Photographic Adventures in Paradise
We visited the Mundaca ruins recently. They now have built a huge palapa style structure at the entrance. ( Sorry no photo of it). We were showing some Isla Virgins around and stopped there on our golf cart excursion. I found it to be an interesting place. They have a small museum on the grounds with some old pictures of Isla that gave us an idea of what Isla looked like long ago. When I had time I did a little research about the pirate and this is what I found out about him:
The self proclaimed pirate Mundaca was born in 1825 in the village of Bermeo of Santa Maria, Spain. His full name was Feramin Antonio Mundaca de Marechega. During his adolescence he shipped off to seek adventure on the high seas. He eventually became a slave trader in the Caribbean, selling Mayan slaves to Cuban plantation owners. His voyages as a slaver brought him to Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women) many times. His practice of selling Myan’s into slavery did not endear him to the locals. The island got it’s name because it is where many pirates would often leave their women for safekeeping while they were at sea. In 1858 the British Royal Navy started to crack down on pirate slavers. So Mundaca now very wealthy, sailed back to Isla Mujeres to stay. He bought 40% of the island and built an estate with a hacienda in the middle of it. He named it “Vista Alegre” (Happy View.)
While building his hacienda and estate , he fell in love with a young Mayan girl the first time he laid his eyes on her. Her name was Martiniana Gomez Pantoja.(born in 1862) She had green eyes like the surf and bronze skin . He built her a beautiful garden with great stone arches where he carved her name, La Triguena, (The Brunette) above the apex. Between the arches he constructed a garden sundial, eight raised garden sections around a well in the shape of an octagon. When La Triguna shunned his advances and wed a local man her own age, Mundaca went insane. (Mundaca was 37 years her senior.) He whiled away his days planting flowers in his garden and wandering the beaches, stuffing stones in his pockets, which he tossed into his well filling it. His discontent grew with the knowledge he could never have the woman he loved. He carved himself a gravestone upon which he chiseled a Jolly Roger, and then built himself a granite tomb in the cemetery. He wallowed the days in sorrow as La Triguena continued to ignore him while she built a family. He left the island in 1880 and died later the same year in Merida of the plague. (He was 55 at the time of his death.) His estate and grave growing old together, without him.
The inscription on his empty grave reads,
“Lo que tu eres, yo fui
lo que lo soy, luego seras”
(“As you are, I was – as I am, you will be”)
The original entrance to the Mundaca Estate:
The garden pond and viewing benches:
The garden arch, and well filled with stones
The Hacienda ruin:
Small museum containing pictures of Isla & items relating to Mundaca:
Plaque on museum wall:
Before & after pictures of Isla inside the museum:
View of Mundaca’s Estate from the museum rooftop:
Mundaca’s empty tomb in the cemetery near Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres:
Mundaca’s Jolly Roger:
Current inhabitants of the Estate:
This was an interesting place to visit. The Estate is huge and there are many walking trails to explore. A large bathroom facility was available. The estate was clean and a fun place to take pictures and learn about the Legend of Mundaca the Pirate. Tip:……..bring mosquito repellent!
Paco Negrete´s art school students are joining together to present some of their works at the , for a week long showing. The Center is located conveniently on Tulum on the inner road next to the Casino. The map is below as well as a picture of the bldg. The exact address is Av. Tulum SM20 Mz8.
I took some photos during the setup stage this morning and they are below. They are all oil on canvas paintings. Move to follow as the event unfolds.
The exhibit opens to the public at 7pm tonight Friday Feb. 3. Please stop to see all the beautiful works of art.
We were in the hotel zone to drop off our Absentee Ballots at the American Consulate so we stopped at the nearby entrance to Playa Marlin to check it out. They have built a ramp and stairs and places to sit as well as bathrooms. Very nicely done and very much needed improvement. Way to go Cancun!