After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover your new country, culture, traditions, and everyday life after your class is over.
Activities could include: workshops in local music, food & dance or enjoy local water sports!
At the weekend many students can arrange to take optional excursions to local cities or local places of interest. Some of the most popular weekend trips include: a ferry excursion to the island of Cozumel, visit a National Park (ecological wonder where both fresh and sea water mingle to create a natural aquarium), prehispanic temples including Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Uxmal. Get yourself started for a trip to Playa del Carmen with the links below:
Take the enchanting flavours of Mexico home after our exciting cooking course that introduces the art of traditional Mexican cooking while building on Spanish vocabulary.
Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity that is led by our hands on professionals!
5 afternoons per week/10 lessons (Monday-Friday), $200 per person
Top Highlights: See What Playa del Carmen is Famous For
A village situated on the Mexican coast, Tulum is also an archaeological site situated a little further north of the actual pueblo (village) itself. Along with Chichén Itzá, it is part of the Yucatan peninsula s Mayan heritage and also contains ruins of thousand year old buildings. Much smaller and less impressive than Chichén Itzá, it may be a good idea to visit Tulum before going to Chichén Itzá, to avoid disappointment. A nice outing, a visit to Tulum will have you go past a Hotel Zone, close to the beautiful beaches, from which you will be able to access the Sian Ka an biosphere.
We cannot do justice to the magnificence of the archeological sites of the Yucatan peninsula in this small space. Tulum is the only oceanfront city the Maya ever built, also the only one that is walled. Located on incredibly beautiful Caribbean beach, whoever it was that picked this site had some real estate experience. Tulum is small, it can be toured in about two hours, but offers some incredible insight into the life of the Maya.
Tulum may lack some of the grandeur of Chichén Itzá, it contains 60 buildings, which are thought to be about 10 percent of the original city. It stylized designs and the incredible setting more than make up for the lack of major pyramids. Up until the 1960s the only way to get to Tulum was by boat.
Now it is one of the Maya world s most visited sites, visit early if possible, to avoid the crowds. A small admission fee is charged. Multilingual guides are available. An early trip to Tulum, combined with lunch in Playa del Carmen, and an afternoon spent at Xel Ha makes for an great full day trip from Cancun.
Coba is the largest of Yucatan s archeological sites, it is also the least excavated of all the major sites on the Yucatan peninsula. Coba is none-the less important, to many Coba is simply put, AWESOME. Containing 20,000 structures, Coba once was home to as many as 40,000 Mayans.
Coba, which means "Ruffled Water", was built along the shores of five shallow lakes. Coba is a striking site with magnificent pyramids and incredibly detailed stelae. The Nohoch Mul pyramid, the tallest on the peninsula, reaches 140 feet into the sky.
Many experts say that the pyramids here rival those of Tikal in Guatemala. Multilingual guides are usually available, a good investment, considering the size of this site. Leave early, as this is an all day trip from Cancun. These ruins are considered a favorite stop for the more adventurous traveler. In the summer the heat and humidity here can be overwhelming.
Chichén Itzá is undoubtedly one of the wonders of the archaeological world. Founded in 495 AD, Chichén Itzá has been meticulously restored and this incredible site, with it s columned structures and warrior images, is reminiscent of ancient Rome.
The entrance to Chichén Itzá features a large visitors center and museum where you will find many of the best preserved sculptures and artifacts, on display. The ruins at Chichén Itzá are well grouped and although very large, it is fairly easy to get around and to see the most spectacular attractions. On the other hand, you could easily spend a week in Chichén Itzá and not have seen everything there is to see.
For that very reason it might be best to take a tour to visit Chichén Itzá. Many tours leave daily from Cancun. Another idea is to plan ahead, rent a car and spend one night in Mérida, a charming city about an hour and a half drive west of Chichén Itzá. You could then return the next morning, on your way back to Cancun. The archaeological zone itself is approximately a two and a half hour drive from Cancun. There are several "more than adequate" accommodations and restaurants close by.
Main Sights: Get to Know Mexico
Cancun perches on the western tip of the Yucatan peninsula and boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the Caribbean. The resort zone, built on a 14-mile-long barrier island just off the peninsula, is the center of tourist activity, with hotels, nightclubs, air-conditioned shopping centers and restaurants. The beaches are the primary draw and the water sports are unlimited; including scuba diving, windsurfing and sailing. Cancun has major numbers of nightclubs, discos and bars. The discos go all night, the bars range from fancy to downright funky. Live music and Karaoke, to ultra loud disco music, it just depends on your mood. Mini skirt and bikini contests, along with other promotions, are numerous.
Cancun is naturally a haven for water sports of all kinds. Just about every kind of water sport is available here. Almost every beach has vendors that offer parasailing, banana rides, jet skis and other varieties of small water craft. Parasailing is offered in different forms for one or two flyers, one of the variations offered here resembles a small flying boat that is perfect for the less adventurous.
Isla Mujeres is one of those great peaces that defy description, the name means "Island of Women". A small island, just a 45 minute ferry voyage from Cancun.
This is a great place to kick back and forget everything but the urge to relax. Rent a motor scooter and tour the island, have a massage, dive or snorkel in the national park, take in a Dolphin show or even swim with them, visit the turtle park. Or just relax on a beach and read a book. The beaches on the north end of the island are very calm and vendors will pass by and offer you coconuts and tropical fruits. There are a some charming restaurants right on the beach.
Xel Ha (pronounced Shell-Haw) national park seems like the largest aquarium in the world, only you are in a natural environment and it is a park, with many other attractions. Swimming and snorkeling in the warm protected lagoons and canals offer even the novice a chance to enjoy thousands of brightly colored tropical fish. This can be combined with walking trails and even a small museum.
There are parrots, dolphin shows, hammocks and music, ice cream vendors and of course - rolling beer bars. Everything you need can be rented, there is even an all inclusive entry package that includes meals and drinks along with your snorkeling gear. Xel Ha is a really great place to spend the afternoon after a early morning trip to see the ruins at Tulum.
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
Jungles of Coba
Hike and explore the jungles of Coba! Do a biking tour and dare a skip-line flight over a ceremonial hole. This and more awaits you on our Coba Extreme Tour. Swim in the clear water of a cenote, prepare tortillas with a Mexican family, climb the pyramids of Coba and much much more. Do the Yucatan Express and visit Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Aldea Maya, Valladolid and a cenote! Climb the startling pyramids and dive into the mysterious world of the Maya.
Enjoy a two day tour to the beautiful and enchanting city of Merida and surroundings. This enchanting town was founded by the Spaniard Francisco de Montejo who dismantled all the pyramids and used the huge stones as the foundation for the the Catherdral of San Idelfonso.
Xcaret, 50 miles south of Cancun, is an all day family adventure built around natural grottos, fresh and saltwater pools and underground rivers that run to the sea. A tropical "island like" ecological amusement park with dive sites, horse back rides an exotic zoo, museums and a few archeological sites thrown in for good measure. You can walk around on the bottom of a Caribbean lagoon with a dive helmet or glide down a jungle river, both above and below ground. There are turtles, monkeys, dolphin shows and encounters, snack bars and palapa restaurants with roving regional musical groups. Aspectacular evening Mayan themed light and sound show that starts at dusk and ends with the Papantla Indians swinging by their feet from a tall pole in a ritual that dates back through the ages.
This island, which lies exactly across from Playa del Carmen can be seen from the opposite shore and is Mexico s largest island. The island s biggest attractions are the diving and snorkeling sites. There is a lot of shopping to do here as Cozumel is a stop-over for many cruises. The stores and restaurants in the island s town, San Miguel, is aimed mainly at an American-style public, so places such as The Hard Rock Café and other franchises can be found here. The ferry service between Cozumel and Playa runs every hour, with each trip lasting around 30 minutes. Fees are around 15 USD for a round trip.
Mexico s largest island is also the scuba diving and snorkeling paradise of Mexico. This kicked back island could be the perfect South Seas retreat, except that it is just 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. If your a diver, this is where you will want to go. But the island offers much more to the tourist than just being a divers paradise. Great shops, selling almost everything, are everywhere.
There are many open air bars offering up relaxing tropical drinks, Mayan ruins and endless miles of deserted beaches that all play a part in the mystique that is Isla Cozumel. Many sportfishing charter operators are located in the small marina located just north of town. Accommodations range from very luxurious to very basic with a little of everything else thrown in.
All accommodations are located within a short distance of, or in San Miguel, the only town on the island. The good beaches are just a short taxi ride from San Miguel, so it is easy to plan your time on this island. The best reef diving is along the coast just south of town, with many reefs for different diving skills. Rent a buggy, car or motorcycle and drive around the island to discover what this island is all about. Be careful, you may not want to leave Cozumel once you have discovered its charm.
Beaches: Enjoy a Fresh Breeze
Central Beach of Playa del Carmen
The beach has pure fine sand with some exposed limestone so footwear is not required in most areas. A great location for Snorkeling, swimming, all types of water sports. It also offers Dive shops, beach bars & restaurants and even horse-rides on the beach.
For sporty types Playa del Carmen offers plenty of water activities, the most popular is scuba diving on the magnificent coral reefs that surround the area, and there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to experienced divers to make the most of it.
The less adventurous can snorkel, viewing the underwater world from above. A plethora of watersports equipment is available to rent on and around the beach, from sailboats to jetskis, parasails to charter fishing boats.
The island of Cozumel is only 12 miles (19 km) off the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula s east coast and 44 miles (71 km) south of Cancun. For years, Cozumel was a quiet sleepy island that didn t get many visitors until Jacques Cousteau did a documentary on it after discovering the world class scuba diving at the Palancar Reefs nearby.
Since 1961, Cozumel has been known as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. In fact for decades since that time, the only tourists visiting the island have been primarily scuba divers.
The beaches on the southeast of the island are really spectacular with little traffic so the beaches are pretty quiet. Sometimes people park their scooters and enjoy a beach all for themselves.
Sports: Go Out and Be Active
Playa has great corral reefs bordering the coastline, which are simply teeming with exquisite species of marine life. Part of the biggest barrier reef in the world, second only to Australia s Great Barrier Reef, it attracts many diving enthusiasts. In Playa itself you will find several diving stores carrying any equipment you may need on all kinds of different dives.
With the rich marine fauna and flora, Playa has an incredibly broad range of fish swimming in its waters. It is renowned for a great fishing location and frequented by many fishing enthusiasts.
Another active yet relaxing option is chartering a catamaran or small sailboat and making a day cruise of it. Spectacular weather ensure perfect sailing conditions to enjoy the Caribbean sea with your family and friends.
A rather more daring option, gazing down on your holiday destination from the heavens offers an original, thrilling and very different viewpoint.
What is a spectacular beach town, seaside resort without decent golfing facilities? The kinds of crowds that Playa attracts certainly calls for a first rate golf course, and it has one! South of Playa s main center, in a place called Playacar, you will find an 18-hole course designed by Robert van Hagge.
Nightlife: Let's Get The Party Started
One of the features that Playa del Carmen is best known for, aside from its beautiful beaches and charming weather, is the great nightlife. There are bars on the beaches as well as in town that play fun, lively music, serve delicious drinks and generally provide live entertainment too. There are moods to suit everyone, quiet small affairs, loud and rowdy places, beach side bars, sports bars and bars with TV s, pool tables and other games.
Generally closing time is around 2 am. Nightclubs and discos stay open until 4 am and sometimes later. While the locals and tourists here are fun loving and enjoy partying, don t expect Ibiza for example. On nights when a full moon glows in the sky, all-night raves are arranged on the beaches. A particularly popular beach for this is Coco Beach.
Unlike Cancun, here one makes the most of Playa s small dimensions as you can easily walk from one bar to the next without having to climb into a taxi or catch a bus every time. Walking home to your hotel is also easy when you decide to call it a night.
The Blue Parrot is one of the most popular after hour clubs. Walking along the Quinta strip gives you a chance to check out all the places dotted along it, as well as the bars and clubs tucked away on the side streets. There are new places sprouting up by the week, as Playa s popularity continues to grow. For jazz lovers, Apasionado is the place to be to enjoy some great live music.
Festivals & Events: See What They're Celebrating
This lively, colorful fair started out as a stock breeder event and to this day is still the most important event in the stock breeder trading industry in Mexico. However, many features have been added as the years went by to make this a true celebration, so besides livestock, you will also come across many other regional products, small theme parks, horse races, entertainers, cockfights and the traditional palenque festival.
For several years now, an annual bird watching festival has been held in Yucatan, usually around November, where enthusiasts can participate in workshops, conferences and exhibitions.
Autumn Cultural Festival
Another annual festival typical of the region, this festival celebrates Mexico s and particularly, Yucatan s culture through lively and original music, dance and theatre productions.