Mystical Mayan Cenotes

Yucatan, Mexico

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What you’re about to dive into

Join our retreat in the heart of Mexico to immerse yourself into Mayan culture both in and out of the water.

We’ll spend a week diving in the secret cenotes of Yucatán, visiting Mayan ruins (of course we cannot miss one of the 7 wonders of the world!) and breathing one of the most colorful atmospheres in the world, while indulging in tasty food and great drinks.

Daily excursions into nature, Mayan rituals, freediving and photography workshops will also be part of our journey.

We will explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve by boat: countless species of birds are found here and, among mangroves and crystal clear waters, hundreds of pink flamingos breed, a sight for the eyes.

For those who did not know: cenotes are natural sinkholes filled with fresh water, formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, revealing hidden pools of crystal-clear water beneath the surface.

Fascinating but full of mystery and magic at the same time, the cenotes are the most beautiful gems of the Yucatán Peninsula. Sheltered by the jungle, taking a swim in a cenote isn’t just an adventure—it’s a journey into the depths believed by the Mayans to be gateways to the underworld.

Have you ever took part in a Mayan ceremony? This might just be the story you’ll be excited to share with your friends once you’re back home.

30th Nov - 7th dec

📍 Yucatan, Mexico

👫 Maximum 16 guests

🤿 No certifications required

🛏️ See all inclusions here 

⚠️ Extra days available for advanced divers

Starting from 2300 CHF

What ?

An epic week-long retreat in Mexico, where hidden cenotes, ancient Mayan ruins, and vibrant traditions await. This adventure has it all, from nature’s marvels to cultural treasures.

A trip extension is available for certified divers.

Where ?

Yucatán, Mexico.

We will start our journey from Valladolid, exploring the first cenotes and UNESCO World Heritage site of Chichén-Itzá but this won’t be the only Mayan treasure we will look for.

For the second part of the trip our base will be in Mérida: from there we will keep exploring the best and most secret cenotes of the region and head to Celestún. A boat will lead us through mangroves and crystal clear waters in search of pink flamingos and a myriad of other animals.

When ?

November 30th to December 7th 2024.

Join us for a 7 night adventure exploring the mystical cenotes of Mexico in the best period. This is also the season when nature reveals its most breathtaking wonders.

Who ?

You will be travelling with a small group of young like-minded ocean lovers, up to maximum 16 guests.

The group will be led by 4 freediving instructors: us (Carlo and Miki) along with our partners for this trip: another couple of freediving instructors we are lucky to call friends, Francesca and Alberto from Alma Libre.

What ?

A full-blown underwater retreat. We will literally be spending every day in the water, taking full advantage of all the beauty of the Red Sea.

You will have the chance to encounter wild dolphins and swim with a whole pod. You will explore the most pristine and gorgeous underwater coral landscapes you can imagine.

You will learn more about underwater photography as we will guide you into filming content with your own camera or ours.

You will enjoy the very best of the Egyptian coast and Deep South.

Where ?

Marsa Alam, Egypt.

We will not be staying in Marsa Alam, but we will start our journey from there, heading south.

We will spend the first 4 nights at Red Sea Diving Safari – in Wadi Lahami Village – while we explore the sea from land.

After that, we will spend 4 nights onboard Aziab Seafaris 50.5 foot Beneteau Cyclades sailboat while we journey to the Dolphin Reef for a memorable diving experience.

When ?

19th to 27th Oct 2024.

Join us for a 8 night adventure exploring the underwater beauties of the Red Sea.

October is a beautiful month in Egypt. The weather is warm but not scorching, averaging between 25° and 30°C (82-93°F) night and day. But the sea is pretty warm, hanging around 26-27°C (84°F). This is the prime reason for our choice of dates.

This way, you will enjoy the very best conditions to live by these incredible waters.

Who ?

We will be travelling with you together with a very small number of people, up to maximum 8 guests. All will be young like-minded ocean lovers, with a passion for adventure and with whom we will have the best underwater fun.

Want to join with a friend or group of friends? No problem.

Want to join with your boyfriend or girlfriend? No problem. Are you travelling solo and would love to meet new friends? No problem. This is the perfect opportunity!

Anyone is welcome!

Highlights of the trip

Accommodation

Fully embrace local life by staying in authentic Mexican accommodations.

In the first part of the week we will stay in a boutique Mexican hotel, nestled in the heart of Valladolid, then we will move to a villa in the Mérida’s historic center will host us for the first days of our dreamlike retreat. 

Both buildings combine historical elegance and luxury with their lush gardens, spatious rooms, and huge outdoor spaces, promising a truly memorable stay.

Forget youth hostels: we are also going to have a swimming pool!

Accommodation options include twin and double occupancy rooms, all fully equipped with WiFi and air conditioning. Bathrooms are shared but multiple.

We will pair up participants in the shared rooms based on sex, age and interests to make it the best experience for everyone! Single occupancy is not available.

Fully embrace local life by staying in authentic Mexican accommodations.

A villa in the Mérida’s historic center will host us for the first days of our dreamlike retreat. In the second part of the week we are going to move to a 16th-century hacienda, nestled just outside Valladolid.

Both buildings combine historical elegance and luxury with their lush gardens, colonial-style rooms, and huge outdoor spaces, promising a truly memorable stay.

Forget youth hostels: we are also going to have a swimming pool!

Accommodation options include twin, double, triple and quadruple occupancy rooms, all fully equipped with WiFi and air conditioning. Bathrooms are shared but multiple.

We will pair up participants in the shared rooms based on sex, age and interests to make it the best experience for everyone! Single occupancy is not available.

Program

Cenotes & Mayas, that’s all you need to know 😉

We will be welcoming you at our villa in Valladolid on Saturday, anytime after 2pm. After a refreshing drink you can start checking into your room. If everyone arrives in time, we will have the first dinner together to start knowing each other.

Ready to dive into our first cenote? After a short briefing we start our activities for the day: all we can tell is that during these days you will experience the best and mystical cenotes in the whole Yucatán. Locations are secret and have to remain so!

Ciudad Amarilla (yellow city) awaits us in the afternoon, a small jewel that blends colonial architecture and Mayan ruins: the blue sky and the intense yellow of its buildings create a wonderful contrast for the eye (and for our pictures!).

Today is gonna be a big day, so you better arrive refreshed and rested: in the morning we will pack our bags quickly and after breakfast, we will dive -by all means- in the Mayan culture. Please have your camera ready under and above water, it will be worth it.

If you cannot wait to check one of the 7 wonders of the world, Chichén Itzá, off your bucket list, you are in the right place.

After the activities we will head to Mérida aboard our van, to enjoy an aperitivo at our second accomodation for the week.

Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve is today’s highlight: we are going ride a boat through a mangrove forest to spot the colonies of pink flamingos and tons of other native and migratory birds.

A lunch on the beach and a good swim (or just chilling) will be the icing on the cake of this perfect day.

Our adventure continue, diving into hidden cenotes, exploring Mayan archaeological sites and traditions, soaking up mesmerizing sunsets, and indulging in guacamole & ceviche paired with margaritas, all wrapped in endless fun amid lush vegetation.

We’ll also experience the mystical atmosphere of a Mayan ceremony, immersing ourselves in its ancient rituals. 

During these days there will be plenty of chances for Freediving and Underwater Photography Workshops with the whole group, also thanks to the help of Francesca and Alberto, freediving instructors and our co-hosts of this trip.

Scubadiving day: one day will be dedicated to scuba diving! Everyone will get a chance to try scuba diving, certified divers will have the opportunity to explore a little deeper one of the most amazing cenotes and its magical plays of light and reflections.

After our last breakfast (did we mention we will have a private chef cooking our breakfasts?), we will pack our bags and, after a visit to the city of Mérida, head back to the Airport for everyone’s return flights home.

Everyone except for the ones who will decide to keep the adventure going joining our optional extension!

For certified divers only

Further epic days of adventures await those who dare to extend their journey with us!

Aboard our van we will move to Tulum to a smaller but always charming accomodation.

Aim of the next days: exploring the most stunning cenotes of the area. Fame doesn’t mean less beauty, you can check it by yourself simply searching them on Google or IG: Kaan Luum, El Pit, Dos Ojos, Nicte Ha, just to name a few.

Please note: the price and a more detailed program will be shared soon, in the meantime you can look at this teaser. Please express your interest in joining this extension during the deposit payment of the main part of the trip.

Please note the order we mentioned the activities is only indicative and the program may undergo minor changes.

Pricing

CHF 2'300 pp

ROOM ARRANGEMENTS: Double bed with private bathroom – Double bed with shared bathroom.

 

We will pair up participants in the shared rooms based on sex, age and interests to make it the best experience for everyone! Single occupancy is not available. 

Our goal is to offer a closed package deal. Unless you have some particular or special requests, once you have paid for this deal, the transfers from/to the airport and the few meals not included, it is unlikely you will have to spend large amounts of money during this trip (excluding international flights from your country).

Extra days for advanced divers only: price will be shared soon, for now you can look at this teaser. Please express your interest for this optional extra during the booking of the deposit.

CHF 1'950 pp

ROOM ARRANGEMENTS: Twin bunk beds with shared bathroom.

CHF 2’050 pp

ROOM ARRANGEMENTS: Double bed with private bathroom – Double bed with shared bathroom. Rooms are allocated on first come, first serve basis.

 

We will pair up participants in the shared rooms based on sex, age and interests to make it the best experience for everyone! Single occupancy is not available.

Our goal is to offer a closed package deal. Unless you have some particular or special requests, once you have paid for this deal, it is unlikely you will have to spend anything else during this trip (excluding international flights from your country).

Reviews by our Guests

What's Included

7 nights in a real Mexican villa, in Valladolid first and then Mérida. Rooms can host 2 to 4 people each, bathrooms are shared.

Excursions EVERY SINGLE DAY, underwater, above water and even underground!

Entrance tickets to all the activities proposed: cenotes, Mayan ruins, Ria Celestún Biosphere Reserve and others.

All transfers by private minivan; the tour will begin at our accomodation in Valladolid and end at our hacienda in Mérida.

Most meals: not including all dinners we would like to leave a bit of space and decision-making autonomy to everyone. Good to know: the average price of a meal in Mexico is very low, compared to the rest of the world.

Underwater photography workshops with Bonny & Gava in which we will spill all our professional secrets. You will learn more about this topic as we will guide you into filming content with your own camera or ours.

Visit to local towns full of Mexican culture and beauty

Freediving coaching for certified divers. 4 instructors just for this group. Both Molchanov and PADI schools

Full day scuba diving for certified divers or a discovery dive for those who have never tried it before.

UNESCO World Heritage site of Chichén-Itzá

Freediving workshop for beginners to learn the basics and enjoy the week in the best way!

Underwater photography workshop

Throughout this retreat an active underlying photography workshop will take place.

During the dives you will either be tutored on your own camera settings and skills, or you will have the opportunity to test our gear, either our professional-level Sony with underwater housing, our GoPro or our Insta360.

But the best part will be later, once back in the hotel/sailboat. During the free times before or after dinner we will be sharing our best tips on how to edit underwater photos and videos. Editing is such an essential part of underwater photography!

Discover all of our insider tips on how to make beautiful and successful underwater content. We will spill all the beans on years worth of practice and self-teaching. Don’t hesitate to ask us ANY questions, we will be excited to share everything with you.

Oh, and as an extra bonus, we will provide all of you with our Underwater Preset Pack for free to quickly edit your content on the trip.

Take home the very best memories you could ask for.

P.S. All guests will be participating in the Bonny & Gava videos on our platforms, so be ready for some fun times 😉

Throughout this retreat an active underlying photography workshop will take place.

During the dives you will either be tutored on your own camera settings and skills, or you will have the opportunity to test our gear, either our professional-level Sony with underwater housing, our GoPro or our Insta360.

But the best part will be later, once back in the sailboat. During free times before or after dinner we will be sharing our best tips on how to edit underwater photos and videos. Editing is such an essential part of underwater photography!

Discover all of our insider tips on how to make beautiful and successful underwater content. We will spill all the beans on years worth of practice and self-teaching. Don’t hesitate to ask us ANY questions, we will be excited to share everything with you.

Oh, and as an extra bonus, we will provide all of you with our Underwater Preset Pack for free to quickly edit your content on the trip.

Take home the very best memories you could ask for.

P.S. All guests will be participating in the Bonny & Gava videos on our platforms, so be ready for some fun times 😉

23.05.01 Sandbank tour DSLR 26 edited web

Requirements

Comfort with tight and dark spaces

Depending on their age, cenotes can be open wells or small caves, so it’s essential feeling at ease in climbing through tight or narrow spaces and being in a cave with a very low vault.

Ocean Comfort

Free diving or scuba diving certifications are NOT necessary to participate, but a very good level of swimming and comfort in open waters is essential to enjoy the experiences. Of course, certification is welcome and training will be based on each individual’s level.

Insurance

A dive insurance is mandatory for this trip, we recommend DAN. Travel insurance is not mandatory but recommended.

Gear

Please bring your own gear if you own it (masks, fins, snorkels, wetsuits, cameras, weight belts..etc). We will provide everyone with weights if needed. If needed we can also organise to provide other missing gear, when duly noted.

Language

It is important for every participant to speak English at a basic level so that we can all have a fun time together without leaving anyone out. 

Speaking Spanish is not necessary.

Keep in Mind

Note: it is not a requirement to be free divers, however, free divers will most likely enjoy the retreat more. For this reason we really recommend training at least the basics before participating at this retreat.

Packing list:

the temperatures in Mexico in December are very warm but nights can always get a bit colder. Be sure to bring:

  • Layers layers layers. It can be super warm and also a bit chilly so make sure to bring all sorts of layers to always feel good.
  • Comfortable clothes. This is quite an adventurous trip so be sure to bring clothes you feel good in.
  • Sneakers with a good sole that won’t let you slip, for climbing and walking on Mayan ruins + sandals and/or filp flops.
  • Hat and sunglasses to prevent sunstroke during our visits to the archaeological sites.
  • Bikinis and board shorts and rash guards.
  • Very recommended: a wetsuit for free diving or scuba diving, if you own any or are used to them. Most people use shorties or rashes as the water temperatures are warm, but we will spend a lot of time in the water. If you don’t have your own, the dive center will provide you with what you need for scuba diving (not free diving though).
  • Free diving and scuba diving gear, if you own anything please bring it along, especially long fins or masks. If you don’t own anything, please let us know in advance so we can find a solution together. 
  • Underwater camera if you own one (including GoPros).
  • Windbreaker and/or rain jacket if it gets very windy or in case of sudden showers.
  • Towels for drying up after dives (1 or 2 is up to you) – if you own a poncho it is probably a good idea to bring it with you.
  • Shampoo and conditioner (absolutely eco-friendly and reef-safe!!!)
  • Mosquito spray (this is an area that has a very low, but still existent, risk of dengue) so better be safe.
  • A waterproof bag is not required but may be convenient for the excursions and for the stay onboard the boat in Celestún.
  • Note: foreigners are allowed operate their drone for recreational purposes in Mexico, as long as the drone weighs under 250 grams. Only a Mexican citizen can register or request flight permits in the Mexican airspace (which is necessary to fly drones weighing over 250 grams).

Terms & Conditions

To secure your spot on this retreat you will have to agree to our T&Cs and pay a non-refundable deposit of CHF 200. 

Bookings are available here.

The remainder of the payment after the deposit will be asked via invoice and payed via bank transfer. 
The total will be due 75 days before the beginning of the trip.

Once the deposit has been made, if you cancel before 90 days prior to departure, then you will not be charged anything extra, although we will keep the deposit.
If you cancel after 90 days prior to departure, then unfortunately as we are a very small business we will not be able to refund you. Should we be able to find someone else to fill your spot in time then we might be able to return the full amount (excluding the deposit of EUR 200 and any bank fees).

Very Important Note for Everyone: this retreat is subject to a minimum number of participants. We will make sure we can confirm the trip to everyone as soon as possible (at latest 75 days prior to departure) but until then we recommend to refrain from purchasing non-refundable flights to avoid useless expenses.

F.A.Q.

Still wondering if you should come with us? Here are some answers to your questions

The official beginning of the trip is in the evening of November 30th 2024. Should everyone arrive in time for dinner we will start with a welcome dinner, if not we will do introductions on the next day after a good night of rest. 

The trip will end with a visit to the city of Mérida after breakfast on December 7th. 

Depending on the time of your flight you can decide to leave early in the morning or stay longer but please have in mind check-out time at our accomodation is 11:00am.

Once we will know everyone’s departure time we will help you in arranging the most efficient transfer to go the airport.

You can fly to Cancun International Airport (or Tulum International Airport, feel free to choose the most convenient for you, the distance to Valladolid is the same).

We will help you arranging a transfer from the airport to our accomodation, this will take approximately 2 hours. 

We left a few afternoons of free time, to relax, work from remote if someone has to (our villas are equipped with WiFi and quiet spaces), chill by the pool, attend our photography workshops, explore the area.

Please check: https://www.inm.gob.mx/gobmx/word/index.php/paises-requieren-visa-para-mexico/

You shouldn’t need a visa if you meet all the following criteria but always check your country’s official sources:

1. you are travelling for tourism

2. you’ll stay for less than 180 days

3. you have a valid visa from the United States of America or have documents to prove permanent residence in one of the following countries: Canada, United States of America, Schengen countries, Japan or United Kingdom.

Yes, both our villas have WiFi and it should be good enough for everyone. Alternatively you can always purchase a local SIM card, or an eSim if your mobile phone allows it.

Yes, you might need it for some meal or if you want to have drinks, look for souvenirs and gifts to take home or extra activities (card is often fine too but just to be sure). Although Mexican Pesos is the official currency, US dollars are accepted in tourist areas. 

You can either have a shared twin or double, room based on availability (you can share it with a friend or partner travelling with you). Otherwise you can share it with someone else joining the retreat.

This is a great opportunity then! The majority of our guests are young (<40 years old) solo travellers looking to make awesome ocean friends. We also get couples who are up to have some fun with other like-minded people. All in all, we’ve always had AMAZING groups and EVERYONE has made incredible friendships during our group trips.

Please let us know of any dietary requirements and we will do our best to fit your needs. 

Still not sure?

Write to us so we can clear your doubts!

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