Compare and contrast different marine environments and regional cultures as you travel from the coastal city of La Paz—situated between desert mountains and the Gulf of California—to the Yucatán Peninsula on this program for high school students. Meet with marine biologists, researchers, and guides in La Paz. Learn about the history of human and animal habitation in the peninsula. Snorkel among coral reefs, observing sea lions in their natural habitats, on the beautiful island of Espíritu Santo, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. During this period, you live with a Mexican family, which opens up amazing windows into Mexican culture. Take advantage of continuous opportunities to practice your Spanish while exploring the region’s incredible natural environments and regional culture with host family members.
As the program moves to the Yucatán in southeastern Mexico—from desert to jungle—experience a completely different natural environment. Learn about pearl farming on the island of Cozumel and witness ongoing ecosystem restoration efforts through the installation of artificial reefs. Take a late-night beach walk to watch giant sea turtles laying eggs on the sand. Travel to Akumal beach for a guided snorkel excursion with sea turtles and manta rays. Discover the region’s strong Maya cultural influence, and visit the Maya archaeological ruins at Coba or Tulum.
The program begins and ends in Mexico City, giving you time to deepen your knowledge of Mexico’s culture, history, and food from the vantage point of the country’s expansive capital city. Visit the Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María, Frida Kahlo Museum, or take a walking tour of the old city.
Orientation: Mexico City, 3–4 days
Homestay: La Paz or Cozumel,* 11–12 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels, eco-lodge, ranch
* Homestay locations can vary.
Orientation in Mexico City
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample community: La Paz.
Thematic Focus in Yucatán Peninsula
During this period, you and your group will stay in a lodge.
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Mexico City
During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.
Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.
These are leader bios from summer 2014.
Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Anna Hamilton obtained her BA in public health and international development from Tulane University in May of 2014, with minors in Spanish and economics. In autumn 2014, she returned to Tulane to start her master's degree in public health monitoring and evaluation. Anna has extensive experience working with young adults as a swim instructor, volunteer teacher and tutor for both English and Spanish speakers, and resident advisor.
Anna and her family share a strong love of music. She also enjoys hiking and outdoor activities, learning new things, and meeting new people. She is a swimmer and a runner and completed her first marathon in February 2014. Anna has traveled widely in Central and South America and plans to work as a monitoring and evaluation specialist in Latin America after obtaining her master’s degree in public health.?
Originally from Austin, Texas, Emily headed to the east coast to attend the University of New Hampshire for college where she earned her BS in zoology. While studying at UNH, she completed a semester abroad in Perth, Australia, which catalyzed her love for international travel and adventures. Since completing her undergraduate degree, Emily has traveled to many different international locations for both work and pleasure. She is experienced in leading and working with students on adventure travel programs, such as in Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and the Galápagos, Turkey, Greece, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Caribbean. Emily recently completed her Master of Education from the University of Washington, where she specialized in outdoor/experiential education topics, and she currently works in special education for an elementary school in Seattle. When Emily is not traveling, you can find her enjoying all the Pacific Northwest has to offer, including skiing, hiking, paddle-boarding, and playing in the rain and sunshine!