December 6-15, 2024

The Trip

Join fellow Carls on this exploration of the ancient and modern culture and ecology of the Maya people on Mexico’s sun-drenched Yucatán peninsula. Travel and learn with two Carleton professors—Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, Associate Professor of Anthropology; and Daniel Hernández, Professor of Biology—as well as an expert local tour manager/guide who will handle all of the details.

Join Constanza and Dan to learn about and make connections between people and places. They will offer a series of lectures during the tour, and along the way will lead conversations about such topics as how cooking practices influence and are influenced by environmental stewardship and cultural practices.

On this well-paced program you will spend two nights in Mérida, two in Chichén Itzá, two in Uxmal, and two in the heart of the Reserve; and all meals and excursions are included. You will depart home on a Friday and return home the following Sunday, flying roundtrip to Mérida, a lovely Spanish colonial city that enjoys average December temperatures ranging from the 60s to the 80s Fahrenheit.

This Carleton-exclusive program is a perfect close-to-home, warm weather escape in winter—a chance to recharge, learn, meet old and new Carleton friends, and even do some unique holiday shopping, all amid impressive ancient towns and charming colonial architecture.

Faculty Leaders


Dr. Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, Associate Professor of Anthropology, is an environmental anthropologist who specializes in sustainable development and conservation as it relates to people’s relationship with food and nature. She received her MA and PhD from Stanford University and her BA from Grinnell College. Constanza’s research has taken place in areas of high conservation priority around the world, and includes extensive work in the Amazon rainforest of Peru and Brazil, the Maya forests of Belize, the coastal forests of Kenya, and in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Currently, she teaches courses on the socio-cultural underpinnings of conservation, the anthropology of food, and the anthropology of non-human beings; and in 2022 she co-taught with Professor Hernández an interdisciplinary off-campus study program called “The Socioecological Life of Corn” that compared systems of sustainable land use and agriculture in Minnesota and Oaxaca, Mexico. Constanza is currently spending her sabbatical living in Mexico, her country of origin, writing an ethnographic cookbook about the socioecological essence of Mesoamerican cuisine. She has been teaching at Carleton since 2013.

Dan Hernández

Dr. Daniel Hernández, Professor of Biology, teaches courses in Ecosystem Ecology, Global Change Biology, and Grassland Ecology. In addition to the course he taught with Professor Ocampo-Raeder, he has team-taught other courses as well, including on Ecology and Evolution in Australia and New Zealand and “Sense of Place,” a course that explores intersections between Art and Ecology in tallgrass prairie. Since 2016, Dan has been a faculty member on the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, teaching a summer field course across ecosystems of California. His research focus is in restoration ecology and agroecology. Dan’s work explores the ecological consequences of grassland management and restoration practices (primarily in the restored prairies of Carleton’s Cowling Arboretum) and on the impacts of regenerative agricultural practices on soil health. Beyond his work at Carleton, he is involved in community organizations to promote equity and resilience in our agricultural system, including serving on the board of Sharing Our Roots, a Northfield-based non-profit that aims to heal our lands, nourish our communities, and prepare aspiring farmers. Dan has been teaching at Carleton since 2009.

Tour Prices (9 nights)

(per person, double occupancy)

24-26 participants $5,245
21-23 participants $5,445
15-20 participants $5,745
Single Supplement $1,395

Single room supplement will be charged when requested for required (limited availability). With fewer than 15 participants, a small group surcharge may be added. 

To make a reservation online click here.


Friday, December 6, 2024: Depart home on flights to Mérida, Mexico
Saturday, December 7: Mérida: The Great Museum of the Maya World, Cooking class, City tour, Welcome dinner
Sunday, December 8: Tixkokob | Aké | Izamal Convent | Chichén Itzá
Monday, December 9: Chichén Itzá | Optional sound & light show OR evening at leisure
Tuesday, December 10: Mayapán | Maní | Uxmal
Wednesday, December 11: Uxmal | Santa Elena | Uxmal
Thursday, December 12: Muna: Visit with a local pottery painter | Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve
Friday, December 13: Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve
Saturday, December 14: Final lecture | Mérida: Afternoon at leisure, Farewell dinner
Sunday, December 15: Fly home

Additional Information

To make a reservation or for more information please call 800-811-7244 or email Carleton College Alumni Adventures. To make a reservation online click here.

Download Full Brochure & Reservation Form for this Trip