Trips & Excursions:
The Institute of Modern Spanish periodically arranges trips to surrounding villages, Mayan ruins, and haciendas including--Tixcocob (Small Village) Hammock Excursion, Dzibilchaltún Ruins & Museum / Progreso Beach, Izamal Sacred Village with Convent & Mayan Ruins, Cuzama Three Cenotes (sink holes), San Cristano Mangroves, and Sotuta de Peon (hacienda), among others. Most of these trips cost under US$20.00.
We also assist students with travel arrangements to cultural locations and nearby resort areas by making reservations on behalf of the student with a local travel agent/tour operator. These sites include Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Celestún, and Ruta Puuc. The travel agent that the Institute of Modern Spanish recommends provides excellent service at economical rates. Average full day trip price is US$37.00. There is no additional cost for this service. You can either pre-register for these trips at (U.S. bank check or credit card payment--see below), or pay once you are in Merida (Mexican peso cash payment). The most popular trips are Chichen Itza, Uxmal & Kabah, and Uxmal Light and Sound show.
TRIPS PRE-PAYMENT INFORMATION: We understand that preparing for a trip out of the country requires lots of planning. While you are planning how much spending money to bring—weather in cash or traveler’s checks—you may be wondering how much you will spend on trips and excursions in Mérida. In order to eliminate this question from your trip planning—and make your time in the Yucatán more convenient for you—we offer pre-payment for major trips to the famous Mayan ruins sites of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal as well as several other trips explained below. While we accept cash payments for these trips once you are in Mérida, pre-payments can be made with Visa/Mastercard or personal check from a U.S. Bank. Our prices are competitive, and our service provider is excellent! Visit Institute of Modern Spanish payment site to pre-pay for trips.
If you will be arriving Friday or Saturday—you can take advantage of your first days in the Yucatán by taking a tour to Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, or Celestún. When you pre-pay your trip online, we will deliver your trip tickets to your host family’s home or hotel. Your host family will have specific instruction to help you arrive for your trip departure. Full day trips depart from the Fiesta Americana hotel close to host families’ homes at 8:45AM or 9:00AM. Refunds are given only in the case the tour operator cancels the tour.
The most famous of the Mayan ruin sites in the Yucatán. Recommended for either a Saturday or a Sunday. Full day excursion with 9:00AM departure and evening return (5:30PM). Includes transportation in air-conditioned motor coach, bilingual guide, visits to the major Mayan ruin site of "Chichén Itzá," and lunch at hotel with time for swimming if desired. Entrance fee paid at ruin site are approximately US$17.00.
Uxmal Light & Sound
Recommended for a weekday afternoon--students leave classes a few minutes early for a prompt 1:00PM departure from Merida. Arrival at the Uxmal Mayan ruin site is at 3:00PM. Students have two hours to explore the ruins which close for the day at 5:00PM. Students enjoy a buffet dinner at a near-by hotel (with optional swimming) and return to the ruin site in the late evening for the Light & Sound show. Return to Merida is around 10:00PM. Tour includes transportation in air conditioned motor coach, bilingual guide, buffet dinner, and Light & Sound show. Entrance fees paid at ruin site are approximately US$17.00.
Ruta Puuc and Loltún Caves
Available Sundays only. 8:45AM departure visiting Mayan ruin sites including Sayhil and Labná and a short guided hike through the underground caverns of Loltún. Transportation in air conditioned motor coach or van and bilingual guide. Highly recommended tour! While there are recommended dates for these tours—sign up for any Sunday and we can place you with other students or tourists to meet the minimum. Entrance fees are paid at ruin sites are approximately US$15.00.
Celestún Beach and Wild life Reserve
Full day trip recommended for Saturday or Sunday. 8:45AM departure Westward from Mérida toward the gulf beach shore town of Celestún. Upon arrival to Celestún, students take a boating tour of a wild life reserve which includes flamingos and 100s of other species. The tour includes a visit to a fresh water spring and through a mangrove tunnel. Tour includes transportation in air conditioned motor coach or van, bilingual guide, boat ride through wildlife reserve, and time for lunch at the beach. 5:30PM return arrival to Merida.
Tixcocob Hammock making village tour with cenote
Students depart from the Institute of Modern Spanish at 1:00PM. Upon arrival to Tixcocob, you will visit a local cenote or holly sink well, and have time to swim and eat a sack lunch (supplied by host family). Later there is a walking tour of the main square and church. Students are invited into the home of a local family where the family explains how hammocks are made and how the economy of the family and village are maintained through this industry. The students help the family prepare an evening meal of "Salbutes"--typical Yucatecan tacos. Transportation, meal, and refreshments included. Students always give great reviews of their experience in Tixcocob!
What to Bring:
It is important to wear comfortable shoes, to bring water, and to have something to protect yourself from the son—a hat or umbrella. With the exception of Ruta Puuc, the trips include some time for swimming—weather it be in the swimming pool of the restaurant or at the beach. For that reason, it is important to remember to bring your swim wear and towel. In the case of Uxmal Light & Sound, the meal that is included is dinner. Therefore, we recommend that you ask your host family to prepare a sandwich for you to take along. Please let them know one day prior.
INSTITUTE OF MODERN SPANISH EXCURSIONS
The Institute of Modern Spanish organizes the following excursions when demand exists (minimum of 5 students). Special Arrangements can be made for groups of 3 and 4 students. Normally, there is one tour per week, and excursions are rotated. Therefore, in a four week stay, a student can do all four trips. In the case that there are various students whose stays are shorter then 4 weeks, we can arrange to take more then one trip per week. Cost of these excursions is approximately US$18.50/person (as of January , 2007).
IMPORTANT FOR YOUR SAFETY: All excursions include the option of swimming in sink holes (cenotes). Most sink holes are 50 meters or more deep. If you do not swim well or have a medical condition, please let us know in advance. We will help you acquire a life jacket. Sink holes—Cenotes—are still fabulous sites to visit even if you choose not to swim. Consider bringing a life jacket of your own. The Institute of Modern Spanish is not responsible for events beyond its control nor accidents please review our policies for more information.
Tixcocob Hammock Excursion
Students depart from the Institute of Modern Spanish at 1:00PM. Upon arrival to Tixcocob, the students visit a local cenote (sink hole), and have time to swim and eat a sack lunch (supplied by host family). Later, there is a walking tour of the main square and church. Students are invited into the home of a local family where the family explains how hammocks are made and how the economy of the family and village are maintained through this industry. The students help the family prepare an evening meal of "Salbutes"--typical Yucatecan tacos. Transportation, evening meal, and refreshments included. NOTE: The meal that is included is dinner (evening meal). Therefore, we recommend that you ask your host family to prepare a sandwich for you to take along. Please let them know one day prior.
Dizibilchaltún Maya Ruins & Lunch at the Beach
Depart the Institute of Modern Spanish at 1:00PM with sack lunch (supplied by host family) for the Mayan ruin site of Dzibilchaltún which is about 15 minutes from the Institute. Explore the ruins, swim in the Xlacah ground level cenote (sink hole), and visit the Museum of the Mayan Pueblo. Depart the Mayan ruins about 4:00PM for the quaint beach town of Progreso. Relax at a beach side restaurant for a nice sea food meal. Transportation only. NOTE: The meal is late lunch. Therefore, we recommend that you ask your host family to prepare a snack or sandwich for you to take along. Please let them know one day prior. Additional Expenses: Entrance fee $58 pesos and meal approximately $80 pesos. Optional Guide: $250.00/Number of students
Izamal Holy City
1:00PM departure from Institute. Students arrive at the small town of Izamal in time for a nice lunch in the most authentic Yucatecan restaurant—famous for Puc Chuuc and Sopa de Lima. After lunch, students explore the Mayan ruins located within the town. The next stop on this walking tour is to visit the monastery and church made famous during the colonial times as the head of the Catholic church in Yucatan. The Pope visited this city in 1986. His visit attracted hundreds of thousands of people. The entire city of Izamal is painted egg-yolk yellow—the holy color for the Mayan people. Transportation only. Approximate cost of afternoon meal $80 pesos.
Cuzuma: Three Cenotes
IMPORTANT: Cenotes are very deep—swim at your own risk.
This adventure excursion departs the Institute of Modern Spanish at 1:00PM for a 2:30PM arrival at Cuzuma. Along the way to Cuzuma, there are several photo opportunities as we pass through small villages with haciendas and churches. Upon arrival to the remote village of Cuzuma, students take a seven kilometer rail trip into the jungle via horse-drawn platform buggies. There are stops at three cenotes: Chelentun (Laying Doan Rock), Chansinic’che (tree with small ants), and Bolonchoojol (nine drops of water). This excursion is rather “rustic” with limited availability for changing clothes—please leave the institute prepared to swim. NOTE: There is no meal included on this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you ask your host family to prepare a sandwich for you to take along. Please let them know one day prior.
San Crisanto Mangroves
Excellent excursion option for a relaxing afternoon. Excursion departs the Institute at 1:00PM for the beach of San Cristano. The tour consists of a half hour ride in gondola style boats through shallow canals that tunnel through the mangroves to reach a cenote. There is time for swimming in the cenote. This excursion is rather “rustic” with limited availability for changing clothes—please leave the institute prepared to swim. NOTE: There is no meal included on this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you ask your host family to prepare a sandwich for you to take along. Please let them know one day prior.
Recommended Excursion “Sotuta de Peon” Living/Working Hacienda
This excursion departs at 11:00AM for a fully restored and operational henequen plantation—living museum. Tour start at 12:00 noon and includes a tour of the fully restored main house, an explanation of rope production from henequen (also known as sisal), and a tour of surrounding machinery buildings. The tour also includes a horse drawn platform ride through henequen fields to a semi-opened cenote for swimming. Highly recommended excursion. It is important to make reservations two days in advance. Classes missed for this excursion can not be made up. COSTS: $400.00 pesos for transportation and tour and $180.00 pesos for meal (as of January, 2007).