A dilapidated estate, Hacienda Mundaca (Av. Rueda Medina at Carr. Garrafón Km. 3.5, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, US$1.75) is hardly worth the admission yet continues to be promoted as one of Isla’s top sights. It was built in the mid-1800s by Fermín Antonio Mundaca de Marechaga, a former African slave trader and pirate, to woo an islander with whom he’d fallen in love.
The woman—called La Trigueña because of her dark blond hair, after the Spanish word trigo, or wheat—did not return Mundaca’s affections and instead married another man before the hacienda was completed. Mundaca didn’t take the news well, becoming despondent and a bit crazed, leaving his property to decay, the crops to rot, and the animals to die.
He eventually left the island and died in Mérida. (Though Mundaca isn’t buried on Isla Mujeres, his tombstone, which he carved himself, is in the island’s downtown cemetery—look for the skull and crossbones and the inscription Como tú eres yo fui, y como yo soy, tu serás (As you are, I was, and as I am, you will be).
The most impressive aspect of Hacienda Mundaca is that it manages to attract enough visitors to stay open. It’s the legend behind it, perhaps, that keeps people coming.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition