Our guide, Ivan, shared his passion for Chichen Itza with the group. // © 2010 Janeen Christoff
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at the El Dorado Royale Hotel & Spa
During a recent visit to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, I had the pleasure of discovering the services of Lomas Travel, a Cancun-based destination management company and tour operator that has extensive operations in Cancun, the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan.
I encountered my first Lomas Travel representative at the airport when I arrived for a five-day stay in the area. I was met by my driver, Julio, who whisked me to my hotel. During the 20 or so minutes we spent in the car, he made casual conversation with me, inquiring about my flight, telling me about the weather -- it was just beginning to rain -- and filling me in on the beginning of the U.N. Climate Change Conference that was taking place at the same time as my visit. Although security for the event was intimidating, Julio made me feel right at home.
Making guests feel comfortable from the start of their vacation is something that Lomas Travel excels at. The company has been in business for more than 30 years and, obviously, their service is a major reason that agents -- and clients -- continue to rave about the quality of their product. Besides offering airport transfers, Lomas Travel offers an extensive array of services to clients including everything from wedding planning assistance to tours of Chichen Itza by chartered aircraft -- the latter would be my next experience with the tour operator.
On the second day of my stay, Lomas Travel had arranged to take members of our group to Chichen Itza. A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular day trips from Cancun and, usually, tours leave in the early morning and visitors arrive at the monument by motorcoach in the mid-morning. Our group was leaving at noon, and we had an event that evening. As we waited, we wondered how we were going to accomplish this long journey in just an afternoon. However, Lomas Travel, which also owns Maya Air, had scheduled a private charter for our group in one of its own planes.
After a quick drive to the airport, we were up in the air and on our way to Chichen Itza. Our Maya guide, Ivan, met us at the hotel and flew with us to Chichen Itza, providing a wealth of information along the way. The transfer by taxi from the airport to the site was seamless and, once inside the park, I could feel the passion Ivan felt for his culture and for the site itself. He spoke passionately about the Temple of Kukulkan and showed us how the serpent appears during the equinox. He also brought us to the Great Ball Court, which is the largest ball court in Mesoamerica. We also saw the Tzompantli, a low, flat platform that is covered in human skulls. Quite surprisingly, we also learned that this is by no means an indication of human sacrifice and, according to Ivan, that is not a practice in which the Maya people participated, even though it is widely believed that they did.
Before we left, we had a chance to explore the Temple of the Warriors, the Temple of the Carved Columns and the steam bath. I had no idea that there were so many different ruins to see in the area, and archaeologists are still uncovering more as evidenced by a dig site cordoned off next to the Temple of Kulkulkan.
After our tour, we returned to Cancun. Ivan asked all of us on the way back if we would visit again and everyone had the same answer: "Yes."
In addition to archaeological tours such as our trip to Chichen Itza, Lomas Travel provides watersports, cruises, scuba-
diving, swimming with dolphins, visits to local ecological parks, fishing trips, snorkeling, jungle tours, canopy and ziplining tours and more. Lomas Travel also offers a travel agent website and online booking.