In Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with Angelica Espinosa
Mexico is rich in culture and history making it an excellent destination for enriching travel experiences. Our On Location partner in the Yucatan Peninsula, Angelica Espinosa, specializes in this type of travel. There are many options available which Angelica brings to life below. Get in touch with us so we can work with Angelica and her team to create an authentic experience for you in the land of the Maya.
Angelica EspinozaPhoto: Angelica Espinoza
"Culturally fascinating: That's the best description of Mexico. The colonial cities, the archaeological richness, the beaches and the incredibly diverse landscapes; you are instantly in touch with culture the minute you arrive in Mexico. It's the people, proud of their traditions; it's the cuisine with ancient roots; it's the music narrating history - Mexico is all about culture. Mix with the locals, go to the town markets, experience a Maya ceremony; you'll find culture everywhere. Don't miss the festivities and celebrations taking place in the little towns and the opportunity to learn and share with the Maya people. You might end up in their homes learning an artisan's technique or being the guest of honour at a family meal."
The Hacienda Experience
"Staying at a hacienda adds to your cultural experience. Located in the Yucatan and Campeche states in the Yucatan Peninsula they have been restored and re-opened as hotels or private rentals. To me, the experience of staying in a hacienda means enjoying the finest accommodation in the region and at same time, supporting and making a difference to the way of life for the Maya communities."
"Imagine these properties from the 16th to 18th centuries surrounded by the Mayan jungle, lovingly restored to their former glory after decades of abandonment. Imagine the exclusive intimacy of these very large buildings with extensive gardens with no more than 28 bedrooms. You can escape and connect with life by swimming next to the old hacienda walls or indulging in a spa inside a cenote (a sinkhole where the ceiling of a cave has fallen in, considered sacred to the Maya as the entrance to the underworld). More than 90% of the hacienda staff are from the surrounding Maya communities and the amenities such as soaps and shampoos are locally hand-made. Your waiter might teach you a few Maya words or your children might have the opportunity to live the traditions."
The restored Hacienda Temozon.Photo: Hacienda Temozon
"The Haciendas del Mundo Maya foundation is a nonprofit organization that works with Maya communities in Yucatan and Campeche to conserve and develop Maya identity through the development of educational, health and economic programs. Also, nearly 90% of the employees working at the haciendas are from the local community."
"As a result, the Foundation and the haciendas have received several awards and certifications such as Earth Check, World Fair Trade Organization and Tourism for Tomorrow."
Archaeologists at work.Photo: Dzibichaltun archaeological site
Discovering the Yucatan Peninsula
"It's easy to visit the surrounding area by renting a car or hiring private transportation with a chauffeur. "Hacienda hopping" where you stay at more than one during your stay is another option."
"Private tours are an excellent way to discover the region. Led by specialists and top experts including archaeologists, historians and ornithologists, customized tours give you an authentic experience with access to exclusive properties. Examples of customized tours and learning experiences which can be arranged are:
- Visiting the Maya cities with an archaeologist
- Diving in cenotes
- Exploring private haciendas
- Swimming and dining in a private cenote
- Cooking classes
- Language classes
- Photography safaris
- Yoga retreats
- Study tours"
A colourful cenote sinkhole.Photo: Mexico Tourism
"These experiences appeal to those who enjoy premier bespoke and experiential travel and want to learn about the vibrant Maya culture as well as try something different."
"Day tours are available and can be arranged from the ports for cruise passengers."
"There are several ways visitors can participate in local projects as volunteers. Travel itineraries can be combined with sustainable activities. Options range from donating a book to the community to fully participating in a summer camp."
Thanks to Angelica for providing these excellent options for an authentic and revitalizing experience in Mexico's fascinating Yucatan Peninsula.
By Susan Milne