Monday, March 9, 2009

Real de Salinas, Hacienda Salinera


Heading toward the hacienda ruins.


Pablo found the sign and he set it up on the chapel wall next to the doorway.

If you have taken a boat excursion into the Ría Celestún Biosphere, you have most likely seen the ruins of this old hacienda from a distance in one of the inlets. From March through August (approximately) the flamingos are in residence and the guides point out the old salt mine. On our last boat trip into the reserve, our guide showed us the cairn, or pile of stones, in the inlet, marking the "ojo de agua dulce" or freshwater spring that once supplied the hacienda with all of its fresh water.


Some of the old buildings surrounded by a rock wall.

I have written about Celestún in previous posts, specifically "Pink Flamingos" in May '08 and "Celestún" in November '08. I have been to the area several times now and have begun to take side trip adventures. My last post featured the salt beach on the way to this hacienda.






The salt and dyewood processing plant was built around 1918, and was at maximum production in 1927. Due to several seasons of excessive rain and flooding, the operation was shut down in 1942. Today it is in ruins. The buildings have decayed in a scenic way however, with seashells in the walls mixed with the building materials. There are pieces of French roofing tiles that served as ballast in ships that sailed to the Yucatán from Europe. The plant employed many workers, as evidenced by the remains of house platforms, a roofless chapel complete with pasta tiles, and other unidentified (by me, that is!) buildings on the site.






To visit to the Real de Salinas Hacienda Salinera, one option is to bicycle from Celestún, and another is to drive in your vehicle. It is located about 5 kms. inland from the mouth of the estuary. Coming from Celestún heading east, take the third avenue to the right (heading south). It is a dirt and gravel road but easily negotiable and takes you out to the peninsula between the estuary and its western arm. If you have trouble finding it, you can also ask for directions to Punta Lastre, or Ballast Point.

A view of the Lagoon from Punta Lastre, the end of the road.

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