Mexico with its approximately 110 million inhabitants is officially situated on the North American continent. Surrounded by the USA in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the west, Guatemala, Belize and the Caribbean Sea in the southeast, and the Mexican Gulf in the east, Mexico is one of the world’s most impressive holiday destinations. Its great number of endemic plants and animal species make Mexico one of only 12 so-called “biodiversity hotspots” worldwide.
Mexicans are typically very proud people who enjoy their life to the full. This is expressed in the country’s colorful culture: Traditional music, dance, poetry, painting and dishes play an important part in Mexican life.
Mexico is a generally well developed country with a stable government. Of course, like in entire Latin America, there are parts of the country, which are underdeveloped and suffering from poverty. Mexico is considered a safe tourist destination. Only the border region to the US in the north and few parts of Mexico City should be avoided. The areas where we offer internships and volunteer options can be traveled to without any particular precautions, even by single female travelers.
Official language in Mexico is Spanish, but English is also widely spoken, particularly in the more developed tourist regions of the Caribbean Coast. Several indigenous languages exist in some rather secluded regions.
Numerous airlines connect Europe, North America and Asia with the airports of Mexico City and Cancun, some even with direct flights.
Our internships and volunteer projects currently take place at the Riviera Maya of the Mexican Caribbean Coast, more precisely at the town of Akumal and the island of Cozumel.
The Riviera Maya, located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo at the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, stretches from the city of Cancun in the north all the way down along the Caribbean coastline to the city of Tulum in the south which is a two hours’ drive. The Riviera Maya is the most developed region of Mexico, if not of whole Latin America. The International Airport of Cancun, a very good road system, and a well developed hotel infrastructure lay the perfect foundation for the region’s main source of income, tourism.
Breathtaking protected areas such as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, more than 7,000 cenots (limestone sinkholes with freshwater) that can only be found here, various old Maya sites such as Coba, Tulum and Chichen Itza, small Caribbean islands with gorgeous beaches, or the excellent diving conditions along the Mesoamerican reef, which is the world’s second largest coral reef, make the Riviera Maya one of the most diversified and popular travel destinations in the world.
Akumal (ca. 1,200 inhabitants), meaning “place of the turtles” in Mayan language, is a beachfront village that has not yet been discovered by mass tourism. Akumal is conveniently located between the cities of Tulum and Playa del Carmen (each about a 30 minutes’ drive away) at the main highway that connects the Riviera Maya.
Accommodation in Akumal
Currently, we accommodate you in a hostel of our choice. We are still working on options of family accommodation for our participants.
Leisure activities in Akumal
Akumal is a rather quite place. As throughout the Caribbean coast of Mexico, you will find white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters that invite you to do snorkeling or diving. There are several traditional restaurants mainly serving freshly caught seafood and fish. Due to its convenient location and good infrastructure, you can easily and inexpensively reach all cities, sites and activities of the Riviera Maya by public transport or private bus operators. The city of Cancun (>550,000 inhabitants) has many bars and night clubs. Playa del Carmen (>100,000 inhabitants) is somehow more quiet, but also has a trendy party scene.
Cozumel is a flat Caribbean coral island, home to several endemic species of animals and birds. With its 48km x 16km it is Mexico’s third largest island. The world-famous diving paradise is located about 20km off the mainland, simply reachable by ferry from Playa del Carmen. On Cozumel you can reach many places by foot or rent bicycles for larger distances.
The majority of Cozumel’s 70,000 inhabitants live in the capital, San Miguel, situated in the west of the island. Here, our participants will be accommodated.
Accommodation on Cozumel
Currently, we accommodate you in a hostel of our choice in the capital, San Miguel. We are still working on options of family accommodation for our participants.
Leisure activities on Cozumel
The island has magnificent Caribbean beaches, various cenotes, and is a paradise for divers from the whole world, as well as different kinds of water sport activities such as parasailing and kite surfing. There are also several small Maya ruins in the jungle.
In San Miguel, besides many small shops, there are numerous restaurants and a very attractive town square where you can spend the late afternoon chatting with locals. As the island has two universities with a lot of young people, there are many bars and nightclubs with hot Latino sounds, attracting both students and tourists. You should not miss the island’s traditional carnival in February.
Due to the excellent ferry connections with hourly departures, it is possible to visit all sites of interest of the Riviera Maya which have been described above, even when staying on Cozumel Island.