Review: Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with Gap Adventures (Part 2 of 4)
This hub belongs to a 4-part review of my trip to the Yucatan Peninsula with Gap Adventures. To read Part 1, click here.
Gap Adventures appears to be a well-run company. The leader I had was knowledgeable and was fluent in Spanish (a necessity when speaking to locals). Our tour guide honored our wish to have an authentic Mexican experience. We dined at authentic Mexican restaurants—the restaurants frequented by locals, not tourists. I realized how special my trip had been when I stayed one extra day in Mexico. I found a Mexican restaurant in Cancún that was very touristy. At this establishment, every five minutes it seemed, musicians or vendors would stop by the tables requesting money. Tourist attractions and resorts are one thing— the real Mexico is another.
The prices of Gap Adventure trips vary greatly. My trip was $1079 CAD for 10 days. Considering the price of accommodation is about $100 a night anyways, the price for the tour was great. The price depends on the length of the trip, the location, whether meals are included or not, and the comfort of accommodations. My trip did not have any meals included; however, our tour guide took us to restaurants with cheap but good, authentic Mexican food. I thought it was great that the price is per person and not per couple or group. As a single traveler, I didn’t want to pay more than people traveling with others they knew.
Resources on Mexico
The Yucatan Panorama trip offered plenty of opportunities to visit Mayan ruins. The tour included the famous Chichén Itzá ruins, as well as the ruins in Palenque and Tulúm. One of the optional activities I did (not included in the tour price) was the Yaxchilan/Bonampak tour. It was an all day trip, which at the time cost 600 pesos (or $60 USD). The Yaxchilan ruins were amazing, and I can definitely recommend them. The ruins were much like Chichén Itzá, except they allow visitors to see what the ruins would look like if you were Indiana Jones and encountering ruins for the first time. These ruins were close to the Guatemala border and you need a boat to get there. These Mayan pyramids still have plants growing around them and bats living in the inside passages of some of the structures. Pretty neat!
There were plenty of opportunities to shop as well. In my opinion, Mérida was the cheapest place and best place to shop on this trip—there were several markets to explore with reasonable prices.
This trip also had some unique optional activities. On many of the days, there were activities planned which were included in the tour price, such as guided tours of the ruins. However, the trip also had some “explore” days. On my second day in Mérida, I went with my group to the cenotes, which were sink holes in the ground—the holes were in caves which had a pool of water to jump into. Swimming in a cave was unexpected but a wonderful experience. Furthermore, the way to the cenotes involved riding on a horse drawn cart that rolled on trail tracks.
With plenty of sightseeing activities, optional adventures and rest travel days (e.g., part of the day spent on the bus), I felt like there was a nice balance between activity and rest. It helped that the 8 hour bus ride from Palenque to Tulúm was an overnight bus, so that we didn’t cut into our sightseeing time. We covered a lot of ground in 10 days!
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- Part 1 of Review: Why Mexico? Why Gap Adventures? The Trip
- Part 2 of Review: Overall Impression, Cost, Sightseeing
- Part 3 of Review: Accommodations, Travel Companions
- Part 4 of Review: Tips for Travelling with GAP, My Recommendation
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