Last year, members of the Guadalajara-based group Jalisco Desconocido located and explored the remains of the abandoned Hacienda de Ibarra, hidden deep inside a canyon at the north end of the city.
In recent days the team was able to visit isolated and hard-to-reach La Florida, one of Mexico’s most elegant casonas and one of the favorite haunts of President Porfirio Díaz, who served seven terms between 1877 and 1911, when at the start of the Mexican Revolution, he was forced to resign and went into exile.
La Florida, first known as Villa Aloha, is located in the small town of Atequiza, Jalisco, just ten kilometers north of Lake Chapala. It is said to have been constructed around 1876 by the powerful Cuesta-Gallardo family.
“For them, this was just a country house,” writes El Duque de Tlaquepaque in El Informador newspaper. “But today we might catalog it as a sort of combination palace and pavilion. It served as a luxury rest stop where Porfirio Díaz and Carmelita and their elegant entourage could tarry for a few days before continuing their journey from the capital to the paradisiacal Lake of Chapala, which, at the end of the 1800s was très a la mode as the place to vacation during Semana Santa.”