Authentic Yucatan Recipes—Caldo Tlalpeño

A classic spicy and smoky Mexico soup, caldo tlalpeño will keep your insides warm throughout the “El Norte” winds of January and February. Our chicken soup for the Yucatecan soul is an all time favorite here at Hacienda Petac, and tastes best with avocado and cilantro added at the end.


Recipe: (for four)



1 Avocado

1 cup of garbanzo beans

3 plum tomatoes

½ white onion

1 tsp. chile chipotle salsa

1 ½ liter fresh chicken stock

½ cooked chicken breast, shredded

Salt to taste

4 sprigs of cilantro



Wash the dried garbanzos and soak overnight or boil for at least half an  hour, then let rest for a bit before boiling for at least two hours until beans are soft.


Chop the onion finely. Set aside. Scoop out the seeds of the tomatoes and discard. Chop the tomatoes finely. Set aside.


When the garbanzos are soft, drain them and then put them into the fresh chicken broth. Add the tomatoes and onion, the chipotle sauce, and salt to taste. The soup should simmer for at least one hour for the flavors to blend.


To serve, put a generous lump of shredded chicken into the bottom of a soup bowl, add the soup, and garnish with three or four chunks of avocado and a sprig of cilantro.

Mérida Events— Celebrating 471 Years of Yucatecan Arts and Culture

January 6th marks the birthday of our favorite capital city! Founded in 1542 on what was once the famous Mayan city of T’ho, Mérida, the cultural and artistic epicenter of the Yucatan region, is 471 years old this year.


The celebrations begin on the evening of the 5th and continue throughout the month until the 26th during what is known as the Festival de la Ciudad. The Festival kicks off on the eve of the city’s birthday with the traditional “Alborada,” a serenade performed by hundreds of the area’s singers. Songs and dances continue throughout the evening until the stroke of midnight, when a ringing of bells celebrates officially the birth of the beautiful city.


In proper Catholic tradition, January 6th also marks the Epiphany, or “Los Reyes Magos” as it’s known in Mexico, the feast day that marks the revelation of the Son of God in the form of Jesus Christ. Mexican children are given presents to acknowledge the gifts of the Magi to the baby Jesus and masses are held throughout the day.


Throughout the following weeks, throughout the Festival de la Ciudad, more than 1,000 artists will gather in every neighborhood of Mérida to honor it.  More than 250,000 people are expected to attend the musical events, theatrical performances and artist exhibitions.


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Felices Fiestas

Yucatecan Food Recipes: Poc Chuc

This tender and tangy pork specialty, flavored with sour orange juice, achiote, and onions, is one of our favorite Yucatecan food recipes. Before refrigeration, pork was salted for preservation and acids like orange juice were added to dishes to combat the saltiness. We have been told that this particular recipe originated in the historic town Mani, just about an hour away from Hacienda Petac. We slow cook it over a charcoal fire rather than a pan on the stove, and serve it rolled into corn tortillas. It is perfect following sopa de tortilla and with a cold beer!

Ingredients: (for four)

5 or 6 tender filets of milanesa of pork – try to choose ones without sinew

Juice of 2 sour oranges

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

4 halves of sour orange



Marinade the pork filets in the orange juice, minced garlic, and a dash of black pepper and salt for half an hour.


Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal fire. When the fire is ready, cook the pork filets. Be careful not to overcook them. Since they are thin, they will only need to cook a few minutes on each side.


To serve, put a filet and a half on each plate along with the juice of half a sour orange, roasted tomato chiltomate sauce, and roasted red onion salsa.


Virgin of Guadalupe—The Queen of Mexico

The month of December teems with holidays, saints’ days, and festivals throughout Mexico and the Yucatan. As in most other Catholic countries, the beginning of December marks the time to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This holiday, near and dear to our hearts here at Hacienda Petac, features a few weeks of masses and pilgrimages that culminate in a feast for the Virgin Mary on December 8th. A holy day of obligation, it is filled with folk dances, decorations, and, as ever, plenty of food.


Four days later, on December 12th, our region honors the Blessed Virgin again with the celebration of her icon, the Virgin of Guadalupe. The story of the Virgin and how she came to be the patroness of Mexico dates as far back as 1531, when she appeared miraculously before Aztec-born Juan Diego as he traveled near what is now Mexico City.


As the story goes, the apparition of the Virgin Mary, beautiful and shining on the hillside, came into view before Juan Diego, offered him kind words, and asked for his help to build a shrine in her honor. Uncertain, he sought advice from the Spanish archbishop, who demanded proof of Mary’s existence. Three days later, on December 12th, the Virgin appeared before Juan Diego once more, calling him, “her son” and gently suggesting that he go pick roses from a nearby valley – a place that, during December, grew no flowers. Juan Diego followed her instructions, found the promised roses and returned to the archbishop. When he opened his tilma, or cloak, to reveal the miraculous flowers, an image of the Virgin herself was emblazoned on the inside of it. Stunned and impressed, the archbishop ordered the building of the church after the Virgin and Juan Diego became legendary.


Not until 1745 did the Vatican recognize Juan Diego’s vision as a genuine miracle, but by that time the apparition was already dubbed the Virgin of Guadalupe and the story was enmeshed in Mexican celebrations and folklore. The basilica, indeed built on the spot that she requested, still houses the original tilma with the untarnished image of the Virgin on the inside.


Not a strictly Catholic icon, La Virgen de Guadalupe is portrayed as a young Indian woman with traditional clothing – including a cloak of the color we call Maya blue – and has come to represent the blending of Spanish, Aztec and Mayan cultures. At Hacienda Petac we feature a modern figure of La Guadalupe in the large chapel that serves the village and in which we have wedding ceremonies. She is now the most popular religious and cultural symbol of the area and is celebrated for two weeks each December with daily parades leading up to the 12th, various sacrifices, food, dance and much prayer. Children dress as Juan Diego, donning moustaches and cloaks, and adults fashion altars to the Virgin from palm fronds, flowers and balloons.


If visiting Hacienda Petac in the next few weeks or the area nearby, you might even see one of our favorite parts of the holiday: the Virgin’s torch runners. The runners, who have trained throughout the year, go throughout the city and across the country with torches alight in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Some plan long lone expeditions all of the way to Mexico City, some are cheered on by a motorcade, some participate in relays and travel short distances, but all run as thanks for prayers fulfilled in the past year or as promises for the upcoming one. By 10 am on December 12th, the runners return to Mérida, where processionals, music, confetti and fireworks welcome them to morning mass and the rest of the day’s celebrations.


This time of the year makes us feel a bit nostalgic here at Hacienda Petac, and we find ourselves humbled every time we walk past the Hacienda’s modern statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe as she sits in the beautiful, full-sized chapel on the Hacienda grounds. We aren’t the only ones, already are there sounds of fireworks from the village in anticipation of the celebrations. Come see La Guadalupe for yourself, hear the mañanitas, the morning songs that people sing on the way to Mass, eat some poc choc, and cheer for the torch runners as they make their way to the city.




Museums in Merida—A Visitors Guide

As the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán and home to over 970,000 people, the city of Mérida, just half an hour from Hacienda Petac, is the peninsula’s cultural fulcrum. Long time home to museums, galleries and theaters, the city’s denotation as “Cultural Capital of the Americas” in 2000 worked to further encourage the celebration of Yucatecan history and culture. Below find our guide to some of the most impressive cultural attractions that Mérida has to offer.


1. MACAY (The Contemporary Art Museum Ateneo of Yucatán)


Housed in what was once the city’s armory, this post-colonial collection of art features the permanent exhibits of three local artists, temporary exhibits that change every 3-4 months, and an outdoor sculpture garden. Considered a cultural nucleus of the city, MACAY publishes a newsletter, features both a radio and a television program, and hosts educational workshops for kids throughout the year.

Free Admission

Location: Pasaje de la Revolución entre 58 y 60. Mérida


2. Galería Mérida


The largest private gallery in the city, Galería Mérida was founded by two artists –a Mérida local and an American ex-pat – and is dedicated exclusively to showcasing local contemporary and fine artists.

Location: Calle 59 #452A x 54 y 52, El Centro Histórico, Mérida


3. Mérida City Museum


A beautifully curated, three story museum in what was once the Federal Post Office, the Museo de la Ciudad de Mérida, has four official historians – elected for life – on staff to help guide visitors. Permanent exhibitions, and galleries such as the “Mayan Room” and the “Spanish Conquest Room” display artifacts from throughout the city’s history.

Location: Calle 56 entre Calles 65 & 67, El Centro, Mérida


4. Governor’s Palace


Featuring the work of celebrated Mérida artist Fernando Castro Pacheco, this turn of the century palace tells the often harrowing story of the city’s history through a series of the artist’s murals. 

Free Admission

Location: Palacio Gobierno61, Centro, Mérida


5. The Yucatan Music Museum


Music, an ever-important part of Yucatecan culture, is celebrated in the Museum de la Canción, through exhibitions, instruments, workshops, and outdoor concerts in the courtyard. The museum is not particularly English-speaking tourist friendly, but when have language barriers ever impeded a person’s love for music?

Location: 57 468, Centro, 97000 Mérida


6. Yucatan Museum of Anthropology

 Not only a stunning nod to Baroque-Mannerist architecture from the turn of the century, this museum showcases jewelry, pottery, masks, stone carvings, bones and skulls from the history of man on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Location: Paseo de Montejo and Calle 43, Mérida


7. La Perifería


A little gallery and performance space founded and run by young Yucatecan artists, “The Periphery” is dedicated to the documentation, investigation and promotion of the area’s burgeoning art scene. 

Location: Calle 54 #468 entre 53 y 55, Mérida


8. Olimpo Cultural Center


The city’s cultural center, the Olimpo is one part theater, one part museum, and one part planetarium. The historic building – in and of itself a destination – features film festivals, concerts, conferences, and dance performances throughout the year.

Location: Corner of Calle 62 & 61 Centro Historico, Mérida 

About Hacienda Petac

Hacienda Petac is one of the most extraordinary vacation experiences in the world. A Premier Class Resort, this historic estate near Mérida, Yucatán offers five-star luxury to just one group at a time.

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