Travel Guide: Information & Resources for Planning Your Trip. Chichen Itza & Piste Yucatan Travel Guide. Plan your trip to Chichen Itza, Tulum, Maya Riviera. Sustainable Community Tourism / CLACS Service Service Learning 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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Student Travel Solutions Yucatán
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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



Welcome to the OSEA Travel Guide!

The information you can find on these pages combines over twenty years of experience traveling to Yucatán and internet resources that I have found to be useful. If you have any suggestions on how to improve, update or correct the information on these pages or use links to other useful sites, please let us know.

Thanks! Ka'ah xi'ik tech utsi' ma'alo'ob!

OSEA Online Library (access requires password)
Information for participants on Insurance, Course Preparation, overnighting in Cancun, and access to Maya language materials, Release Forms, Readings

Planning Your Travel From Here
Getting To Yucatán
Selecting an Airline & Airport
Travel Books / Guide Books
Passports & Visas
Airport Arrival Tactics: Visa, Customs, Passport

Planning What To Bring
Weather, Clothing, Laundry
Personal Items
Equipment & Materials
Gifts to Bring

Geting Around in Yucatán
Getting To/Around Mérida
Getting To/Around Cancun
Getting To Pisté
Getting to OSEA (once in Pisté)
Locate OSEA in Pisté on google maps
Walking Instructions to OSEA from Bus drop off in Pisté

Ground Travel — Bus Stations, Schedules and Shuttles
General Information on Mexican Buses and Guide to Use
Current First Class ADO Bus Schedule (do searches for both Pisté and Chichén Itzá)
Cancun to Valladolid Bus Schedule.
Valldolid Bus Station and Pisté Shuttle Stop (Valladolid in Maya is called Zaci)

Logistics of Living in Yucatán
Money, ATMs, Banking
Electricity & Equipment
Telephones, Cell Phones, International Calling
Health, Heat & Wellness

Other Information & Travel Tools
Time Zones in the USA
Time Zones for select cities of Mexico
Weather in Merida, via weather channel
Weather in Cancun, via weather channel
US State Department Foreign Per Diem Rates for México

Currency converters for Foreign Exchange Rates:
(1) Oanda FX -- osea's top recommendation for Fx Rates.
(2) Xe Currency

Cash exchange rate on the street in Mexico (bank, hotel, casa de cambio, or store) is always at least half a point lower than official or market value. Rates in Yucatan on the street are lower than street rates for cash in Cancun and Maya Riviera locations. These are all significantly lower than the exchange rate in Mexico City or other places in Mexico. ATM rates offer the best exchange rate. ATM rates actually correspond to the official/market rates. Depending on your US bank and the ATM bank, you will be charged an additional US $5 to $8 thus, withdraw all the money you intend to use at once.

THE BEST Emergency Money Wires
The following three services are less than $5 per transaction. The exchange rate with these companies is extremely good. Each has specific per transaction, daily, monthly and 6 month limits of how much can be sent or received by same person. However in cases of emergency these hardly have any effect on what you need accomplished. Please not that these require a prior set up time of 5-7 days. It is worthwhile simply setting up an account as a back up emergency now even with the idea that you would not use it. Set it up and if you dont need it then dont use it! The set up time requires trial deposits into your bank account and verification of account.

WARNING: Western Union is the most familiar and predominant service known in the USA but it is also one of the worst in terms of cost $15 per transaction and it has among the lowest foreign exchange rates. . This has low exchange rates and high fee rate structure compared to virtually all other options. There are very pricey options for sending money online, in 15 minutes, overnight, and 2-3 day services. All of these are overpriced and not as effective as promised. Western Union does not always deliver as promised. Western Union is not recommended by OSEA. is a UK based company that has a flat rate of US$5 regardless of the amount of money up to US $3000, regardless of the country. It is entirely an online process that is impressive for ease, clarity and effectiveness.

Pickup Locations and Other Details
→ Pisté Pick Up Location. To receive money in Pisté: Select Piste, Yucatan, Mexico. Select ELECTRA as pickup location.
→ Pickup in Other Cities. Locations. You will need to investigate the city to find out which business location suits you best to receive the funds. Electra could be your default. It has good hours and found everywhere in Mexico
→ To receive funds that are sent to you, make sure that the sender uses the exact spelling of the exact name on your passport. You may even want to have the sender write your passport number in the request.

OSEA Statement on Safety in Yucatán and México
Response to reports of drug war related violence in US news (February 2009)

Yucatán is among the safest places to be in the world. It is certainly safer than ANYWHERE IN THE USA except for Idaho and Wyoming according to this website(click here ). Yucatán has had a violent death rate of approximately 2.2 (deaths per 100,000) during the first 5 years since the initiation of the "drug wars" in Mexico (2006-2011). This rate has not changed from before or after the initiation of the drug related violence. Cancun and the entire Maya Riviera is a tourism destination that receives over 2 million tourists annually. In the history of this tourism development, there has not ever been reported consistent violence directed at tourists in these travel destinations.

Yucatan has murder rate of 2.2. Comparatively, many major and safe US cities as well as Cancun have murder/violent death rates ranging from 8 to 12, such as Houston and Indianapolis. Cancun is as safe as Indianapolis. Detroit is an exceptionally dangerous place with 38 per 100,000 compared to the worst region of Mexico (northern Mexican states bordering Texas and California) having only a rate of 34 according to data from 2011. Check out this interesting interactive comparative map from the Economist.

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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