s own Carvaval this year, February 6 – 13.
Cenote

lovers chair
10) Sit by the pool at Casa Del Maya, just relaxing and enjoying each others’ company.
Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Merida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, ticul gargolas, and much more. Casa Del Maya is centrally located for easy access to Merida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.

Temozon, A Furniture-Hunter’s Dream

Author: , November 25th, 2012
Jose's tienda from the street

Jose’s tienda from the street

Just an hour and a half drive from Merida is a small pueblo called Temozón. It’s proximation to the larger town of Valladolid makes it an ideal second stop on a day trip to this wonderfully beautiful area.

We first heard of Temozón through our Spanish teacher, Lulu. She said that if we wanted great hand-crafted furniture, this was the place to go. So off we went one day in search of the little town supposedly filled with wood artisans. We found the town just 10 kilometers north of Valladolid, less than two hours from our front door.

There is only one main road through Temozón, so you are sure to pass every carpenter’s shop in town. Some specialize in specific pieces, such as chairs, both rocking and otherwise. Others offer a host of pieces, from sofas, chairs, and side tables, to beds, wardrobes, dressers, and much more. Stop at every one because you will be constantly surprised at the variety of woods, styles, and finishes. The carpenter we chose to build all the furniture for our B&B will make anything, and do it beautifully.

Furniture awaiting its new owners

Jose has an open tienda on the East end of town. His strong, hand-finished furniture caught our eye from the road. Upon closer inspection we were excited to see the love and care he put into each piece. Jose uses mainly three types of wood: pine, cedar, and tzalam, a local hardwood with beautiful blonde streaks running through it. We had all our furniture made of tzalam, with a light brown finish.

As I said, Jose will make anything you desire; we gave him a picture of a desk and he copied it exactly. But he also has available many stunning pieces ready to go. We especially love his sofas and chairs; they exude a strength of character, yet have a wonderful delicate quality that you just have to see.

It may be a bit difficult to send furniture home, but we feel it will be well worth the effort. This is furniture your nieces and nephews (or children and grandchildren) will be enjoying for generations. And the cost of shipping it is far outweighed by the savings of the furniture itself. I daresay you could not find this furniture in the U.S. for many times the cost of it in Temozón.

Chairs, chairs, and more chairs

Jordy and his partner, Steve, welcome guests to Casa Del Maya Bed & Breakfast in Merida, Mexico. Their six rooms offer hand-crafted Mayan furniture, pasta tile floors, talavera sinks, air conditioning, pool, full breakfast, and much more, all centrally located for easy access to Merida attractions and the Mayan ruin sites of Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, Ek Balam, area cenotes, Celestun, Progreso, and many others. For information and reservations, visit www.CasaDelMaya.com.