Maya Partners / Community Partners in Sustainable Tourism Development in Chichen Itza & Piste, Mexico / Sustainable Community Tourism is an Indiana University Program taught by Quetzil Castaneda. CLACS Service Service Learning in Yucatan Indiana University Bloomington / Heritage Service Learning Field Study Abroad / Summer Study Abroad / Heritage Development Studies, Tourism Studies. Field School. Field Study Abroad. Mexico. community action research, participatory research, participatory anthropology, New Seven Wonders of the World. Mexico, Chichen Itza.

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Community Tourism, Marketing & Development”:

              IU Service Learning in Yucatán

6 week course Summer Session, 6 credits

LTAM L-426 / L-526, Offered Through IUB Office of Overseas Study,Indiana University Bloomington

Combined Undergraduate & Graduate course



Community partners are a diverse group of tourism service providers located in Piste and the greater Piste-Chichen micro-region. Among our partners are community Cultural Centers, collectively owned businesses, cooperative operated eco-tourism attractions, associations of small business owners such as restaurants and posadas, artisan and heritage workers unions, and community goverments. Our overall goal is to participate in the future of the community with action research in ways that contribute to development of locals' vision of how they want tourism to be a part of their community.


Cenote de Yokdzonot is owned and operated by Cooperativa Zaaz Koolen Haá
Cooperative of 24 persons who over 10 years have developed an “eco-tourism adventure” destination.  Based on government funding through the federal CDI, this group developed the cenote for swimming, zipline and lunches. Yokdzonot is 15 mins west of Pisté on the main highway and requires second class bus service. In 2015, the Yokdzonot Team developed a re-branding strategy based on "eco-chic" tourism and expressed this in a new website. In 2016 the community tourism project team will continue to develop these initiatives by further web development and creating other ways to express and re-brand their services in this concept of eco-chic.


HelenK and Jake discuss their project of rebranding and website for Yokdzonot


DownTown Loncherias Pisté
Facing the 19th century church on the south side of the main plaza or k'iiwik (downtown) Piste are a set of three loncherias or small family run restaurants,located in the building called los Arcos. These three restaurants, Fabiolas, Los Arcos and La Gran Chaya de Pisté worked with the 2015 Loncherias Project Team. Jessica helped to create online presence on TripAdvisor and Nick initiated the design of multi-lingual menus. In 2016 we will continue to develop these initiatives to rebrand, market and promote the downtown restaurants of Pisté

The Loncheria Team 2015 created web promotional materials


Centro Cultural de Yaxuna
This organization has been around for approximately 25 years. It derives from the encounter of US archaeologists and the community of Yaxuna in which different visions of sustainable community tourism projects were worked on. The cultural center is associated with the community Cenote and includes a small community museum.  22 mins south of Pisté and requires taxi or shuttle service. Overnight lodging will be arranged for a few nights for the student team working with this partner. See images of Yaxuna on google search



Sindicato de los Custodios del INAH, Section CRY
The INAH is the National Institute of Anthropology and History. It is the federal agency charged with educational and research mission but also the conservation and protection of cultural patrimony or heritage.  This is the union of heritage workers – custodios – that protect archaeological sites from tourists and others.  This organization is especially interested in developing better relationships with the community in order to first foment a stronger sense of identity and responsibility of the community to archaeological heritage and second specifically instill a greater sense of responsibility and value of heritage on the part of the custodios themselves as a group.


Tinum County Government (Municipio) and Pisté Town Government (Comisaria)
The County Government coordinates tourism related activities, events, businesses, and work sectors.  These socioeconomic groups are most often not formally organized, except in the form of labor or trade unions, which thereby excludes the possibility of direct service learning.  Students therefore do project based service learning in the form of participatory action research. The specific sectorial groups with whom students conduct action research service learning are:  (a) owners of non-charter based eateries, including loncherias, small restaurants, food stalls, and pizzerias; (b) owners of posadas and small family run hotels; (c) taxi drivers; (d) tour guides; (e) retail handicraft store owners and artisans/artists.

Piste and Chichen on Facebook



OSEA–CITE: Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology and The Community Institute for Transcultural Exchange
OSEA–CITE are community partners of the IU Service Learning Program in Yucatán. OSEA–CITE provide infrastructure support to the IU program by sharing its research and teaching facility in Pisté. This includes a library, wifi access, classrooms, research labs, and study areas. OSEA–CITE offers a perfect setting for research, learning and community collaboration. The property in the heart of Pisté within 20 minutes walking distance from the archaeological site of Chichén. The property has an underground cave and a pre-columbian Maya pyramid.

Read more about OSEA–CITE



Program Content Program Logistics

⇒ Service Learning Projects  

⇒ Program Cost  

⇒ Program Locations 

⇒ Eligibility & Requirements 

⇒ Program Lodging and Meals 

⇒ Application Process 

⇒ Field Trips and Tourism Attractions 

⇒ Student Travel Info 

⇒ Community Partners 

⇒ Program Calendar & Schedule 

⇒ Course Syllabus   

⇒ Teaching & Research Facility  

⇒ Program Director & Staff / Faculty  

⇒ Travel Safety & Security in Yucatán  


This Service Learning experience will make THE difference in your life

Visitors to Service Learning in Yucatan Program, starting November 2, 2014

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