**** This is a package intended for students to carry out social service and help less favored people in Mexico. If any adult group want to join this package please contact us ****
Fri Day 01: USA / Merida-Mexico
This morning you will be make your own way to the airport for your flight to Merida. On arrival at Merida, we clear immigration and customs and proceed to the hotel where rooms are reserved for a good night’s rest. Our local staff with be waiting at the exit to greet you and welcome you aboard the coach.
Overnight: Del Gobernador Hotel. (D)
Sat Day 02: Merida / School & Evening welcome tradition.
Good Morning and Welcome to Mexico! We have our breakfast at 8:30am, with time afterwards for a quick briefing the today’s activities, and the whole Mexico trip.
At 9:30am, you will be met at the hotel and escorted to one of the most prestigious private local schools in the Yucatan – The Centro Educativo Piaget AC. Here you will have a 1 hour history lesson on Mexican & Yucatan history from the early civilizations to the contemporary present. (10am – 11:00am).
Get out your notebooks as we have a one hour Spanish survival language class that will follow this History lesson. You will interact and be immersed with the local grade 8 & 9 students from this school. Student Cultural Performance 11:45am – 12:15pm).
Immediately after, we will proceed to our hotel for lunch at around 12:30pm to 1:30pm.
From here at, 2:00pm we proceed to market for a Treasure Hunt where the students will have search for small items that will be needed at the Orphanage Pastoral del Amor. (2:00pm – 3:00pm).
At 3:00pm we will proceed to the Orphanage where we will meet with Orphans and bring them some educational toys. Sing songs and perform some mentoring. Present check. Meet the Press.
At 4:00pm, we will take the Orphans on a rare outing for them, we’re off to the Merida Zoo. At 6:00pm, separate coaches will transfer them back to their home and we proceed to downtown to Paseo de Montejo. From 6:30pm to 7:30pm we can enjoy a walk along the broad avenues to view the huge manor homes built long ago by the barons of Merida. We meet at 7:30pm in front of the Motherland monument for a group photo. Leave from here at 8:00pm back to the hotel for dinner.
Overnight: The Del Gobernador. (B,L,D)
Sun Day 03: Mérida – Community Service, Hacienda & City Tour.
This morning we have an early breakfast at 7:00am, and board our coach at 7:30am with our tour escort to one of Merida’s poorer sections where we will perform community service. This will be supervised by the municipality personnel. We will participate in street cleaning, house painting, house repairs, and park clean up teamed up with the weekly volunteers of the city Merida.
8:00am – 10:00am: These volunteers will be so pleased to have your help. A full day will be designed and set up in advance of your arrival. Late this morning, each student will be presented with a certificate from the City of Merida showing their gratitude.
Return to the hotel at 11:00am to freshen up and then drive to the outskirts of Merida to a working farm.
Next we drive at 11:30am sharp to Hacienda Satuta de Peon which is a working farm where its main product is the Sisal plant. This produces the strongest natural fibre in the world. We break for lunch. (1:00pm – 2:00pm) and then enjoy a tour of the Mexican farm.
In the early 1990’s a Mexico City banker bought up many haciendas, enhanced them through major restorations and turned them into upscale hotels. Then the Yucatecan people, who had these haciendas in their families, started looking at these land holdings with different eyes. They also started pouring money into them with the idea of using them for tourism. Today, some haciendas are hotels, some are private homes, some are still working to make henequen and some are still deserted and lying in ruins.
The hacienda Sotuta de Peon is a hacienda that has just been restored by the Shangri-La Group and is now open to the public. Located 35 kilometers (30 minutes) south of Merida, off the Convent Route, this working hacienda offers an opportunity to see how henequen is processed while experiencing the grandeur and magnificence of the hacienda buildings.
After lunch, we will proceed by our coach for a tour of Merida. We will visit the Central Square, the Governors House, Montejo’s House, the city hall, the 60th street, the Jesuits church, the university, the oldest Cathedral in the American continent, the Paseo Montejo and the Motherland monument. After the tour we will then have a walk around the area to enjoy the Saturday Fiesta downtown.
This evening we enjoy dinner together at a local downtown restaurant.
Overnight: The Del Gobernador Hotel. (B,L,D)
Mon Day 04: Mérida / Uxmal / Kabah / Chichén Itzá. (Private Coach).
This morning after breakfast at 7:30am we continue to Uxmal which is another amazing UNESCO Heritage site. Here we visit the Magician pyramid, the nunnery quadrangle, another ball court, the governor’s palace, the turtle’s palace, the parrot’s quadrangle, the macaw pyramid and many other sights. Arrive at 9:00am.Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatan Peninsula, and at its height was home to about 25,000 Mayans. Like the other Puuc sites, it flourished from 600-900 A.D. The name Uxmal means ‘thrice-built’ in Mayan, referring to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician. The Pyramid of the Soothsayer, as the Spaniards called it, dominates the ceremonial center. (9:00am / 10:30am at Uxmal).
Its rulers are said to have presided over the nearby settlements of Kabah, Labna and Sayil, considered the pinnacle of Mayan art and
Architecture. We will visit Kabah from 11:00am – 11:30am.
Next we will drive at 11:30am to the world famous ruins at Chichen Itza reaching at 1:30pm and begin lunch immediately. We will visit the UNESCO heritage site and see the Kulkulkan Pyramid (also known as the Castle), the Ball Court where they played sports, the warriors temple, the thousand columns temple, the observatory, the church and the sacrifices well, the Venus platforms, the Eagles and the Jaguars Temple.
THE PRE-HISPANIC CITY OF CHICHÉN-ITZÁ (2:30pm through 5:30pm)
Chichén-Itzá is one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites in
Mexico, located two hours by bus from Cancun. It is two cities: one was
ruled by the Mayans from the 6th to the10th century A.D. and the other was
a Toltec-Mayan city that emerged in 1000 A.D. The site combines Toltec
and Mayan influences and is ripe with cosmological symbolism. Its four
sides contain 365 steps, 52 panels and 18 terraces (for the 18 months of the
religious year). The site also contains a cenote (limestone sacred well or
sinkhole) and an observatory.
5:30pm – 6:00pm free time to shop at the stalls.
6:30pm This evening witness a spectacular sound and light show in the central plaza of
Chichen Itza. Dinner at our hotel. TONIGHT: Enjoy a Piñata Party at our hotel.
Overnight: The Mayaland Hotel. (B,L,D)
Tue Day 05: Chitchen Itza / Tulum / Xel Ha / Cancún / Mexico City.
After breakfast at 8:00am, we will drive to Tulum and arrive at 9:30am. (90 mintues) This is a famous archaeological site superbly located on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Tulum and its name: Tulum’s greatest attraction is its location. It stands on a bluff facing the rising sun looking out on views of the Caribbean that are nothing less than spectacular. In Maya, Tulum means “Wall”, and the city was christened thus because it is a walled city; one of the very few the ancients ever built. Research suggests it was formerly called Zama or “to dawn” in its day, which is appropriate given the location. It seems “Tulum” is the name given the site following a visit by the explorers Stephens and Catherwood in 1841, just before the beginning of the Caste War in 1847, long after the city was abandoned and fell to ruins. They ordered trees cleared and Catherwood made illustrations of temples, later to be published in their famous book “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan”. Juan José Gálvez is actually credited with Tulum’s rediscovery in 1840. Our visit is over in 45 minutes due to small site.
At 10:30am, we drive another 40 minutes to Xel Ha marine park where there will be time for swimming, snorkeling and many water activities at the beautiful lagoons. Here you will be able to really enjoy the beauty of Mexico’s waters with rope swings, many secluded pools to relax in as well as a unique floating bridge. There is also a Jungle Train ride that takes you into the surrounding area to get a feel for unspoilt beauty.
At 11:30am we board the Jungle train and ride through the park to have an idea of all it offers.
At 12:15pm back at the central area, we proceed for lunch through 1:15pm.
Now the rest of the afternoon is at leisure to snorkel from 1:30pm to 4:00pm.
At 4:00pm sharp, we drive to Cancún airport to arrive by 5:00pm in time for our connecting flight to Mexico City. (gives us 90 minutes to check in and board)
On arrival this evening, we will be met by our coaches and drive to the hotel and dinner.
Overnight: The Regente Hotel. (B,L,D)
Wed Day 06: Mexico City / Guadalupe / Teotihuacán / México.
After breakfast, we proceed by our private coach to the ancient city of Teotihuacán, located in the southern part of Mexico City.
PRE-HISPANIC CITY OF TEOTIHUACÁN
The archaeological zone of Teotihuacan is one of the country’s major tourist attractions. In the past it was one of the largest and most complex metropolis in pre-Hispanic Mexico. Its main structures include the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, as well as an on-site museum. The culture that produced this magnificent city originated in the first century A.D., reaching its peak between the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., and subsequently declining until it was eventually abandoned.
This afternoon we drive to Guadalupe, the second largest Roman Catholic pilgrimage site in the world (after the Vatican). The Basilica is located in Mexico City, in the southern neighborhood of Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo (or simply “la Villa”):
“I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection. Because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; to listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me.” Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego (Nican Mopohua) .
Return to Garibaldi Square to witness a mariachi band and then return to the hotel for dinner.
Overnight: The Regente Hotel. (B,L,D)
Thu Day 07: México City – City Tour, Anthropology & Coyoacan.
This morning after breakfast at 8:30am we set out for a morning tour of México City. We begin with the Main Square (Zócalo), The Cathedral, The Government Palace, The National Art Museum, The Old Post Office, The Almeda Central Park, the Paseo de la Reforma Avenue and finally the Chapultepec Park and Castle Area (castle is only drive by visit). We end the tour at 10:30am.
We will continue with a treat of all Museums – A visit to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City from 11:00am to 12:30pm. We will visit the Olmec, Teotithuacan, Aztec, Mayan and Zapotec rooms with amazing pieces of art on display.
After lunch we will continue with our afternoon visit and a stop at Coyoacan another suburb of Mexico City. 1:15pm – 2:15pm we break for lunch in Coyoacan.
This afternoon from 2:30pm to 3:30pm we proceed on a tour of Frida Kahlo’s home.
Down a cobblestone street lined with stately mansions, the visitor enters this world of beautiful plazas, art galleries, restaurants and picturesque hustle and bustle. Its privileged location led to its eminence as a pre-Hispanic center founded on the shores of the ancient lake, seat of government during the reconstruction of Tenochtitlan and home to magnificent residences grouped around the 16th Century Franciscan cloister. It is here, around the atrium of the Saint John the Baptist church, where the social life of Coyoacan unfolds, enriched by cafés, bars, bookstores, museums of the city.
From 3:30pm we walk from Frida Kahlo’s home to the Saturday market which is bustling with business and an excellent idea of the culture of Mexico. Here you will have 90 minutes to stroll with your teachers to get a feel for the area. At 5:00pm, return to the hotel to freshen up and at 7:30pm proceed to La Fonda Restaurant for dinner. 6;30pm -8:00pm)
Overnight: The Regente Hotel. (B,L,D)
Fri Day 08: México City – Xochimilco & Evening Ballet.
After breakfast at 8:30am we set out to visit one of the many traditional Sunday bazaars of the city. All kinds of Mexican handmade items are on sale. This traditional market is where the locals find their curios and small items and handicrafts and this is a spot that tourists usually don’t know about. So another cultural experience for you from 9:00am to 10:45am.
Later this morning at 11:00am, we move on to visit the National University, one of the oldest (1553) and biggest in the continent. Visit the famous murals by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco located here. We are here until 12:30pm.
From the University we drive at 12:30pm to the wonderful canal city of Xochimilco. The possibility of traveling through time is an endeavor best left to philosophers; however, visits to places such as Xochimilco present us with the opportunity to imagine the former character of this region, which was the main water catchments area for Mexico City up until the 19th Century. The tamed wilderness, or the country in the city, is two of the likely descriptions which can be applied to this lake which struggles to survive against the encroaching urban mass.
We reach at 1:15pm and immediately board the boats. Lunch served at the Lake’s floating
From Xochimilco, we leave by our coaches at 3:00pm and travel back to the main square of
Zocalo reaching at 3:30pm.
Here the students and instructors will have 90 minutes to soak up the atmosphere in one of Mexico’s main squares. What will you learn. Stroll around the square with your teacher and
Report back by 4:30pm to our coaches and return to the hotel. Dinner from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.
At 6:00pm we will transfer and enjoy the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The Folkloric Ballet of Amalia Hernadez has won hundreds of awards since it began in 1961. The Ballet is performed in the Palace of the Fine Arts. Return to our hotel later this evening.
Overnight: The Regente Hotel. (B,L,D)
Sat Day 09: Mexico City / USA.
Board your non-stop flight to USA.
Overnight: En Route. (B)