Maya ruins, including Chichen Itza, will see increased tourists this year. // (c) 2012 Kenneth Shapiro
With the end of the current Maya calendar in sight, an array of tour operators and hoteliers are stepping up their efforts to infuse more Maya flavor into Mexico vacations.
On the upscale end are resorts such as the JW Marriott Cancun, which offers a Chichen Itza package through Dec. 21 that includes Maya-inspired couple’s spa treatments and a Chichen Itza tour for two. Also in the luxury realm is Acanto, a Playa del Carmen hotel that offers a 2012 Maya Package with four nights in a suite, a one-day tour of Tulum and a private dinner for two on the hotel roof.
In the state of Yucatan, Hacienda Petac is offering a Best of the Mundo Maya program, targeted at groups of five to 10 people. The all-inclusive package includes seven nights of accommodations, all meals and alcoholic beverages, a driver and guide and a choice of lectures, tours, music and cuisine.
Casa Lecanda, a boutique hotel in Merida, has partnered with Mayan Wonders, an upscale tour operator that specializes in customized itineraries. According to Stefano Marcelletti, the hotel’s general manager, “tours through the month of December are scheduled to interlace with special events that take place during the month, such as the fire ceremony of the new Chick Kaban in Ek-Balam on Dec. 19 and the much-anticipated event at the end of the K’atun [a unit of time on the Mayan calendar] in Chichen-Itza on Dec. 21, along with other events planned for the end of the year.”
United States-based Tia Stephanie Tours offers programs that visit various parts of Mexico that are significant for Maya culture and history, including a Cuisine of the Maya tour to the Yucatan and Campeche, Ancient & Living Maya of Chiapas and a Discover Campeche tour that visits lesser-known archeological sites.
According to Paty Jacobo Seba, owner of Paty Jacobo Viajes, a Merida-based tour operator, there is more interest than ever in connecting with Mexico’s Maya world.
“We have specialists in the Maya calendars that offer workshops and conferences and cast light on the myths and realities of the Maya prophecies,” she said.
To increase sales related to Mexico’s Maya sites and the Maya calendar, Jacobo suggested that agents contact museums, yoga groups and astronomy groups as well as potential clients interested in sociology, anthropology and archeology.
“We can create a program as cultural, mystical or fun as they like,” she said.