Come to vacation in Yucatan, Mexico.... visit ancient Maya cities, participate in sacred Maya ceremonies, explore caves and underground rivers, or just enjoy a good Mexican Dinner Party with your friends!

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    Traveling abroad should be a very rewarding experience if proper planning and preparation are done ahead; we invite you to read our help full travel tips and tourist travel safety.   Creating a truly memorable vacation requires safety precautions and wise money decisions prior to departure; such preparations will help you avoid stressful surprises and predicaments.  Special care should be taken when visiting busy worldwide tourist destinations. Whether you plan to travel to a highly popular domestic region such as Miami Beach in Florida, or abroad to the Maya Riviera and Cancun in Mexico, we advice you to prepare and avoid unnecessary troubles, credit card fraud, or even stressful medical emergency.  While in the Yucatan Peninsula, travelers should take safety precautions when visiting the large busy touristy sites such as Cancun but not beyond normal travel levels.  Yet, as you approach Yucatan rural and small villages areas you are generally in safer grounds; in general Mayan rural people are not violent, actually most of them are friendly and helpful to travelers; you can help Mayan rural communities by participating in our Yucatan's volunteer social programs, do read our most FAQ and help us help!

Important Information to gun-owner travelers: Please be aware that Mexican Federal Laws prohibit any person to bring guns or other weapons into the country (Mexico) even if your gun is a register legal weapon in your country of origin; it will be a federal legal crime to bring it into Mexico! A crime punished with immediate federal prison.  Thus, check your luggage to avoid traveling to Mexico with any weapon including: bullets, rifles, hand-guns, and other weapons.  Airlines do not inform travelers of this law but it will be immediately enforced at the point of entry. Contact your Consular Agent for further information. Ask the  US Cancun Consular Office for other situations to avoid so your trip to Mexico is full of great memories and fun!

Hacienda Chichen in a proud member of "Pack for a Purpose" check the list of items you can bring to help us help Maya Children  Supporting the Maya Foundation In Laakeech
   Hacienda Chichen and "Pack for a Purpose"

    Please help us help our Maya local communities social initiatives and social support by packing a few "gifts of love" and/or personal donations to continue our sustainable ventures dedicated to the  Maya rural children's Education, Health, and Personal Use.

Click the Pack for a Purpose Bag Logo to check the needs and gift list needed in our social sustainable incentives and community projects.  The Maya Foundation In Laakeech and Hacienda Chichen are dedicated  sustainable donors committed to the welfare of Maya Children living in rural communities nearby the Hacienda Chichen.

 

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    To help you prepare, Travel Yucatan Today and Chichen Services offer travelers 10% savings on room costs by confirming a prepaid reservation with them; plus, encourages you to read our safe travel tips and information bellow; take the time to follow our recommendations and necessary precautions, they will help you avoid unnecessary travel related sagas and troubles some tourists get caught in:

 

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Travel Tips:
 
Travel Money & Credit Cards
Know your Mexican Currency & Exchange Rate
Best Way to Avoid Credit Card Cloning & Fraud

Quick Check List Before You Travel to Mexico
Yucatan's Roads & Public Transportation Safety

Medical & Travel Insurance
Using your Mobile & Internet Abroad

Atlantic & Caribbean Hurricane Season
Remember During & After a Hurricane Storm

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For the latest entry requirements, contact the Embassy of Mexico in USA web site

Mexico's Travel Entry and Exit General Documents Information
Travelers should check their Mexican Embassy and Consulate's current legal requirements for foreigners "entry and exit" documents; US citizens may click our Mexican Flag (left) logo to help them get direct online access to their Mexican Embassy.  For further travel information contact the USA Gov. travel advices.  Remember, all USA citizens are required to present a valid passport upon entering and exiting Mexico.  A note about Minors traveling to Mexico:

Minors regardless of nationality: Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican citizen under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child to or from Mexico.  This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s).  The State Department recommends that the permission should include travel dates, destinations, airlines and a brief summary of the circumstances surrounding the travel.  The child must be carrying the original letter – not a facsimile or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate or court document) – and an original custody decree, if applicable.  Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy or closest Mexican Consulate for current information.

Mexico currencyTravel Money & Credit Cards

   
When you're abroad it's always wise to carry a small amount of local cash with you to pay for taxis and other services.  Please note that as of May 2012, Mexican banks no longer accept travel checks to be deposited by businesses, thus we recommend you DO NOT BUY TRAVEL CHECKS as many hotels, stores, car rentals and restaurants will not be able to accept them when paying your bill. It is wise to bring one credit card with enough available credit power to do all your purchases and charges abroad and a second credit card (optional) to be used only in case you get caught in an emergency. We do suggest you travel with one credit card only for maximum safety. Do call your credit card's customer service to let them know the places you will visit and stay with the dates of your trip, so they do not but a stop purchasing mode to your card after you use it once or twice while abroad.  REMEMBER:  It is frustrating to have your card blocked by the bank to prevent fraud or unauthorized purchases when it is you who is doing the purchasing abroad.  Due to Credit Card Fraud all over the world, you are better off not using your Debit Cards as they are more risky if you lose them; because debit cards are linked directly to your bank account and you have no protection from wrong use. Make at least one scan or copy of your credit card and place it in a safe spot, so in case you lose it abroad you can contact their service to get help and stop fraud. DO NOT use your credit card to withdraw cash while abroad, and don't get tempted to use your card on any ATM abroad, the comfort can cost you the card to be cloned and your PIN to be register and ready to be used in fraud purchases without your knowledge.  Needless to say, foreign withdrawals from ATM  carry high service charges fees and foreign-currency conversion fee; credit card providers charge a truly higher rate of interest for cash advances than for paying purchases abroad.

    Know your Mexican Currency & Exchange Rate

      Having the right currency ahead of time is a comfortable and inexpensive way to avoid bank charges and wasting your money with other surprise fees normally placed by credit cards, in all foreign exchange purchases at abroad tourist destinations.   We recommend you take the time to buy Mexican Pesos and become familiar with each bill to avoid inadvertently giving or getting the wrong bill (say a $200 rather than a $20).  Get acquainted with the current exchange rate offered by banks to safe money during your trip. For many years, Mexican pesos have normally fluctuated from $10.30 pesos per US dollar, to $13.70 pesos per US dollar. A quick rule of thumb is to use the ten pesos per one US dollar for a quick mental conversion rate to help you have a price in mind, but do check the rate the retailer is offering you prior to purchasing any goods.  Most hotels, restaurants and stores offer a $11 pesos per US dollar exchange rate, such is the case at Hacienda Chichen Resort,  Yaxkin Spa and the exclusive Toh Boutique in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

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    Best Way to Avoid Credit Card Cloning & Fraud Yucatan Adventure Travel Tips

      Don't let your credit card out of sight! Credit Card fraud and cloning has been reported all over the world and especially in major tourist destinations, and Mexico's Maya Riviera is reported as a high risk zone for stolen credit card information.  Reports from travelers that give their cards and PIN at bars and restaurants after too much drinking just to find that their credit card has been cloned and used in some other state a few days later are common in such areas.  Rental Car clerks that misuse the given information are also known.  Therefore, we recommend travelers to avoid credit card purchases as much as possible and to suppress their desire to use ATM cash advances unless a true emergency hits them, and to use only Bank front ATM sites where PIN chip-recording is not likely to be an issue. 

     Always stay close to your credit card and observe the processing charge to it, best if you use your card in an open lobby reception where you can personally see all the clerks moves and your credit card at all times; wired bank authorizing machines in Mexico, such as the ones serving at Hacienda Chichen Resort in Chichen Itza, are provided and sealed by the banks that manages these machines and clerk credit card processing transactions are monitored with a security video system to protect clients and staff alike from fraud claims.  Wired bank devises are generally safe and controlled by the bank directly; thus, payments and charges processed by these machines are highly unlikely to be unmonitored by the bank safeguarding your card from fraud.  Wireless credit card processing machines may or may not be bank authorized and may have a registering chip or skimmer use for cloning cards, do not use them. 

     Another advise: ask to see the Rental Car clerks monitor when processing your credit card information; never allow them to "record in their computer system" your credit card information without you viewing where your card data is being recorded, beware clerks passing your card through their processing slit if you don't have a clear view of the monitor; the card information may be uploaded in a fraud website without your knowledge.  Most Credit card frauds are likely to occur several days after your card data was stolen, most clerks involved in credit card fraud do this in order to confuse a potential investigation; waiting to use a clone card works because most travelers continue using their cards to purchase or pay their hotel bills and other legitimate charges.  Since cloning crooks avoid immediate charges and use credit cards in other states, it is not easy to have immediate recognition of the place where your card information was stolen or cloned.

      In highly popular tourist destinations, you credit card is more likely to be exposed to cloning and credit card fraud, so avoid the temptation to use it everywhere; clerks normally are out of state residents looking for an opportunity to make money rather than long time residents with family tides in the area; so pay close attention when visiting Mexico City, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya, etc and the likes, these tourist destinations are more likely to have people willing to risk stealing your credit card data and charge purchases online or use a cloned card outside the state you visit, since they are connected to other people living in different states and regions.  Small rural areas are not likely to have cloning devices and staff willing to engage in credit fraud; so chances to have your credit card data in a small tourist destination such as Uxmal, Muna, Chichen Itza, Izamal or Celestun is extremely low.

     DID YOU KNOW: Most people have their cards cloned from ATMs and Chip & PIN machines.  Protect your credit,  use cards only in ATMs within a reputable bank lobby or glass boot at a bank site. Avoid the temptation to use ATMs in malls, shopping centers and unsupervised tourist sites, they are too risky.

 Quick Check List Before You Travel to Mexico:

  • Make sure you do not carry weapons, personal guns, rifles, ammunition, and even spent casings into Mexico; it is a federal offence met with 5 to 10 years in prison, no exceptions; US citizens used to carry and travel with their personal pistols etc. should truly carefully inspect their luggage and bags before packing to avoid arriving into Mexico and having to face "Federal Law Enforcement " sagas for careless packing.

  • Buy at least one week in advance some "pesos" which are the Mexican currency (Mexican bills shown on left photo) from your local Bank or Money Exchange Agency.

  • Write down the serial numbers of the travellers checks and International phone-line to report stolen checks; have this information in a separate bag or safe area while you travel.

  • Bring a few US bills with you for a comfortable return home to pay taxis, airport fees, etc.

  • Prepay your hotels rooming online when possible or pay with travellers'' checks their bills.

  • Bring no more than two major credit cards with you but use them wisely:  for car rentals and hotel charges, avoid using them at tourist stores, restaurants & bars because that is were you are most vulnerable.

  • Make sure that the webpage used to process your credit card charges, is a https:// (SSL certificated) especially when processing payments in local car rental companies, shops, etc. Beware of unsafe sites and car rental processing computer systems. The term 'https' should always precede any website URL where you enter personal information or pay for anything online. The 's' stands for secure. If you don't see 'https,' you're not in a secure web session, and you should not enter credit card data.

  • Leave a photocopy of your credit cards (front and back) with a trusted person you can easily reach; write down the credit card International phone-line to report a stolen card.

  • Call your credit card company and let them know which cities and dates you will be travelling; ask if your credit card is valid in the country you’re visiting and that they put a purchase limit to each automatic transaction authorized, otherwise to request you call them for charge verification and approval (this action avoids major fraud purchase charges).

  • Protect your PIN from cameras and people's view. Keep in a safe place all credit receipts.

  • Call your medical insurance office to let them know you will be travelling to Mexico and ask if it covers emergency medical care in the areas you will be visiting, many insurances cover hospitals that have International service exchange that are covered.  Otherwise, consider buying a travel medical insurance policy if you are planning scuba-diving or other potential emergency activities while vacationing abroad.

  • Get the US Embassy and Consulates phone and address information of the regions you plan to visit..

While Abroad:

  • Leave your passport and personal information documents such as
    social security cards, and your money in a safe place at your hotel.

  • Carry daily only the money you plan to spend.

  • Carry your cash, driving license and a credit card in a safe belt-bag
    only when you plan to use them.

  • Use Bank Front ATM boots only, avoid tourist site ATMs.

  • Don't leave your credit card out of your sight. Don't use it for every
    payment, best to carry Travellers Checks and small bills with you.
    Enjoy a great Eco-Cultural Vacation and our Green Vacation Packages

  • Report stolen cards immediately and contact your credit company
    to periodically check which purchases have been recorded.

Quick Travel and Money Check List provided by
Isabel Gutierrez, owner Chichen Services Travel and
Maya Foundation In Laakeech Executive Board Member


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      Yucatan's Roads & Public Transportation Safety

     Yucatan's spacious toll highways and comfortable rural roads welcome visitors and residents alike to move at ease throughout the peninsula's many wonderful archeological sites, cenotes and Colonial cities; yet, serious road accidents are reported in highly populated tourist roads, highways and streets due to careless driving.  Take time to study a road map before you engage in any driving and drive within the speed limits allowed in each road, warning signs are not always easy to spot and tall speed bumps are everywhere unannounced, especially in free-rural roads.

Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can cause a stay in a local prison that is not fun nor cheap for anyone, but especially for a foreigner; so avoid thinking you are in Mexico and it is ok to have a few beers and drive.  Parking is best in public parking lots called "estacionamientos,"  and avoid street parking when possible since your car may get impound by the police for wrong parking.

Driving to Chichen Itza Yucatan: Check this easy Google Map which will help you find the most popular roads and highways tourists and local people use to drive in comfort and enjoy their vacation time in Yucatan, Mexico:

 
View Larger Map

       Driving to Chichen Itza (Directions):  Use the above Google Map to get familiar with the roads, free highways (Carreteras) and toll highways.  Driving from Merida, Cancun or Riviera Maya to Chichen Itza is very easy and comfortable.  We highly suggest to newcomer visitors to stay in the toll highways to avoid driving through small times which may get confusing at first.  Take Highway or Carretera kantunil-Valladolid (also known as Carretera Mex 180D Merida-Cancun) until you get to the toll booth of Piste, pay the road fee and follow the signs to Piste downtown plaza, make a left turn and at the end of the village you will find a fork in the road Mex180 stay on the right lane to find the parking lot of the Mayan archaeological zone of Chichen Itza.

Hacienda Chichen and Yaxkin Spa road entrance, visit us for a great gourmet organic meal.

    Driving to Hacienda Chichen: Follow above instructions until you get to the fork in the road after you past through Piste town, instead of the right road path, continue on the left lane of the fork, the road will curve a bit to give space to the Mayan zone, keep driving (you will see a blue road sign with the Hacienda Chichen and Yaxkin Spa words on your right-side of the road) slow down when you see the road curving to the left because right there is the road exit to the Zona Hotelera Chichen Itza  make a sharp 300 degree right turn; once you are down that small rural lane road, you will find Hacienda Chichen Resort and Yaxkin Spa  on the left side of the road, about 1.3 Km into the road. The Hacienda Chichen drive way and entrance feature a small fountain and pond with lots of beautiful vegetation and tropical flora exhuberance.

      Public Transportation is safe in Merida, Chichen Itza, Valladolid other cities butyou need to exercise caution in areas like Cancun and Riviera Maya if you are not familiar with bus routes.  Direct Destination Buses in Yucatan are comfortable, safe and range from deluxe to regular second class transportation services. 

Most recommended and best Bus-line is the ADO which runs deluxe and first class busses to all important tourist destinations throughout Mexico.  ADO has its own online ticket  and bus stations; ask any local to give you directions to the closest bus station, or check the ADO website for times and routes offered from and to the site of your interest.

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       Medical & Travel Insurance

      Travellers often overlook the financial protection against illness and injuries when planning their abroad vacations.  Most of us do not associates injuries and medical emergencies with our dream vacation, but both situations may be faced; so it is wise to plan ahead and learn about the limitations your existing health care coverage has regarding overseas medical care in the country you plan to visit. A phone call to your medical insurance provider will surely give you a financial protection against uninformed hopes that you are covered.  

      Check if your current medical care plan covers international emergencies and if it does not, request your travel agent to help you buy a comprehensive medical travel insurance for your own financial sake and that of your family.  This step is highly recommended for those tourists wishing to extend their vacation time in Mexico driving a rented car and engaging in high-risk activities such as scuba-diving, cave exploring, and driving in highly populated cities like Cancun.

     Using your Mobile and Internet Abroad

       
 Few hotels worldwide give their guests free Internet access and free courtesy Long Distance Calls to USA or Canada while staying at their property; however, Hacienda Chichen is one of those rare hotels to offer such courtesy services, here visitors need not worry about expensive roaming charges and other additional service fees.  While International  text mobile messages can be cheap, avoid to talk on your mobile abroad; you could be paying your bill long after the trip's memories or suntan days have faded.

Check your mobile phone company's roaming charges and additional International taxes that may be added to any calls coming from or to Mexico; generally such fees are so high you may as well buy a temporary International or local  Call Card or Chip for your phone rather than use your regular mobile plan.  Best choice: rent a mobile phone while abroad and use local call cards if your hotel does not offer free Long Distance Calls home for general emergencies and few work calls.

When booking your hotels' reservations, ask if the hotel charges for Internet access and if they have free computers use for their guests.  In Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Hacienda Chichen gives Internet access free or charge and even lends computers to guests as a courtesy service.   and we suggest you do bring your own laptop if you plan to stay more than a few days abroad. 

Yucatan Adventure Volunteer Travel Guide - Travel Safety Tips

      Atlantic & Caribbean Hurricane Season:

    Mexico's Caribbean coastline is known as the Maya Riviera and it is exposed to hurricane season (June to October) each year.  The good news is that such unkind weather is predictable and allows people to take action to prepare and safeguard themselves.   Hurricane season hardly ever results in a major hurricane hit.   However it is good to know that vacation destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Xcaret, Tulum and the likes are exposed to an average of eight tropical storms per season and that Mexican authorities are well verse in prompt action should a major hurricane approaches or hits these areas.

      Tropical Depression bring  rainy days with wings of up to 38 miles per hour.  Such weather condition is not a cause of stress or concern to any vacation plan within the coastline zone, so relax and enjoy a few indoor activities while the rain flows.

      Tropical Storms do not disturb the regular flow of vacation activities in any Caribbean coastline region; and for sure your days inland visiting archaeological sites such as Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Coba are not affected by the winds up to 63 miles per hour that can be register in the coastline where rain will prevail for a few hours or even a few days. 

      Tropical Cyclones or Hurricanes are measure with the Saffir-Simpson scale and are given a category rank from 1 (minimal) to 5 (serious); in general, cyclones and hurricanes have faster winds 70 miles per hour and up.  Hurricanes bring greater rain and wind speeds with them and can be very destructive in their path, especially those reaching category 3 or higher.  Normally lasting a few hours, these hurricanes have a truly destructive power and travelers caught in such climate conditions should understand the danger and exercise extreme caution and good judgment; listen to your hotel staff advise, call your family home and let them know where you will be and if you are moved to a hurricane safe-shelter site.  Make sure your official documents (passport, credit cards, money, airline ticket, ID cards, visas) are with you at all times and follow instructions as the hurricane approaches the area.

     Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean region can strike the northern coasts of South America countries, Central America and North America (Mexico & USA coast regions).  If you plan to travel during the summer to the Maya Riviera, check the National Hurricane Center  for hurricane advisories and information.  In the past few decades, Yucatan State has had only three major hurricane hits in its coast areas near Progreso and el Cullo (north-east coast area); inland regions are not in danger of any hurricane's eye path (strongest destructive wind power).  Inland activities may require to exercise safety plans and hotels, airports, and official government sectors do act with caution and in a responsible manner, so allow them to take care of you and follow their instructions for your own sake.

Advise your hotel, travel agent or tour operator if you or anyone in your party requires special medical assistance, medicines, and the likes to avoid unnecessary sagas during a hurricane alert period.  Travel wisely and avoid staying in a coastline region that has a potential hurricane hit within a few hours.  Remember to ask your hotel's front desk or manager what are the latest news and advisories if you are caught in a hurricane warning period, if your hotel a beach front property move to a safer ground.

    Some tips to remember during and after a Hurricane Storm:

  • Stay in a safe cover area (some hotels may sent you to a shelter for increase safety)

  • Electricity is turned off by official authorities, so carry a handy portable light with you.

  • Don't leave your safe site until you are assured that the hurricane winds have passed,
    hurricane eye winds stop for a few minutes when the eye is passing, giving a falls sense
    of security to those that never have experience a hurricane, so don't leave your safety place
    just because a calm moment starts, beware of the eyes next high winds blow.

  • Have purified water bottles, snacks and your personal important belongings with you

  • Place your passport and other important documents (airline ticket) in a plastic bag near you.

  • Call your travel agent or tour operator let them know where you are and get emergency
    information and follow up instructions prior to loosing communication power.

  • Call your family and let them know your plans prior to the hurricane hit, then call them back
    as soon as you have available communications.

  • Don't panic and make things worst by exercising your own judgment, follow instructions
    and play safe!

   Article Courtesy of:
   Maya Foundation In Laakeech A.C.
   Volunteer Team
 

Yucatan Adventure sponsors many social volunteer programs for
the Maya Communities nearby Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico, conducted by


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THE MAYA FOUNDATION IN LAAKEECH A.C

 

Help us Help !
For more information please email us.

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   DID YOU KNOW:  Geotourism Challenge for Sustaining the Future of Destinations, feature our NGO the Maya Foundation In Laakeech A.C. and the Hacienda Chichen innovating sustainable tourism vision, in its unique Geo-Challenge project sponsored by National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers? We are very honored with this important opportunity to showcase our Geo mission.


Published: June 2008
Updated September 2008  /  Updated April, September 2009
Revised February, November 2010 /  March 2011 / Aug. 2012 / Jan 2014

 

Yucatan Adventure Eco-Travel Guide: Bringing you information pertaining to the Yucatan and the Mayan World.