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Whale Sharks & Spider Monkeys: An Intergenerational Safari through the Yucatan

Program Number: 20435RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/25/2015 - 8/2/2015; 6/25/2016 - 7/3/2016; 7/6/2016 - 7/14/2016; 7/15/2016 - 7/23/2016; 7/26/2016 - 8/3/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Mexico
Price starting at: $2,490.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 22; 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 12 - 14 years of age.

Experience the fascinating wildlife and the wealth of ancient Maya civilizations on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Snorkel the warm waters of the Caribbean to encounter sea turtles and the mighty whale shark, the world’s largest fish. On land, discover playful monkeys and colorful birds, zip-line through the jungle and learn the story of the Mayans. Take part in fun, informal Spanish lessons to get a grasp of the local language.


• Enjoy the exhilarating opportunity to swim with whale sharks — though massive, they are docile and safe to swim alongside.
• Get an up-close view of spider monkeys, howler monkeys and other Yucatán wildlife as you walk through a protected nature reserve.
• Explore the great Mayan city of Chichen Itza where you find pyramids and the Great Ball Court.

Activity Particulars

From three to five hours physical activity per day including swimming, snorkeling, climbing archaeological ruins, zip-lining, walking on forest trails.

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-11 or 12-14, depending on the date.

Date Specific Information


Program intended for grandchildren from 12 - 14 years of age.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Cancún, 1 night; ferry to Isla Holbox, 2 nights; ferry and coach to Chichen Itza, 2 nights; coach to Akumal, 2 nights; coach to Cancún, 1 night; departure.

Arrival Cancún
1 night
Coach to Chiquila
Ferry to Isla Holbox
2 nights

Isla Holbox — “black hole” in the language of the Yucatán Mayans — is a protected island within the Yum-Balam Biosphere Reserve. Explore the lime rock roads of this mostly car-less isle by golf cart and enjoy the beach and hotel pool. Board a boat to an area where whale sharks are abundant to observe and even swim with these huge fish. Learn about the music of the Yucatán with a local musician and instrument maker.

Ferry to Chiquila
Coach to Chichen Itza
2 nights

Navigate through Yalahau Lagoon and go ashore on one of its small islands to view flamingos, pelicans and other colorful birdlife. Continue to Chichen Itza and learn about the Mayans who inhabited this great city, including the story of the Yucatán’s own “Trojan War.” Swim in the cool, spring-fed waters of one of Chichen Itza’s cenotes (natural sinkholes).

Coach to Akumal
2 nights
Coach to Cancún
1 night

Walk through the Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve to observe these playful creatures and many others. Stop in a modern Mayan town to see what daily life is like here. Take a nighttime turtle nesting walk with the experts from the Centro Ecológico Akumal. Journey to Selvática Eco Park for a jungle zip-line and cenote zip-line adventure.


The oldest of the land’s found by Europeans in the New World, Mexico has endured a rough history at the hands of Cortes and subsequent invaders. Despite a turbulent past, the country maintains its relaxed and inviting charm with a mix of modern and traditional from its industrious cities to its captivating wildernesses.

Lodging: Comfortable hotels and oceanfront resorts.
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard Marriott Cancun
  Cancun, Mexico 1 night
   Hotel Villa Delfines
  Holbox Island, Mexico 2 nights
   Hotel Mayaland
Chichen Itza
  Chichen Itza, Mexico 2 nights
   Hotel Akumal Caribe
  Akumal, Mexico 2 nights
   Courtyard Marriott Cancun
  Cancun, Mexico 1 night
 Courtyard Marriott Cancun
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
  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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Please contact your program provider, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or for information on availability and rates.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability. Please contact your program provider, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or for information on availability and rates.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

 Hotel Villa Delfines
Type: Hotel
  Description: This Caribbean-style, oceanfront hotel provides accommodations in 20 attractive bungalows with thatched roofs. Its eco-friendly facilities boast composting toilets and solar panels for the heating of water. WiFi is available in and around the front desk area.
  Contact info: Domicilio Conocido
Isla Holbox,  Quintana Roo Mexico
phone: +52 -984-875-2196
  Room amenities: Bungalows have private baths with eco-toilets, ceiling fans, in-room safes, coffee makers, water dispensers with filtered water, and terraces with hammocks. Hotel amenities include swimming pool, restaurant, beach access, gardens, and boutique.
  Facility amenities: Swimming pool, restaurant, beach access, spa, gardens, and a boutique.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Mayaland
Chichen Itza
Type: Resort
  Description: Mayaland was the first hotel built at Chichen Itza (1923) and its architectural style is reminiscent of the grand haciendas of the Old Yucatan. The main building was designed by Sylvanus G. Morley, the head of the Carnegie expedition that rebuilt Chichen Itza in the 1920's. Old-fashioned charm, modern amenities, and beautiful gardens (100 acres) are a welcome treat after a day of explorations in Chichen Itza.
  Contact info: Next to the Chichen Itza archaeological park
Chichen Itza,   Mexico
phone: +800-2354079
  Room amenities: Spacious air-conditioned rooms with en suite bathrooms. Each room has mosquito nets over each bed, ceiling fan, satellite TV, mini bar, and hair dryer. Safety deposit boxes are not available in the rooms; however, there are safety deposit boxes available for guest use at the hotel's front desk. Please inquire upon check-in.
  Facility amenities: Pools, four restaurants, convention hall, masseuse, craft shop, tennis courts, interconnected paths, over five kilometers of trails, laundry service, planetarium, and golf cart service. The hotel has a private entrance to the Chichen Itza Archaeological Park.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Hotel Akumal Caribe
Type: Resort
  Description: Family oriented beachfront resort in Akumal Bay.
  Contact info: HWY 307, Km 104, Carretera Cancun-Tulum
Akumal,   Mexico
phone: +8003511622
  Room amenities: Private bathroom (no hairdryer), air conditioning, ceiling fan, mini refrigerator, phone, free high speed internet, in-room safe, purified drinking water, tile floors, and a balcony or terrace.
  Facility amenities: Free WiFi throughout the hotel, beach access, swimming pool, tour desk, beach towels (requires a $10 deposit at the front desk), Spa, boutique, restaurant, café, and snack bar.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
All-day arrivals at the Cancun International Airport. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Courtyard Marriott Cancun that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Cancun International Airport. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Courtyard Marriott Cancun the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Adult participants traveling with a minor must carry notarized parental consent forms.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Cancun
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available at the Cancun International Airport. Payment can be made in U.S. dollars. The Courtyard Marriot Cancun offers a complimentary airport shuttle service from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Once at the airport, you can request a pick-up by calling 287-2200 or from any Telmex public phone call 01800 0203373. Phones are available in the Arrivals Hall near the exit door. If in doubt, please stop at a visitor's information counter for assistance. The hotel is very close to the airport; the drive usually takes between 5-10 minutes.
  From End of Program
  Location: Cancun
  Transportation from site: The Courtyard Marriot Cancun offers a complimentary airport shuttle service from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Participants wishing to use this service should make inquiries at the hotel's front desk. Taxis are also available at the hotel. Please ask the hotel staff for assistance if you wish to use this service.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: International Arrivals in Cancun.
(Saturday, July 25)

Note: Participants who experience flight delays and/or do not qualify for one of the arrival transfers can either hire a taxi or make use of the hotel's complimentary shuttle service. The Courtyard Marriot's hotel shuttle is in service from 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily. To request a pick-up, participants must contact the hotel at 287-2200 from one of the airport phones located near the exit. If you need help, stop at one of the airport's information booths before exiting the restricted arrivals hall.

 Arrive To: International flight arrivals into Cancun. Participants will be required to go through standard immigration and customs procedures before exiting the airport.

Transfer to your hotel.
 Dinner: Pre- dinner welcome to the program.

Get to know your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Dinner at the hotel restaurant located on the ground floor.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott Cancun
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Holbox Island -
Ferry Ride to Holbox/Beach and Pool Time/City Orientation/Spanish Lesson.

(Sunday, July 26)

Note: You might wish to wear a bathing suit under your clothes or pack one in your carry-on, along with some sunscreen lotion, so that you can go to the beach or jump in the pool as soon as you arrive at the hotel at Holbox Island. The hotel will store all the luggage for our group until the rooms are ready for check-in. Guest bathrooms, located next to the reception area, can be used for changing into bathing suits until the rooms become available.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: After taking part in a program orientation at the hotel, board a bus to Chiquila (2.5 hours).

Arrive at Chiquila and board a ferry to Holbox Island (20 minutes).

Holbox Island is located off the northern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, within the Yum-Balam Biosphere Reserve. Just 7.44 miles long and less than a mile wide, this diminutive tropical paradise is home to a peaceful fishing community and is increasingly visited by tourists who come to view whale sharks. Residents and tourists get around the island on golf carts or mopeds. Streets are made of lime rock and remain unpaved.

Arrive in Holbox and transfer to the hotel in golf cart taxis.

Time at leisure to enjoy the beach and the hotel's swimming pool while the hotel gets all rooms ready for check-in.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Snorkeling orientation at hotel swimming pool.

Board golf carts for a fun city orientation through Holbox's lime rock roads.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant that serves kid-friendly fare.
 Evening: Return to the hotel for an informal Spanish lesson.
Accommodations: Hotel Villa Delfines
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Holbox Island -
Snorkeling with Whale Sharks and Tropical Fish/Spanish Lesson/Learning About Local Music.

(Monday, July 27)

Note: Swimming with whale sharks is highly regulated. Only 2 participants are allowed in the water with the guide at any time (each session lasts approx. 10 mins) and no flash photography is permitted while in the water. Regular sunscreens are prohibited--only use biodegradable lotions. Although the boat has a cover, you will be in and out of the sun throughout the day--please bring a hat and sun glasses. A rash guard offers good protection against chafing (from wearing a life vest) and sunburns.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, transfer to a local dive shop to select fins and snorkel gear in preparation for today's activities. After collecting our gear, we will walk to the dock and board a boat that will take us to the whale shark feeding site (2.5 - 3 hours). During the boat ride, our snorkeling guide will provide information about whale shark migration patterns, feeding habits, and general biology. If lucky, we might see some dolphins and/or manta rays during the journey.

Swimming with whale sharks is an activity that is strictly regulated by local park authorities. Only 2 participants are allowed in the water with the guide at any time (10 min. sessions). Participants take their turns in the water while the remainder of the group can observe the passing whale sharks and take photographs from the comfort of the boat (flash photography is not allowed in the water). Participants are allowed up to 3 swimming sessions lasting 10 minutes each time. Snacks and drinks are provided onboard the boat.
 Lunch: Box lunch on the boat.
 Afternoon: Time permitting, enjoy some en route snorkeling on your return journey to Holbox Island.

Arrive back at Holbox. Disembark and transfer back to the hotel.

Kids will take part in another informal Spanish lesson. Let's see how much you can remember from the previous day!

Before dinner, learn about local music with a talented local musician and instrument maker. The musical presentation will have your feet tapping to the contagious rhythms.
 Dinner: BBQ dinner on hotel patio.
Accommodations: Hotel Villa Delfines
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Chitchén Itzá -
Isla Pajaros Sanctuary and Yalahau Lagoon/Valladolid City Orientation/Cooking Lesson/Spanish Lesson.

(Tuesday, July 28)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Private transfer to the pier and board a boat back to Chiquilla. On our way back to the mainland we will navigate by Isla Pajaros and pay a short visit to a nearby island within the Yalahau Lagoon.

Navigate past the tiny, mangrove-fringed Isla Pasion and nearby Isla Pajaros (Bird Island). Disembark at the small dock and begin a slow-paced walk along boardwalks and unpaved paths to reach the island’s crystalline spring and a lookout tower. If the tower is open to visitors, climb the two-story structure to enjoy nice views of the surrounding forest and grasslands and search for local birds. Scan the island shores for roseate spoonbills and vibrantly colored flamingoes that flock to this location from April to October. Other birds seen here include frigates, herons, and both white and gray pelicans.

Return to the boat and continue navigating to Chiquilla.

Disembark in Chiquilla and transfer to Chichén Itzá via Valladolid. A short drive around Valladolid’s colonial center will orient us to some of its key historic buildings.

Valladolid is an attractive 16th century town located in the eastern side of the Yucatán state, within 29 miles of Chichen Itzá. As is commonly the case with colonial cities in the peninsula, Valladolid rose from the ashes of a destroyed Maya center. Ancient structures were demolished in order to provide stones and other building materials for the Spanish settlement. Ironically, many colonial buildings were destroyed or damaged during the lengthy Yucatecan Caste War (1847-1901) and in later years during Indian uprisings. Valladolid is home to one of the oldest church buildings in the region, the Church of San Bernardino de Siena and adjoining convent.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Valladolid.
 Afternoon: If time permits, enjoy some independent time to explore the town square before returning to the bus.

Continue with transfer to nearby Chichén Itzá.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Time at leisure to cool off in the hotel's swimming pool or explore the property's attractive gardens for a chance to see local flora and bird life and catch glimpses of Chichén Itzá's ancient temples.

Gather around the kitchen table for a lesson in tortilla making. Push up your sleeves and get your hands dirty as you learn how locals make this important Mexican staple.

Piñata party for the children.

Pre-dinner Spanish lesson.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Mayaland
Chichen Itza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Chichén Itzá -
Chichén Itzá Ruins/Cenote Ik Kil/Spanish Lesson/Planetarium Show.

(Wednesday, July 29)

Note: Wear a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes for your exploration of the Chichen Itza ruins. Your entrance tickets to the ruins are valid for multiple entries on this day. Participants who wish to return to the park can do so during scheduled free time today. The Chichen Itza complex is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please do not remove towels from your room for the cenote visit. Your group leader will provide beach towels for this excursion.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Walking field trip of the Chichén Itzá archaeological complex and site lecture.

Chichén Itzá is considered the greatest Mayan site on the Yucatán peninsula and is certainly the most popular stop along today’s Ruta Maya. The archaeological site centers upon two unusually large cenotes, one that provided water for the city and the other a famous sacred cenote. Its history is the Yucatán’s “Trojan War,” as the ruler of Chichén Itzá stole the bride of one of the lords of Izamal who then took vengeance and sacked Chichén. The consolidation of Chichén Itzá as a political center meant the creation of a complicated political structure. This leadership allowed it to achieve magnificent architectural and sculptural splendor and made it one of the largest cities in the Maya area.

Return to the hotel for a bathroom break and a change of clothes before departing for Cenote Ik Kil. The cenote complex has clothing lockers available for rent (additional cost).

To reach the cenote it is necessary to descend a steep, curving, stone staircase that greatly resembles a cave tunnel. Take a moment to feast your eyes on the beauty of Cenote Ik Kil before taking a refreshing dip in the cool spring-fed 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 believed to be the gateways to the afterlife, and were treated as sacred sites. Cenote Ik Kil is located in the heart of the Chichén Itzá archeological site, near the ceremonial centers. Its rock walls encircle a pool of transparent blue waters, amidst lush tropical vegetation. After catching a glimpse of this beautiful natural creation, it is easy to understand why the Maya would have felt this site was sacred.
 Lunch: At a restaurant in the Cenote Ik Kil park.
 Afternoon: Return to the hotel.

Time at leisure to rest or enjoy the hotel amenities.

Participate in an informal Spanish lesson.

Before dinner, enjoy a planetarium show: Tales of the Maya Skies. Journey through time and space, into the Mexican jungle to learn about the history, culture, and incredible scientific and astronomical discoveries of the ancient Maya.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Mayaland
Chichen Itza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Akumal -
Spider Monkey Reserve/Maya Village/Nighttime Turtle Nesting Walk.

(Thursday, July 30)

Note: In preparation for the beach walk this evening, the CEA suggests wearing dark clothes, sneakers or sturdy walking shoes and refraining from wearing perfume/cologne or insect repellent (good idea to wear long sleeves and pants). No flash photography or flashlights are allowed. Walks can cover as much as 3 miles. Evenings can be breezy, so a light sweater or sweatshirt is advisable.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Akumal Bay via Punta Laguna.

Walking field trip in the Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve and visit the local Maya village.

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 safehaven for all nature of native wildlife and flora. An exploration of the forest trails reveal 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.

The small village at Punta Laguna provides a good opportunity to examine the life and customs of modern day Maya.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Akumal and check-in at the hotel.

Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. Lounge by the pool, take a walk along the beach, get a fruity drink at the beachside snack bar, or maybe just take the opportunity to relax in your room.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Lecture on sea turtles given by a biologist from the Centro Ecologico Akumal (CEA).

The lecture will be followed by a nighttime turtle nesting walk along the beach (May - October is nesting season). We hope to see turtles coming ashore to lay eggs and have the chance to observe CEA staff as they measure and document the turtles and their nests.

The Centro Ecologico de Akumal is a non-profit marine research and conservation organization that monitors environmental impact of urban development in the Mexican Caribbean. Through scientific research and community education, the CEA hopes to raise public awareness about local ecosystems and the need for conservation.
Accommodations: Hotel Akumal Caribe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Akumal -
Snorkeling Among Reefs and Sea Turtles/Yal Ku Lagoon/Spanish Lesson.

(Friday, July 31)

Note: Snorkeling gear will be provided for the activity at Akumal Bay and at Yal Ku Lagoon. In order to protect the coral reefs and other marine life, please only use biodegradable sunscreens.

 Arrive To: At the hotel.
 Morning: Walk to the nearby dive shop at Akumal Bay. Once there, get your snorkeling gear and store personal belongings in a locker. After receiving a brief orientation on the use of the equipment and park rules, 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). The Centro Ecologico Akumal likes to remind swimmers to avoid snorkeling over the turtles since they need to come up to the surface to breathe. Also, avoid approaching turtles when they are feeding and do not attempt to touch them at any time. Note: Only biodegradable sunscreen is allowed for this activity.

Return to the hotel in time for lunch.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Yal Ku Lagoon for snorkeling. After picking out your fins and snorkel gear, walk along a tree-lined path to the lagoon. Participants will need to negotiate a few steps (with railings) to get in and out of the water. A few wooden benches placed along shaded edges of the lagoon offer inviting spaces in which to rest and enjoy the views.

Yal Ku Lagoon has a unique marine environment that is home to a variety of tropical fish including parrot fish, rays, urchins, sergeant majors, damselfish, and tangs. Its inviting crystalline waters are a blend of salt water, from the Caribbean Sea, and freshwater, from local cenotes. The naturally protected lagoon has calm waters with depths ranging from 6 ft - 15 ft, making it a great place for snorkelers of all ages/levels.

Return to the hotel.

Kids will enjoy an informal Spanish lesson before dinner.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Free time at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Akumal Caribe
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cancun -
Selvática Park Adventure/Farewell Dinner.

(Saturday, August 1)

Note: We suggest wearing cool, comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes for your zip-line adventure. Please bring a bathing suit in your daypack so that you can change into it for your cenote visit after completing the zip line course. Selvática Eco Park provides storage lockers at the main building.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Selvática Eco Park (1 ½ hours) for a jungle zip-line and cenote zip-line adventure.

After getting your equipment, park staff will demonstrate the dos and don’ts of zip-lining and review safety procedures. Then you are ready to climb the stairs to the first of 12 zip-lines that will take you on an exhilarating journey over the forest canopy. After completing the last zip-line, take a moment to catch your breath and change into your bathing suit before boarding the park’s transfer vehicle to a local cenote. Jump from a platform or drop from a zip line into the cold waters of a deep cenote to cool off and recharge your batteries!
 Lunch: At Selvática Eco Park.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Cancun (30 minutes).

Arrive at hotel and check-in.

Enjoy some free time to relax before dinner.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott Cancun
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Flights Back to the U.S.
(Sunday, August 2)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.
 Morning: Participants will transfer to the airport via hotel shuttle to catch flights back to the U.S.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Forest of Kings, The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya

Author: Linda Schele, David Freidel (Contributor)

Description: The history of the Maya, as it was recorded in the previously undecipherable hieroglyphs of the Maya. This excellent account traces the kingships and politics of the Maya, and features narratives recreating scenes of burials, blood sacrifices, battles and other events.

Breaking the Maya Code

Author: Michael Coe

Description: Mayan hieroglyphs were a linguistic puzzle until the 1952 breakthrough translation of a Mayan bark-paper text, as Coe explains in this classic tale, revised and updated for this third edition.

Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes and the Fall of Old Mexico

Author: Hugh Thomas

Description: An entertaining and monumental tome on the conquest of Mexico. It's rare to find a work of such scholarship and importance that is also an enjoyable read.

Incidents of Travel in Yucatan

Author: John Lloyd Stephens, Karl Ackerman (Editor)

Description: In this beloved classic, first published in 1841, Stephens chronicles his adventures and explorations in the Yucatan, including his rediscovery of important Maya sites, among them Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Kabah and Tulum. This traveler's edition features modern and archival photographs in addition to Frederick Catherwood's original lithographs.

Maya Art and Architecture

Author: Mary Ellen Miller

Description: An illustrated overview of the art and architecture of the Maya, making use of the latest discoveries at Tikal, Copan and Palenque to demonstrate the range of Mayan artistic influence. Revised and updated, this new edition includes color illustrations throughout.

Mexico Birds Guide for Quintana Roo, Yucatan and Campeche

Author: Rainforest Publications

Description: A fold-out, 14-panel laminated plastic card featuring full-color illustrations of the birds of the region.

Mexico Caribbean Marine Guide

Author: Rainforest Publications

Description: A fold-out, 14-panel laminated plastic card featuring full-color illustrations of reef fish, sport fish, marine mammals and sea turtles.

Mexico in Mind

Author: Maria Finn Dominguez

Description: John Steinbeck, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, Malcolm Lowry and others offer diverse impressions of the many Mexicos.

Moon Handbook Yucatan Peninsula

Author: Lisa and Gary Prado Chandler

Description: A compact, comprehensive travel guide with an excellent overview of the natural history and culture of the region, including Yucatan but also Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche and Quintana Roo.

Mystery of the Maya

Author: R. A. Montgomery

Description: A classic "choose your own adventure" story. While on assignment in Mexico, your friend Tom disappears while searching for clues about the sudden collapse of the Mayan civilization. Your search for him could uncover human sacrifice, alien spacecraft -- even time travel!

Popol Vuh

Author: Victor Montejo, Luis Garay (Illustrator)

Description: Children will thrill to the tale of the fateful ball game between the underworld gods and the Hero Twins (and parents will appreciate the commentary on the conquering Spaniards) in this marvelous retelling of the sacred Maya text.

Popol Vuh, The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life

Author: Dennis Tedlock (Editor)

Description: The definitive, unabridged collection of creation myths and stories of the Quiche people, fundamental to understanding the worldview of the highland Maya.

Southern Mexico, Travellers' Wildlife Guides

Author: Les Beletsky

Description: A popular guide to the birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians and reef fishes of southern Mexico, featuring 100 excellent color plates.

Spanish Language Learner

Author: Inc. Dorling Kindersley

Description: A fun, dynamic introduction to the Spanish language for children aged 10 to 14. An audio CD and flashcards accompany a colorfully illustrated textbook.

Spanish, A Language Map

Author: Kristine K. Kershul

Description: This durable, foldout card gives easy phonetic pronunciation for several hundred of the most commonly-needed words and phrases.

The Corn Grows Ripe

Author: Dorothy Rhoads, Jean Charlot (Illustrator)

Description: A coming-of-age tale set in modern-day Yucatan that draws on Mayan lore and tradition. Tigre, a 12-year-old boy, must sow and harvest the crops to support his family and appease the gods after his father is injured.

The Labyrinth of Solitude

Author: Octavio Paz

Description: These essays by the Nobel Prize-winning poet address Mexican culture and character. The chapters on the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead and the conquest are especially memorable.

The Lost Cities of the Mayas

Author: Fabio Bourbon

Description: The discoveries of British artist Frederick Catherwood and his American companion John Lloyd Stephens, the first Westerners to see the Maya cities of the Yucatan, are chronicled in this illustrated, oversized biography, featuring 200 color engravings of the monuments of Central America, Chiapas and the Yucatan.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Mayan Soothsayer!

Author: Rupert Matthews

Description: The hilarious illustrations and light-hearted tone, helpful hints and glossary in this popular series for ages 7-10 will entice even reluctant readers.

Yucatan Map

Author: ITMB

Description: A detailed travel map of the Yucatan, covering Tikal, Copan, Belize, Chiapas and more at a scale of 1:500,000. Printed on tear proof, waterproof paper.

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