Group Travel - 1st of an on-going series

By Lydia Linton Pontius

Thinking about bringing a group to the area? We hope to help you with an on-going article that addresses that and the specifics that go along with it. I first came to the area with what was probably the hardest group to please – my family. I am sure many can relate to the difficulty of pleasing 7 family members, but as my brother said “If you can't have a good time in Cancun then you can't have a good time.”

My brother and his wife had been to Cancun twice with their boys and loved it. We were happy with Cancun but being a bit more curious by nature, I arranged to take us off to visit places south of Cancun. At that time, as many old timers will remember, the road south was 2 lanes, under construction and for much of it you were on bumpy dirt roads. Xel-Ha had just started their dolphin program. I was doing research on dolphins in captivity for a possible documentary and I was invited, along with my entire family, to visit the dolphin facility, meet the trainers and spend the day observing their program.

Somewhere along that bumpy road I fell in love with the area. It had the most fabulous beaches, wonderful weather and people who were the friendliest I had ever met.

I returned with film crews on two other occasions and got to really know the area and make some life-long friends. Since then I have been back many, many times to work and for pleasure. Of course work is a pleasure when you are in paradise. My husband and I have an Internet business and several of our clients are in the Maya Riviera. Recently, I decided to start a small intimate eco-friendly, group travel business. I have never tired of the area but I found that my content writing was starting to sound a little stale. By bringing others to the Riviera Maya I have found the enthusiasm I first had. I see it in the eyes of people of all walks of lives, all ages and with all types of interests.

I am going to use this monthly article to tell stories of different groups and share what they got out of their trips, along with ideas of places to go, things to do and even answer questions from readers. This we hope will help all of you with your trip planning. As I mentioned above I have brought 2 film crews down for over 3 weeks of filming, from Isla Mujeres to Sian Kaan. I have also been involved with groups that have traveled down and done veterinarian clinics from Puerto Morelos to Bacalar and Coba. Last summer I brought a High School Spanish Club down for 10 days. I have also arranged and escorted group trips for water enthusiasts and retirees and, yes, even more family trips. What amazes me is the versatility of the area – there is something for all ages and with a variety of interests .

Group travel is often like herding cats, and traveling to Mexico can have its little bumps in the road – even though the highway is now entirely paved. Things happen a little slower and there is often the need to be flexible with your plans. But for those of us who love it – this adds to its charm. If schedules and precision is what you are looking for take your group to Disney Land, there you will even know how long you'll be waiting in line for a ride. My first suggestion is be open and let the magic of the place take you away. I can give many examples of when that has happened, but probably one of my most memorable was when the High School Spanish Club came to visit. We made arrangements for them to meet some students from the local school in Akumal, they had even exchanged letters prior to their visit. The adults tried and tried to force the interaction to happen – but by letting go and finding a soccer ball it happened by itself.

A pick up Futbol game on the beach lead to an International challenge, game that went on for over 2 hours in the blazing sun on a rough unmanicured field. Friendships and memories that will last a life time were forged that afternoon. Locals of all ages came ready to play the USA! One of the chaperons with our group was a soccer coach and he had some of his players with him – young men and women. Both teams battled it out with laughter and encouragement for their team mates and their opponents. In the end, the elements took their toll and USA lost, but played their hearts out. We ended the day with dancing and a pizza party at Lolha Beach bar. It was their last day and no one wanted to leave.

Lydia Linton Pontius, Just Imagine Vacations, Inc. Visit to read about the Spanish Club's trip report and more. Submit your question by emailing me

Student meet at Akumal's Telesecudaria.

End of the game.

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