There’s so much history in Mexico and guests at the Rancho can see glimpses of it as they ride through the countryside. Two pueblos, El Fresno and La Goleta, are very close to the Rancho and both offer a concrete glimpse of the old haciendas that were once the majestic centers of these villages. The word hacienda is a Spanish word meaning “large estate”, many of which were used as plantations, mines, or factories.
Hacienda El Fresno is located just 40 minutes by horseback to the southeast of the Rancho. It was part of an economic system started by the Spanish in the 16th century. This hacienda basically functioned as a small town and boasted two churches, a main house, a smaller house called the house of stripes (because it was hand painted with lots of blue and white stripes!) as well as an old canteen, mill, stables and much more.
Initially, Hacienda El Fresno was dedicated to the production of corn, but over time the crops were diversified to include cane sugar and henequen (an agave plant), and cattle were raised as well. At its peak, it was a leading hacienda in the State of Mexico because of its use of the latest farming technology and social advances. It offered its own transportation and many services for its workers, which was unheard of at that time.
The hacienda in La Goleta is a model of mid-19th century Spanish architecture located 30 minutes by horseback to the northwest of the Rancho. The main floor had two large courtyards surrounded by 12 rooms, a library, a playroom, a large dining room, kitchens, and chapel. Luxuries such as Spanish tile, marble floors, and French mirrors once adorned the palace-like residence. This building is famous because it was the first in the State of Mexico to have a complete system of running water. Pipes funneled water into the home from the Rio Rosa, over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away.
These are just two of the historic places you can see while on horseback at the Rancho. Come explore them for yourself! When you make your reservation, make sure to let us know you’re a history buff and we’ll make sure you see these sites as well as others.