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“A wonderful, memorable day”
Review of Mayan Ecotours

Mayan Ecotours
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Mayan Ecotours is dedicated to the planning, development and operation of alternative tours. We are committed to providing personalized service using responsible ecotourism strategies while offering attractive options for anyone who seeks a balance between knowledge, nature and fun. Our company is staffed by specialized guides and certificates.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 204 helpful votes
“A wonderful, memorable day”
Reviewed September 25, 2013

For our final day in Mérida, we arranged a custom tour through Mayan Ecotours. We chose this approach because we wanted to see the caves at Lol-Tun, the ruins of Uxmal and, time permitting, a hacienda. The group tours we found did not offer this combination and while we could have rented a car for a DIY approach, we also wanted a knowledgeable guide for the day.

Mayan Ecotours charged us $223 US for the day, plus admission fees, which was very reasonable. They were a bit lax in getting the trip officially booked, and it wasn’t until a few days before our departure that we had it booked and paid for.

At precisely 9 AM their van pulled up and we were greeted by Israel, our guide for the day, who was well informed and absolutely delightful. On the drive south toward Lol-Tun we passed the Ecomuseo de Cacao and hearing us discuss it, Israel suggested that we stop on the way back.

My wife is fascinated by caves, and the visit of Lol-Tun was one of her highlights of our entire trip. It was just us, Israel, a couple from South Africa and the cave guide, who works for tips. There is much Mayan history to be learned on the tour, and it was well worth the drive. The cave features two hollow stalactites that when pounded, seem to utter the words “Lol … Tun.” And while I don’t buy the claim that the final room was one that the guide “never shows to anybody but was making an exception” for us, particularly because it came just moments before he was due his tips, it was a fascinating experience.

On our way from Lol-Tun to Uxmal, we did indeed stop at the Ecomuseo de Cacao, where we witnessed a Mayan cacao ceremony, performed by five men in white garb. I felt a little guilty that they were performing solely for our benefit, but noticed a sign on the way out that these ceremonies are regularly scheduled and we happened to arrive just in time to see one. And on the way out we were also shown how the ancient Mayans prepared their cacao beverage, complete with a sample. We were free to flavor ours with a choice of authentic seasonings. I found a pinch of chile was delicious.

On the drive toward Uxmal, we were repeating the chant we heard during the ceremony and joking with Israel that we should look for it on CD or at least on YouTube. I wished later we didn’t repeat this chant, since it turned out to be a prayer for rain—a prayer that was granted moments after arriving at Uxmal.

We initially told Israel that we were determined to tour Uxmal even in the pouring rain, but when lightning struck the caretaker’s house just behind us he implored us to wait at least until the lightning had ended. While waiting I noticed that everyone at Uxmal seemed to know Israel by name. When the storm had subsided to a reasonable degree we pressed on with our tour. Uxmal was one of my major reasons for visiting Mérida, and I was going to climb the Grand Pyramid even in the rain. Sidestepping many flooded areas, we walked around the grounds for about an hour and a half, listening to Israel’s descriptions of each of the many building complexes. Uxmal did not disappoint, even with the uncooperative weather. By the time we left it looked as if the storm was ready for another wave, which indeed it was, starting again as we headed out.

Israel got a phone call and he asked if we still wanted to stop at Hacienda Ochil. Due to the weather and now late hour they wanted to close if we weren’t coming. We assured him that we did want to stop, and it was nearly 5 PM by the time we arrived. Our intent was to see the hacienda itself, but it seemed as their expectation was that we were stopping for dinner. We were seated in the restaurant, where we decided to order a little something to tide us over until we returned to Mérida, where we had planned dinner at Casa de Frida. So my wife ordered some cochinita tacos and I had my first longaniza de Valladolid, a very smoky sausage flavored with achiote. We wondered whether they were disappointed that they had stayed open for two people who ordered only appetizers. While waiting for our food I snuck off and took a few pictures of the grounds. It was still raining when we got back to Mérida at about 6:30. We were quite pleased with our day and in retrospect we were glad to have hired a tour, since driving those back roads in the pouring rain would have been more adventure than we were seeking.

Visited September 2013
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1 Thank DMartin216
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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117 reviews from our community

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English first
Madison, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful Tour and Outstanding Guide”
Reviewed August 28, 2013

We didn't make too much preparation before our arrival to Merida; however, I feel so lucky to choose Mayan Ecotours that made our trip wonderful and impressive. I chose the tour of two cenotes with other three colombian friends, and our guide is Connie!!! (She's an excellent guide for sure!) The two cenotes were so amazing and natural, and there were no any other people visiting there, so it seems like a really private tour and you can enjoy the impressive nature without the pressure and disturb from other tourists. Actually, when I went to Cancun, the tours from Cancun also carry people to a cenote, but I was surprised to see so many people sharing a cenote, which seems ridiculous. Therefore, if you seriously wants to enjoy the nature, you'll not regret to choose Mayan Ecotours. Besides, we had our lunch in an old but beautiful Hacienda. The ingredients are fresh and of good taste. I so appreciate that Connie organized such a trip for us.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Lucero Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hayward ca
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Chichin Itza Tour”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Faviola:


The fact that your tour van picked us up at our Villas door at the appointed time was very impressive and we knew at that moment we had chosen the "Right" company.

It was one of the Best tours we have experienced. We travel extensively and have booked tours all over the Caribbean and by far our guides on this tour were very knowledgeable about the tour we booked. They answered all our questions and spoke fluent English so we clearly understood what they were talking about. In the past this particular language barrier has been a problem and we really didn't get the whole picture.


Wonderful couple and would and "have" recommended them to others on Trip Web Sites.


Also you yourself have been a jewel as we expressed to our tour guides. Your Company is blessed to have you as an employee, keep up the good work!





Thanks again!


Bobbi Evans

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank BooblaJean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Outstanding Guide (Luis)!”
Reviewed June 14, 2013

We were pleased with this tour. We departed from Merida and had a private tour (minimum is 4 people for a group tour) to visit Chitzen Itza and explore Dos Ojos cenotes. We were particularly impressed by our guide, Luis, who is not only a diver but also an anthropologist. He was extremely helpful and informative and we had a great time with him. As a matter of fact, we are still in touch with him and he's always been helpful even when we had random questions about Mexico. We recommend this tour, especially with Luis.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank AichaBen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bogota, Colombia
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Way to Expensive”
Reviewed June 12, 2013

I did the tour of Chitzen Itza and a Cenote. I really enjoyed the tour,bur even though it was a private tour with one other the price was extremely high compared to competitors even had to pay the entrance fee on top, so I expected a lot more. I should have shopped around more but arrived in Merida on a Friday and wanted to do the tour on Saturday, was recommended by theHotel Maison de Embadjor. Feel I was ripped off.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank AussieMitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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