Mexico – The Riviera Maya – 22 Day Teen Learning Community

Akumal Beach also known as turtle beach

Akumal Beach also known as turtle beach

Mexico: The Riviera Maya retreat with an emphasis on culture, history, archeology and the sounds & flavors of Mexico.

A 22-day learning community retreat taking place throughout the Mexican Caribbean.

When:  February 8 – February 29, 2016

Where: Quintana Roo  including: Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Tulum & Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Status: closed


Who: 8 or more teen participants (ages 15-21) unschooolers, homeschoolers, worldschoolers and teens and young adults who are self-directed
A minimum of 8 participants is required to produce this learning community retreat


Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos


  • Full accommodations for the duration of the learning community retreat
  • All airport transfers
  • All ground transportation
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinners during the retreat
  • Entrance fees to the archaeological sites, museums, cenotes and other attractions
  • Ferry passage to Isla Mujeres & Cozumel
  • All workshops, talks, guided tours, and classes throughout the retreat
  • Filtered drinking water to refill your water bottles (water bottle not included)
  • Community
  • Fun!
The Tulum Ruins

The Tulum Ruins


Does not include: International airfare, laundry services, snacks, and meals during travel days:  February 8th & February  29th. Also not included are  extras such as souvenirs, toiletries, batteries, insect repellent or other personal items.



Schedule: *

Day 1  – Arrive in Cancun- Meet and greet
Day 2 – Lots of  Tacos + Ice Breakers
Day 3 – Explore Cancun – Culture & History
Day 4 – Travel to Puerto Morelos to visit the world’s second largest protected coral reef
Day 5 – Travel to Playa del Carmen and visit the famous beachfront
Day 6 – Cooking lessons, an exploration through Mexico’s traditional flavors
Day 7 – Day trip to the island of Cozumel
Day 8 – Visit to Tulum, the ruins and snorkeling
Day 9  – Beach day in Playa del Carmen, evening fire
Day 10 –Day trip to Punta Laguna Nature Reserve
Day 11 – Explore two of Mexico’s mystical cenotes, underground caves and rivers
Day 12 – A day trip to Unesco World Heritage Site, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Day 13 – Day of service (TBD)
Day 14 – Day trip to Coba ruins
Day 15 – A trip to Akumal beach, also known as Turtle Beach
Day 16 –Return to Cancun
Day 17 – Visit to one of the world’s wonders, Chichén Itzá
Day 18 –Explore Cancun’s markets
Day 19 – Ferry to Isla Mujeres
Day 20 –Visit to turtle reserve and zoo on Isla Mujeres, return to Cancun
Day 21 –Final night banquet in Cancun
Day 22 –Airport, return to your home destinations

*Schedule is subject to shift





During this 22-day temporary learning community retreat, you are invited to immerse yourself into the culture, customs, history and traditions of Mexico. Even though the country is vast, our route will allow us to experience the coastal region and many of the conservation efforts, the jungle with its preserved wildlife, history through the ancient sites built by the Mayan culture and later occupied.

Although our group will be visiting many of the popular tourist sites, as always, we’ll do so with consciousness and intention. As a group, we’ll look beyond the tour guides and ask our own questions, put together our own theories and appreciate the people of the land who will make our experience in Mexico very rich, indeed.


During the Mexico – Riviera Maya 22-Day Teen Learning Community, we will be staying in 3 different hostels; one in Cancun, one in Playa del Carmen and one on Isla Mujeres. All the hostels we stay at are registered with the tourist board and local tax departments. They must meet certain standards in order for use to stay there. We will be posting more details about the locations during November – December, so check back here for details.  We will always occupy dorm rooms that consist of bunk beds so between 4-8 of our teen participants will be sharing a room.



All meals consist of the local flavors of Mexico. Many of our meals will be prepared by our team in our hostel. Breakfasts will consist of fresh fruit, juice, eggs,  and local “pan” (bread). Lunches will be a combination of tacos, salads, tamales and other local flavors. On the days we have all full-day outings, we’ll prepare and pack lunches for our trip, including sandwiches, fruit, tortilla chips and juice. Dinners will be a combination of self-prepared meals in our hostel and dinners in local restaurants. We will make every effort to accommodate everyone’s diet restrictions including having vegetarian and gluten-free options . Please indicate any special needs on your application.


Let’s face it, Mexico gets a bad rap. Sure, portions of the country remain off-limits, but the risks of visiting many of the most popular adventure destinations have been overstated. You just need to know where to stay. According to this article in Outside Magazine:

While some cynical travelers say the State Department’s General Information Program and travel warnings are overly cautious and politically motivated, the department has taken extra steps to be nuanced in explaining the risks for Mexico.

Among the regions with NO advisory in effect: Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo (the region containing Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen), the Yucatan, and Mexico City.

spices of mexico


Located alongside the blue-green waters of the Caribbean, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo offers visitors plenty of sunshine and white beaches along the beaches from Cancun to the island of Cozumel. There is so much more to see and do in this part of Mexico, also known as theRiviera Maya . We have selected a few of the historical, natural and just plain interesting attractions and sites for our group to experience. One thing’s for sure, we have so many options for fun under the Mexican sun. Below are a few of the attractions on our itinerary:


cenote5 cenote4 cenote3 cenote2 cenote1





A Cenote (say-no-tay) comes from a Mayan word which translates as “Sacred Well” in English. Cenotes are a unique ecosystem of underground caves and rivers throughout Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Tulum is considered the Mecca of cavern and cave diving in the world with each cenote offering something different, impressive, and unique.

Sac Actun

Cenote Sac Actun is situated in a beautiful jungle setting and is excellent for both diving and snorkeling. Considered by many as the most beautiful with exceptional formations. Various animal skeletons can be found within the caverns of this cenote.

Cenote dos Ojos

Dos Ojos, one of the most famous cenotes in the Yucatán Peninsula, means “two eyes” in English. Located 17 Kilometers from Tulum, Dos Ojos has a water temperature 24 to 25 °C (77 Fahrenheit) year-round and has crystal clear water perfect for diving and snorkeling.

Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá

Castillo and Kukulcan are the primary reason to visit Chichen Itza, they are hardly all that’s on offer here. Otherworldly bird-watching and stargazing experiences can be found within the Maya Jungle Reserve and in Hacienda Chichen’s Bird Refuge.

Cobá Ruins


Considered by many as the most important Mayan Ruin in the Yucatán, Cobá is a must see when visiting Tulum. Located about 45 minutes away, Cobá is a archeological site whose buildings are scattered over a wide expanse of territory that can be toured on foot, rent a bike on site at the entry to the ruins, or hire someone to take you around on their chauffeured tricycle. Climb up the main pyramid, Nohoch Mul, rising 42 meters to enjoy the view of the surrounding jungle.

Punta Laguna Nature Reserve

Punta Laguna is an “off the beaten path” type of adventure in the Riviera Maya. We will see wildlife like monkeys in their natural environment, canoe in a lagoon, bird-watch and maybe even do some camping, this place has your name on it.On June, 5th 2002 Punta Laguna was declared a National Protected Area with the official name of  Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh (the home of the spider monkey and the puma) with a surface of
5 367.423 hectares.

Sian Ka’an

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Translated from Mayan it means “where the sky is born.” It is comprised of a series of virgin beaches, lagoons, jungle, and ruins.


Fondly known as “The Place of the Turtles,” Akumal is THE beach to go to snorkel with the Sea Turtles just off it’s wide beach! Akumal is a great place to enjoy the beach, swim the crystal clear water and simply relax in paradise.


tulum4 tulum2tulum3


Mayan ruins tower over the sea in Tulum. The formerly walled city was one of the last to be built by the Mayans, and its archaeological sites are incredibly well preserved. Take a break from the beach to visit El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God. Explore an underground river under a canopy of stalactites in the sacred caverns of LabnaHa Eco Park, or dive into Cenote Dos Ojos to snorkel inside of caves in the middle of a forest.

Isla Mujeres









Isla Mujeres offers a wide variety of tempting options for beach lovers, and is a relative bargain. Snorkel with tropical fish amid coral reefs, skim the blue waters by kayak or boat, or windsurf along the shores of soft, sandy beaches. On land, you can sunbathe, dine on seafood, dance to Latin rhythms, tour on a moped or belly up to the bar for fresh, delicious drinks.




One of the top diving destinations in the world for its bright storybook coral reefs, the island of Cozumel is also home to a variety of natural beaches. Choose a beach with soft white sand for relaxing, or snorkel off a rockier vista. A destination for both adventure and romance, Cozumel has a year-round Caribbean climate, untrammeled jungle and abundant nightlife.

Volunteer Opportunity

Our Mexico 22-Day Teen Learning Community, taking place in the Riviera Maya runs from February 8 – February 29, 2016. However we are looking for 2 of our teen participants to fly into Cancun, Mexico 10 days early to help us run the “Kids camp during the Mexico Family Project World School Summit”. All the information about that gathering can be found here.  It won’t cost you anything more, all of your expenses will be paid including food and lodging during that period. In fact, you’ll receive a $150 discount off your retreat price. Please indicate you are interested in applying for the volunteer position on your application.


In order to qualify for the early bird discount, you must get your application in by November 15th AND pay the $1,000 deposit to hold your space. 50% of your deposit is refundable if you cancel 60 days prior to the retreat (December 10th).


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