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MEXICO

Yucatan Peninsula Adventure: Kayak, Snorkel and Explore the Land of the Maya

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Road Scholar
Program #21189RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Mar 8 — Mar 16, 2014

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: This new hotel provides guests with excellent service, spacious rooms and open public areas. One of the most important highlights of this property is its location, only 5 minutes from Cancun International Airport. Courtyard by Marriott Cancun offers a free shuttle to its beach club, and also to Cancun's downtown area.

Contact info:
Bvl. Luis Donaldo Colosio Km. 12.5 Lte. 1 SMZA.301
Quintana Roo, Mexico
phone: +52 -998-2872200
web: http://www.marriott.com

Room amenities: High speed internet access, desk, a large LCD TV, and air-conditioning.

Facility amenities: The hotel has an excellent restaurant serving a variety of delicious dishes. El Henequen resembles an old elegant ''Hacienda'' from the Yucatan Peninsula. The hotel also features a swimming pool.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Please contact your program provider, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for information on availability and rates.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Saturday, March 08 - Flights from the U.S./Arrivals in Cancun, Yucatan...
Arrive To: International flight arrivals in Cancun, Mexico. Transfer to your hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.
Note: Please note that this is an international travel day and does not include any meals or program activities. Hotel check-in begins at 3 p.m.

Lodging: Courtyard Marriott Cancun

Type: Resort

Description: Mayaland was the first hotel built at Chichen Itza (in 1923) and, with its superb location amidst the temples, the first within an ancient site in the world. In its way, it's as much a landmark as the pyramids that tower above it. Mayaland is a creation of Old Yucatan, built and operated by its original owners and their descendants in a style reminiscent of the hacienda nobility of a century ago. Its air of genteel hospitality and old-fashioned charm is a legacy enhanced by the addition of every amenity. The grounds are alive with birdsong and butterflies, and all the exotic fruits and flowers of tropical Yucatan. Over 100 acres of gardens surround the main house. The main building was designed by Sylvanus G. Morley, the head of the Carnegie expedition that rebuilt Chichen Itza in the 1920's. Its Hacienda style main corridor faces the Mayan Observatory. The Mayaland Hotel is an experience in itself; one that will enrich your stay at Chichen Itza.

Contact info:
Near Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza, Mexico
phone: +800-2354079
web: www.mayaland.com/mayaland.php

Room amenities: Spacious air-conditioned rooms with ceiling fans, satellite TV, mini bars, bathroom hand-tiled in ceramic, marble and stone, tubs, and breezy private balconies.

Facility amenities: Pools, four restaurants, convention hall, masseuse, craft shop, tennis courts, interconnected paths, over five kilometers of trails, and golf cart service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Sunday, March 09 - Program Orientation/Walking Exploration of Vallad...
Program Orientation/Walking Exploration of Valladolid/Transfer to Chichen Itzá.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.


Morning: Program orientation followed by a briefing on the schedule of activities and the exercise plan for this program.

Join your group leader in a stretching session by the hotel swimming pool before boarding our bus for a 2.5-hour drive to Valladolid. Upon arrival in Valladolid, enjoy a guided walking exploration of the city. Visit the main plaza and Bernandino Convent before stopping for lunch.


Lunch: At a local restaurant.


Afternoon: After lunch, transfer to Chichén Itzá (approx. 45 min).
Chichén Itzá is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, without question, one of the nation's best and most visited Maya ruins. The magnificent architectural and sculptural splendor of the city reflects a blend of cultural influences including Maya, Toltec, and Itzá.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Before dinner, enjoy a lecture on the history of the Yucatan and the Mayan calendar.


Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel's garden restaurant.

Lodging: Hotel Mayaland
Chichen Itza


Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Mayaland was the first hotel built at Chichen Itza (in 1923) and, with its superb location amidst the temples, the first within an ancient site in the world. In its way, it's as much a landmark as the pyramids that tower above it. Mayaland is a creation of Old Yucatan, built and operated by its original owners and their descendants in a style reminiscent of the hacienda nobility of a century ago. Its air of genteel hospitality and old-fashioned charm is a legacy enhanced by the addition of every amenity. The grounds are alive with birdsong and butterflies, and all the exotic fruits and flowers of tropical Yucatan. Over 100 acres of gardens surround the main house. The main building was designed by Sylvanus G. Morley, the head of the Carnegie expedition that rebuilt Chichen Itza in the 1920's. Its Hacienda style main corridor faces the Mayan Observatory. The Mayaland Hotel is an experience in itself; one that will enrich your stay at Chichen Itza.

Contact info:
Near Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza, Mexico
phone: +800-2354079
web: www.mayaland.com/mayaland.php

Room amenities: Spacious air-conditioned rooms with ceiling fans, satellite TV, mini bars, bathroom hand-tiled in ceramic, marble and stone, tubs, and breezy private balconies.

Facility amenities: Pools, four restaurants, convention hall, masseuse, craft shop, tennis courts, interconnected paths, over five kilometers of trails, and golf cart service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Monday, March 10 - Chichén Itzá Maya Ruins/Cenote Ik Kil/Learning th...
Chichén Itzá Maya Ruins/Cenote Ik Kil/Learning the Merengue/Planetarium show.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.


Morning: Meet in the hotel gardens for a stretching session with your group leader. After warming up, walk to the archaeological ruins at Chichén Itzá. Explore the impressive temples, ball court, and observatory found in the city complex.

El Castillo, the 80-foot pyramid that dominates the complex, is actually a sophisticated calendar. There are four stairways on El Castillo, each with 91 steps, adding up to a total of 365 steps--the number of days in a year. Each year during the spring and autumn equinoxes, shadows form numerous triangles that create the shape of a serpent. As the days come closer to the spring equinox, the serpent gradually climbs the pyramid. When the shadows return in September, the shape of the serpent creeps down the face of El Castillo.

Near El Castillo is Chichén Itzá's great ball court--the largest of its kind in Mexico. This official Maya sport had an interesting way of honoring its victors. At the close of each game, the captain of the winning team was decapitated as a sacrifice to the gods!

Before lunch, we will drive two miles to Cenote Ik Kil to take a refreshing dip in its cool waters.

Cenotes are water-filled, limestone sinkholes found in the Yucatán and some Caribbean sites. Cenotes were an important source of freshwater for the Maya living in the Yucatán Peninsula. They were also believed to be the gateways to the afterlife and were treated as sacred sites.


Lunch: Lunch at Cenote Ik Kil.


Afternoon: Return to the hotel.

Once back at the hotel, enjoy some time at your leisure to relax by the pool, catch up on your reading or maybe explore the hotel trails.

Before dinner, enjoy a fun merengue lesson in the hotel gardens.

Merengue music has an upbeat tropical sound that ranges from slow and romantic to fast, techno-infused pieces. Although the music has evolved into various forms, the distinct two-beat rhythm remains. Closely related to the salsa, the merengue is often felt to be an easier dance to teach since its footwork and sequences are less complicated. Partners face each other, in a closed position, moving in a circular pattern and simultaneously stepping and swaying to the music.


Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.


Evening: Planetarium show: Tales of the Maya Skies.

Lodging: Hotel Mayaland
Chichen Itza


Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Beach front property located 4.6 miles from the Tulum archaeological site and half a mile from the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Thatched roofed bungalows have private porches with views of the beach or the tropical gardens.

Contact info:
Carr Tulum Boca Paila Km 7 5
Tulum, 00000 Mexico
phone: +52 -998 8873205
web: www.loslirioshotel.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, porch, telephone.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, tour desk, gift shop, safety deposit boxes, beach access, yoga room with daily classes, cenote, and spa services.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Tuesday, March 11 - Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve/Cobá Town and ...
Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.


Morning: This morning we will take a 2 hour drive to the Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve for a guided forest trek. For the next hour and a half, we will learn about local flora and fauna while walking on forest trails. Be on the look out for spider monkeys and howler monkeys--the main stars of this little-known park.

Although the small and unassuming nature sanctuary is known for protecting hundreds of black-handed spider monkeys and a lesser number of howler monkeys, it also provides a safe haven for all nature of native wildlife and flora. An exploration of the forest trails reveals tall ceiba trees, zacate trees, fruiting ramón trees (a squirrel monkey favorite) and colorful epiphytic bromeliads. Ancient stone mounds and stone dwellings blend into the forest and offer interesting clues about the people who once inhabited the area.

Transfer to Cobá (approx. 20 mins).


Lunch: At local restaurant en route.


Afternoon: Walking field trip at Cobá ruins (approx. 2 hours).

The pyramids and stelae at Cobá resemble the architecture of Tikal (situated over a hundred miles away in present-day Guatemala) and not the style found at neighboring Chichén Itzá. In fact, depictions of Tikal royalty appear on several stelae at Cobá and this has led many to theorize that Cobá and Tikal maintained an alliance for many years.

Scattered throughout the ruins are numerous sacbés, a type of avenue paved with stone. The longest remaining sacbé leads to Nohoch Mul, the largest pyramid in the city. Nohoch Mul is the tallest pyramid on the Yucatán Peninsula and was likely constructed during the Post-Classic period (1100-1450). For an outstanding view (and a good workout!) climb the 115 steps to the top of the pyramid, but be careful on the descent as the steep stairs can lead to feelings of uneasiness and vertigo. To avoid the difficulties on the way down, try descending in zig-zag fashion, it will help your knees and prevent the dizziness some experience.

Transfer to Tulum.
Arrive at the hotel and check-in.


Dinner: At hotel restaurant.

Lodging: Los Lirios Cabanas Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Beach front property located 4.6 miles from the Tulum archaeological site and half a mile from the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Thatched roofed bungalows have private porches with views of the beach or the tropical gardens.

Contact info:
Carr Tulum Boca Paila Km 7 5
Tulum, 00000 Mexico
phone: +52 -998 8873205
web: www.loslirioshotel.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, porch, telephone.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, tour desk, gift shop, safety deposit boxes, beach access, yoga room with daily classes, cenote, and spa services.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Wednesday, March 12 - Freshwater Lagoon Walk at Muyil/Kayaking at Sian ...
Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.


Morning: After breakfast, transfer to Muyil and arrive to the freshwater lagoon of Sian Ka'an.

During the next 2 hours, kayak in the freshwater canals of Sian Ka'an. This activity will provide a good workout and give us an opportunity to examine local vegetation and spot wildlife.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve protects approximately 969,000 hectares of lands between the municipalities of Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto in Mexico’s Caribbean region. Sian Ka’an encompasses the main ecosystems found throughout the Yucatán Peninsula including coral reef, low and medium-growth forests, savannas, and wetlands. So far the park has recorded 103 mammal species (including 5 cat species!), 339 bird species, and 42 amphibian and reptile species. The reserve also protects 23 registered Maya sites.



Lunch: At local restaurant.


Afternoon: Transfer back to the hotel.
Time at leisure to explore the local town, spend time at the beach or enjoy the gentle sea breezes from the comfort of a hammock.

Before dinner lecture: Cenotes and Underground River Systems of the Yucatán Peninsula.


Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Lodging: Los Lirios Cabanas Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Beach front property located 4.6 miles from the Tulum archaeological site and half a mile from the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Thatched roofed bungalows have private porches with views of the beach or the tropical gardens.

Contact info:
Carr Tulum Boca Paila Km 7 5
Tulum, 00000 Mexico
phone: +52 -998 8873205
web: www.loslirioshotel.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, porch, telephone.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, tour desk, gift shop, safety deposit boxes, beach access, yoga room with daily classes, cenote, and spa services.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Thursday, March 13 - Tulum Ruins/Cave Snorkeling at No Hoch Cenote/Mer...
Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.


Morning: Transfer to the historic Tulum ruins, located little more than 4 miles from the hotel. Enjoy a walking exploration of the ruins to get a close look at some of its more notable buildings including the Temple of the Wind, El Castillo, Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God.

Although the ruins at Tulum lack the grandeur of Chichén Itzá and Cobá, its setting is breathtaking. The city was built sometime during the Early Classic Period (250-600) on top of a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. When the Spaniards arrived in the early sixteenth century, Tulum still operated as an important trading port. This was one of the last Maya cities to be abandoned after Spain’s conquest.

Transfer to Cenote Nohoch for a snorkeling adventure in one of the world's longest underwater cave systems!

Cenote Nohoch is part of the Sistema Sac Aktun, a large underwater cave system in Mexico's Riviera Maya. Visitors who are fortunate to spend time swimming and snorkeling at Nohoch have the opportunity to view some of nature's most beautiful creations. Multicolored stalactites and stalagmites protrude from cave ceilings and floors, visible above and below the waterline.


Lunch: At local restaurant.

Afternoon: Return to the hotel.

Late in the afternoon, put your recently acquired dance skills to the test during a follow-up merengue lesson at the hotel.


Dinner: Dinner will be on your own, for a chance to explore local dining options.

Lodging: Los Lirios Cabanas Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: The Hacienda Real Caribe is an attractive, medium-sized property located in the northern section of Playa del Carmen just two-blocks from the beach. Playa del Carmen's Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), and all of its great shops and restaurants, is within easy walking distance. The hotel is about 45-60 minutes by car from Cancun's international airport.

Contact info:
Avenida 10 con Calle 10
Colonia Centro
Playa del Carmen, QROO, 77710 Mexico
phone: +52 -984-873-3130
web: www.hotelhaciendarealdelcaribe.com

Room amenities: Rooms have air conditioning, ceiling fan, direct-dial phone, cable TV, clock radio, tile floors, in-room safe, minibar, and hair dryer. Balconies have city views or look onto the inner courtyard and pool.

Facility amenities: Restaurants, bar, pool, complimentary WiFi, room service, 24-hr front desk, currency exchange, elevators, and ballrooms.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: Subject to availability.
Room type and price is subject to hotel availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional hotel nights.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Seven: Friday, March 14 - Snorkeling at Akumal Bay/Transfer to Playa del Ca...
Snorkeling at Akumal Bay/Transfer to Playa del Carmen/Independent Exploration.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.


Morning: Arrive to Akumal Bay for snorkeling activity. After receiving a brief orientation on safety procedures and the use of the equipment, enjoy the morning snorkeling in the nearby reef.

While snorkeling, you will possibly encounter sea turtles. Please make sure to admire these beautiful creatures at a respectful distance (about 6.5 feet). Avoid snorkeling over the turtles since they need to come up to the surface to breathe and to avoid approaching turtles when they are feeding.


Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, transfer to Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen, the focal point of the Mayan Riviera, has matured from a coastal fishing village to a vibrant town with an eclectic and carefree island feel. With dazzling beaches and an offshore reef, it is the ideal destination to conclude our energizing venture.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure to enjoy the beach, explore Playa del Carmen's main strip (Avenida 5), or lounge by the hotel pool.


Dinner: Dinner will be on your own, for a chance to explore local dining options.

Lodging: Hacienda Real Caribe

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: The Hacienda Real Caribe is an attractive, medium-sized property located in the northern section of Playa del Carmen just two-blocks from the beach. Playa del Carmen's Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), and all of its great shops and restaurants, is within easy walking distance. The hotel is about 45-60 minutes by car from Cancun's international airport.

Contact info:
Avenida 10 con Calle 10
Colonia Centro
Playa del Carmen, QROO, 77710 Mexico
phone: +52 -984-873-3130
web: www.hotelhaciendarealdelcaribe.com

Room amenities: Rooms have air conditioning, ceiling fan, direct-dial phone, cable TV, clock radio, tile floors, in-room safe, minibar, and hair dryer. Balconies have city views or look onto the inner courtyard and pool.

Facility amenities: Restaurants, bar, pool, complimentary WiFi, room service, 24-hr front desk, currency exchange, elevators, and ballrooms.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: Subject to availability.
Room type and price is subject to hotel availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional hotel nights.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Eight: Saturday, March 15 - Selvatica Park/Reef Snorkeling at Puerto Morelos ...
Selvatica Park/Reef Snorkeling at Puerto Morelos National Park/Farewell Dinner.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.


Morning: After breakfast, we will take a 40-minute drive to Selvatica Eco-Park for a rainforest adventure that includes gliding through the jungle on a zip line, and swimming in a cenote!

Experience the thrill of coursing through and above the tree tops for a bird’s eye view of the jungle. Selvatica Eco-Park has two miles of zip lines threaded through the forest and connected by tree platforms. Zip lines are installed on an incline and work by using gravity to propel the user who wears a special harness clipped onto the cable. After donning your safety gear and learning the do’s and don’ts of zip lining, you will have the opportunity to try it for yourself with help from the park’s staff.


Lunch: At Selvatica Eco-Park.

Afternoon: Transfer to Puerto Morelos National Park for snorkeling on the reef. We will have the opportunity to enjoy two 45-minute snorkeling sessions at the reef.

The small seaside community of Puerto Morelos is situated on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast, between Cancún and Playa del Carmen. The world’s second largest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, lies a short distance from the town’s shore and extends all the way from Mexico to Honduras. The reef reportedly harbors up to 500 different species of fish and 60 species of coral.


Dinner: Farewell dinner at local restaurant with mariachi music.

Lodging: Hacienda Real Caribe

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Nine: Sunday, March 16 - Departures/Flights back to U.S.
Depart From: Transfer to the international airport in Cancun for flight back to the U.S. Driving time from Playa del Carmen to Cancun is approximately 1 hour.

Note: Participants can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).


Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
8 nights of accommodations
19 meals: 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 4 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
10 Field trips
2 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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