Overview

Snorkel among coral reefs, observe sea lions, sea turtles, and manta rays in their natural habitats on this high school summer abroad program in Mexico.

Program Description

Compare and contrast different marine environments and regional cultures as you travel from the coastal city of La Paz — situated between desert mountains and the Gulf of California — to the Yucatán Peninsula. Meet with marine biologists, researchers, and guides in La Paz. Learn about the history of human and animal habitation in the peninsula. Snorkel among coral reefs, observing sea lions in their natural habitats, on the beautiful island of Espíritu Santo, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. During this period, you live with a Mexican family, which opens up amazing windows into Mexican culture. Take advantage of continuous opportunities to practice your Spanish while experiencing the region’s incredible natural environments and regional culture with host family members.

As the program moves to the Yucatán in southeastern Mexico — from desert to jungle — you experience a completely different natural environment. Learn about pearl farming on the island of Cozumel and witness ongoing ecosystem restoration efforts through the installation of artificial reefs. Take a late-night beach walk to watch giant sea turtles laying eggs on the sand. Travel to Akumal beach for a guided snorkel excursion with sea turtles and manta rays. Witness the region’s strong Maya cultural influence, and visit the Maya archaeological ruins at Coba or Tulum.

The program begins and ends in Mexico City, giving you time to deepen your knowledge of Mexico’s culture, history, and food from the vantage point of the country’s expansive capital city. Visit the Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María, or Frida Kahlo Museum, or take a walking tour of the old city.

Sample Itinerary

Days 1–3
Orientation in Mexico City

  • Learn about the history and culture of Mexico
  • Visit important sites in the city, including the Museum of Anthropology, the Zócalo, the Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María, and the Frida Kahlo Museum
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and discussions
  • Practice your Spanish language skills
  • Explore diverse neighborhoods and try Mexican cuisine in street-side cafés

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.

Days 4–14
Homestay

  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Mexican family and community
  • Do activities with your host family

Thematic Focus

  • Work with local marine biologists to learn about the huge biodiversity of the Sea of Cortez
  • Tour a marine research institute
  • Snorkel in the waters off the island Espiritu Santo
  • Visit traditional fishing communities
  • Camp at a goat ranch
  • Go kayaking among mangroves

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample community: La Paz.

Days 15–19
Thematic Focus in Yucatán Peninsula

  • Explore the mangroves, beaches, and ecosystems of the Caribbean
  • Work with Mexican ecologists at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
  • Snorkel with giant sea turtles and observe manatees, dolphins, and other sea life in their natural habitats
  • Explore Mayan ruins and rural villages around the city of Tulum
  • Observe scientists as they monitor sea turtle nests

During this period, you and your group will stay in a lodge.

Day 20
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Mexico City

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.

Day 21
Departure

About The Experiment

The Experiment in International Living is a nonprofit organization that has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in more than 20 countries around the world.

Programs are designed to equip participants not only with essential cultural skills and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit. Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that help them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.

The Experiment is committed to providing participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with access to The Experiment’s immersive cross-cultural programs through its partnerships, scholarships, and other initiatives.

The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. Each program follows a comprehensive structure designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences. We have implemented specific risk management strategies that include a 24-hour emergency on-call service and regular safety reviews. We hire and train experienced adult group leaders and maintain longstanding partnerships with in-country offices to support each of our programs.

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