"[To those who] may be interested in going on an exciting and inexpensive archaeological tour of ancient Maya sites. Dr. Bruce Love (anthropologist in Palmdale, CA) is going to lead a tour of ancient Mayan sites in Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico and Central America this coming February 2010, organized by Ecoturismo Yucatan based in Merida, Yucatan. This is the same terrific tour, I and my twin brother went on in February 2007 with 7 other adventurers.
This is by far the best tour of these magnificent ancient Maya sites at a very reasonable cost.
I called this trip my "Indiana Jones" tour because of the unique approach the tour owner/organizer, Alfonso Escobedo, used to give us the feeling of being archaeologists, discovering these wonderful sites for the first time. We had the best tour guides at each site to lead us through the ancient archaeological site and Dr. Bruce Love told us what we would see along the way and the cultural significance of what we saw.
This tour was truly the highlight of my adult life, . . . so far."
Russel Block. Orange County (California) Chapter of AIA (American Institute of Archaeology)
Russel Block, Orange County (California) Chapter of AIA (American Institute of Archaeology)
Tour Ten days in Yucatan.
To Alfonso Escobedo, Ecoturismo Yucatan:
Many thanks for contacting us after our tour in the Yucatan. We really did have an excellent experience. We were very happy with Fausto Lugo as a guide. But I thought I could offer some suggestions that would make future tours better for future customers.
1) Suggested readings on the Maya. You could provide a short list of books about the Maya that could be sent to customers once they sign up for the tour. This would encourage some study ahead of time. Fortunately, we did that study, using especially the book by Robert Sharer and Loa Traxler, entitled The Ancient Maya (ISBN 0-8047-4817-9), but there are several smaller books that would also be helpful.
2) Arrival information. I asked Beatriz several times for details of pickup at the airport, and she provided no details. This was not good. The airport at Cancun can be very confusing. You could provide a short set of instructions, like the following.
“After exiting from customs, you will find an ATM machine from Santander Bank on the left, next to the money exchange counter. Your transfer company will be Royale Tours. You will meet their representative outside the airport building. You do not have to stop at the counters of hosts offering ‘tourist information.’ They are actually trying to sign you up for a sales visit for a time-share resort. You can also ignore the many taxi companies inside the airport building. Your transfer person will be outside. Once you leave the airport building, look for a sign with your name.”
3) Transfer information. We did not know which company was providing our final transfer from Akubal to the Cancun airport. And the Royale Tours person at the hotel in Cancun did not know when our return was. Perhaps this was because Beatriz had to leave, but it was not a comfortable feeling to arrive and have the transfer company not be informed about us.
4) Final tour information. We did not know which company would be doing the pickup for the tours to Cozumel and to Tulum/Xel-Ha, and we didn’t have a phone number. Fortunately, Fausto called them ahead of time, and then Royale Tours called us at the Akumal Caribe when we arrived, so we did make contact. However, on two of the three days, they sent the driver to the wrong hotel to pick us up. They made a mistake.
1) Drinks at meals. I think you should include one beverage (soft drink, coffee, or beer) in the package with the lunches. When we toured in Costa Rica, the package included a drink at lunch, and it felt more comfortable. Since we end up paying the cost of the drinks anyway, you could add it to the price of the package. The result would be more friendly.
2) Museums. The museum at Campeche was wonderful. And it was good to go to the museum after visiting Chicen Itza and other sites, so one can appreciate the craft and artwork of the people in the context of the cities in which they lives. But I’m wondering whether it would be possible to structure the tour plan to include a visit to the Merida archeological museum as well as the museum in Campeche. We did not get to go there, so we don’t know how good it is. If it is a very good museum, then it would be a good addition to the trip.
3) Bird reserve. This day was EXCELLENT. A very valuable part of the tour.
4) Restaurant suggestions. Fausto provided some restaurant suggestions in Merida (we liked La Bella Epoca) and Uxmal (we went to the Villas restaurant one night, and it was better than the Lodge Annex restaurant, which we did not like). The restaurants near the hotel in Cancun were mostly American chains (not attractive to us). A list of good restaurant options would be helpful.
5) Snorkeling at Club Akumal Caribe. We found out that there is good snorkeling in the lagoon at Akumal Caribe, but we did not have time to try it. Making an arrangement with their dive shop might be preferable (and cheaper) than the trip to Cozumel. We liked this hotel the best. It has a good restaurant and an excellent, quiet location.
6) The day at Tulum and Xel-Ha was very good. We especially enjoyed the ‘all-inclusive’ aspect of Xel-Ha, and the excellent snorkeling.
So these are our suggestions. We will be happy to recommend your company to others.
Steve and Peg Senturia
Steve and Peg Senturia, Brookline, MA
I want to let you know how pleased we were with all of our tours. We had excellent guides and drivers. They were courteous,informative, always prompt and very professional. All that was in my travel book concerning your company was certainly correct.
Thank you again so much from a very satisfied client.
Shirley J. Edgerton, Lamoni, Iowa, USA
I could not be more satisfied with the vacation arrangements. It is delightful to meet the local people. The food was wonderul. Hospitality and accomodations were supurb. There wasn't anything that did not meet or exceed my expectations. The trip was filled with beautiful surprises.
EcoTurismo Yucatan excels in introducing you to the ancient land of the Maya.
Our multilingual expert leaders interpret the Mayan history, architecture, culture and ecology for you. During our tours you will see the relationship of the ancient culture with the present culture and ecology.