Mexico is an incredible travel destination and many volunteers spend their weekends and time before and after the program to experience some of the great things the Yucatan region has to offer. We’ve listed below some of the most popular sites in the Yucatan that you can experience while on the IVHQ Mexico program.
In and Around Merida
The IVHQ Mexico program is based in the bustling cultural hub of Merida. Merida is the capital city of the Yucatan region and boasts an array of travel opportunities for volunteers, all within just a few hours of the city centre.
While staying in Merida, take the opportunity to explore Chichen Itza, the most famous of the Mayan ruin sites in the Yucatan and one of Mexico’s most visited tourist destinations. Set off on Saturday or Sunday morning for a full-day guided tour to gain a privileged insight into the history of Chichen Itza, which stood as a centre of pilgrimage for the ancient Maya for over 1,000 years.
Uxmal Light and Sounds Show
Set aside an afternoon to take a two hour coach ride to the Uxmal Mayan ruin site and spend some time exploring the impressive ruins, before enjoying a buffet dinner at a near-by hotel. Later in the evening, venture back to the ruin site to see the spectacular Light and Sound show, before heading back to Merida on the coach.
Ruta Puuc and Loltun Caves
Get a group of volunteers together and join a Sunday tour, travelling along the Ruta Puuc (or Puuc Route), just 80 kilometers south of Merida. En route, visit the Mayan sites (Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, X-Lapak, Labna), and explore the underground caves of Loltun, illuminated by electric lights.
Dizibilchaltun and Progreso
Just 15 minutes from the volunteer accommodation, you’ll find yourself amongst the ruins of Dizibilchaltun, where you can swim in the Cenote Xlacah (sink hole) and visit the Museo del Pueblo Maya (Museum of the Mayan People). Travel further north an extra 15 minutes to the quaint port town of Progreso and enjoy a seafood lunch by the beach.
Celestun Beach and Wildlife Reserve
Journey westward from Merida toward the Gulf coast town of Celestun. Upon arrival, take a boat trip through the wetland wildlife reserve, home to flamingos, pelicans and hundreds of other bird species. The boat excursion also includes a visit to a fresh water spring, where the water is crystal clear and ideal for swimming.
Just 70 kilometers east of Merida, you’ll find the relaxed historical town of Izamal. Nicknamed La Ciudad Amarilla (the Yellow City), the entire city is painted in yellow to represent the holy colour of the Mayan people. In Izamal, volunteers can explore the Mayan ruins within the town, making the steep climb to the top of the Kinick Kakmo pyramid, and visit the San Antonio de Padua convent, whose atrium is the second largest in the world.
If you would like more details on any of these locations or tours, our local team in Mexico can assist you once you are registered onto the IVHQ Mexico program.
To apply for the program or explore the volunteering opportunities available in Mexico, visit our Volunteer in Mexico page.