Last Thursday it was my pleasure to tag along with Jim Cook and Jim Boles on the latest adventure of the Fearless Hacienda Hunters of Ajijic.
I have long admired the Cooks’ blog, Jim & Carole’s Mexican Adventure, which describes, among a great many fascinating sites, 16 haciendas – a mere sampling of the many they have visited over the years. In my opinion, locating a typical hacienda is difficult enough, but getting inside to have a look around often requires considerable investigative and diplomatic skills, with which Los Cazadores de Haciendas seem amply blessed.
Jim Cook told me he had been searching out these old casonas for over five years and had succeeded in visiting many of the most famous. Nowadays, he said, the group was tracking down more elusive haciendas and there was no guarantee we’d find something of interest.
Our first stop was in the little town of Santa Teresa, situated just west of Tequila. Surrounding this pueblito we found vast fields covered with blue-green agaves. In the center of town, we found a plaque telling us that all those agaves used to be grown for Ana González, owner of La Rojeña Distillery (one of the first two commercial tequila distilleries) and owner of the 19th century Hacienda Santa Teresa, which, we quickly discovered, was a bit hard to see, having been integrated right into the present-day life of the town. For example, part of it had been turned into what seemed to me “The World’s Longest and Skinniest Church,” with numerous doors along one wall, opening into small classrooms.