Yucatan Workshop

Come join Frederick Van Johnson and Federico Chieli for an unforgettable adventure in Yucatan Mexico. Our adventure takes us to see ancient pyramids, pink flamingos, crystal clear cenotes, charming historic town centers with incredible food and authentic local culture. Yucatán blends ancient Maya and Aztec culture with the stunning architecture of the Spanish colonial period. Izamal is known as the city of three cultures: pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern. The city is a visual feast: nearly every structure is painted egg yolk yellow, providing a thoroughly unique aesthetic.

Trip Dates
Nov 5th – Nov12th 2016


Group Size
10 people all single occupancy.

Difficulty Level
Beginners to Advanced

Casa De Los Artistas and Casa De Madera will be our oasis each night after our adventures

The houses offer:
Luxury accommodations
Resident chef
Three-level residence with artistic décor, one block from Izamal’s historic cathedral
Colonial architecture enhanced with modern touches—no two rooms are alike
Each room has a private bath and AC
Central garden with lily pool plus rear garden and swimming pool
Rooftop lounge

Our mission is to take you well off the beaten path to unique and magical locations deep in the heart of the Yucatán. Our goal is authentic meaningful experiences, close to nature and to local culture.

What’s Included

  • Seven nights lodging in a stunning private villa (all the rooms are single occupancy, unless you want to share your room with a friend).

  • Most of your meals (we left a couple free, so you can walk around freely and eat wherever you want).

  • All transportation including Airport transfers*

  • All Excursions and applicable archeological sites entry fees

  • Guide and private Archeologist (for Chichen Itza)

  • Photography and Post Processing instruction

What’s Not Included

  • Flight to and from Cancun, Mexico.

  • Alcohol beverages

  • Tips to driver, guides, staff

Around The Area

What to bring
  • A digital camera, even an iPhone will do, although you will miss some wildlife shots.
  • Laptop with Lightroom, Photoshop software or equivalent.
  • Tripod (optional).
  • Lenses: we will be shooting a variety of subjects, landscapes, people, wildlife. Bring whatever lens you want to use. A long lens will make a difference with wildlife (Rio Lagartos).
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
  • Bathing suit, if you plan to swim in the pool and cenote.
Tentative Itinerary

Day 1


Guide: No guide

Your driver will bring you to incredible Izamal—where almost every structure is egg-yolk yellow! But Izamal is no mere tourist trap—it’s a living Maya town and art colony.

Day 2

Uayma, Xocempich cenote and Chichen Itza

Guide: Licensed guide Hotel: Casa de los Artistas

AM: We travel to Uayma. The former convent of Uayma was recently refurbished in impeccable detail, this buildings features a distinctively matchless art work.

LUNCH: We head to Xocempich, a private cenote on the ruins of an historic ranch, a refreshing treat open only to us. Swim or snorkel in the cenote’s crystalline waters and relax for hours in total privacy. A delicious fête champêtre-style lunch is served beneath the magnificent old trees.

PM: Our journey continues at Chichen Itza, the pre-Hispanic world’s most celebrated archaeological site. Originally built by the Maya, later conquered by Itzás, and Toltecs, and ultimately defeated by princes of Mayapán. You’ll visit the world famous Castillo, a pyramid recently declared one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. We also visit the site’s other principal constructions and then the Sacred Cenote, where sacrificial offerings have been found.

Day 3

Tekanto, Tepakan, Sitilpech and the city of Izamal

Guide: Host

AM: Visit Tekanto and Tepakan: genuine Maya villages that conserve an impeccable vernacular architecture, with traditional patios and cottages as well as rural streets. We suggest to walk to experience the ancestral daily life. Continue to Sitilpech and visit the the venerated “Black Christ” of Sitilpech. Last, explore Kimbila famous for its guayaberas and huipiles – traditional clothing – shops.

LUNCH: Pause for lunch in a restaurant in Izamal (not included in tuition).

PM: This afternoon is about incredible Izamal—where almost every structure is egg-yolk yellow! But Izamal is no mere tourist trap—it’s a living Maya town and art colony. Catherwood’s expert guides lead you to all of Izamal’s principal sites and explain its intriguing blend of Maya, Spanish and modern cultures. We will also visit Maya artisans’ homes and workshops and witness the creation of their magnificent crafts.

Day 4

Rio Lagartos

Guide: Host

AM: This morning we will explore Rio Lagartos, a fabulous nature reserve located on the north coast of Yucatan. A boat will take us into the estuary where we will have a close view — according to the season of the year — of the flamingos, as well as other species of birds, crocodiles, and other fauna. Rio Lagartos is home to the largest population of flamingos in Mexico. We will also pause at the “Chareas de Sal” for an unforgettable experience.

LUNCH: We pause to enjoy lunch in a restaurant in Rio Lagartos.

Day 5

Ake and Hacienda San Jose Cholul

Guide: Host

AM: We’ll start with a visit to Ake, a less visited archaeological site, now known as the ruins of Ake because of the hacienda of San Lorenzo Aké which stands on the ancient Mayan ruins

LUNCH: Lunch today will be at Hacienda San José Cholul.

PM: At leisure to explore the gardens of Hacienda San Jose Cholul

Day 6

Ek Balam and tour of Valladolid

Guide: Host

AM: Today we will explore Ek Balam, a lesser known, but magnificent walled city and ascend to the extraordinary structure, covered in stucco sculpture, that crowns its pyramid. Its magnificent artistry was preserved for eternity when the ancient Maya buried it to protect the tomb hidden within. Ek Balam’s rich mixture of architectural styles highlights its long trade relationships with other regions in the Yucatán peninsula, and abundant avian life is another great part of your visit.

LUNCH: Pause for a delicious lunch in a restaurant in Valladolid (not included in tuition) .

PM: Our journey continues with a visit to Valladolid, a colonial city that was developed in one of the few Maya religious and political centers where the conquistadors found a pyramid with its temple still in use. We will immerse ourselves in the provincial atmosphere of the region, spectacularly represented in Valladolid’s streets and plazas.

Day 7


we will review together the group images and hang out!

Day 8

Driver will take us back to the Cancun Airport.Izamal

Guide: No guide

Your driver will bring you to incredible Izamal—where almost every structure is egg-yolk yellow! But Izamal is no mere tourist trap—it’s a living Maya town and art colony.


Yucatan Workshop 2016 Map

Terms and Conditions
  1. The tuition for the workshop is $4,250.
  2. A non refundable deposit of $2,125 is required at the time of your registration to reserve your spot. At the moment we only accept Paypal payments.
  3. The balance of the workshop price is due 60 days prior to the workshop start date. You will receive a final Paypal invoice. Should this final payment fail to process or be received by the date specified, we reserve the right to treat the reservation as cancelled and retain the deposit. If a reservation is made 60 days or less prior to the workshop start date then the full amount is payable at the time of reservation. Your attendance is contingent on H2O Media Group LLC receiving your completed Participant Profile and Waiver forms 60 days before your workshop begins and payment in full prior to the beginning of any workshop. If final payment and paperwork is not received when due, we reserve the right to cancel your reservation, as per the withdrawal and refund policy below. If you register 60 days or earlier, a deadline for return of the completed paperwork and final payment will be mutually agreed upon.
  4. Within 48 hours of registration, you will receive a confirmation email of your reservation and pdfs of your workshop invoice, Participant Profile form and Waiver form.  These two forms must be completed, signed and returned to our office via email or mail 60 days before your workshop begins, so we may best prepare for your workshop participation. If you enroll less than 60 days before a workshop begins, a timeline will be agreed upon for the forms to be completed and returned. Approximately thirty days before your workshop begins, you will receive via email a welcome packet that includes recommendations of photo gear and clothing to bring; climate info; arrival and departure information; hotel and meeting information; travel directions and map and other pertinent information.
  5. H2O Media Group LLC requires all workshop participants to complete and sign a liability waiver form with the Participant Profile. The H2O Media Group LLC and our instructors are not liable for injury, accident or theft resulting from participation in our workshop program. It is the participant’s responsibility to obtain information about any risks involved. Participant signature on the Liability Waiver at the time of registration verifies release of liability of the H2O Media Group LLC, staff and any contractors. Any questions about workshop content, requirements or risks may be directed to our office, prior to the time of registration.
  6. Any cancellation by the workshop participant made before 60 days will result in loosing your deposit. Any cancellation made 59 days before the workshop will result in loosing the whole tuition.
  7. For the workshops that include lodging, the tuition listed includes double occupancy lodging (a shared room). If you require your own room, the single supplement cost varies and depends upon availability; please email us for further information. Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of ground transport and accommodations among others. H2O Media Group LLC. may be compelled to amend prices, and reserves the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in workshop prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the workshop other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.
  8. The type of workshops we offer requires flexibility and must allow for alternatives. For this reason the workshop description must be taken as an indication of what may take place, and not as a contractual obligation. All workshop description pages include which are for digital and film photographers. Workshop participants must provide their own photography gear and computer.
  9. H2O Media Group LLC. photography workshops are within the abilities of average people in good health. We ask that you please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the activity levels of the workshops. Some workshops require the ability to walk/hike a few miles over uneven trails, while also carrying your photo gear, and most of the workshops are at a high elevation . By reserving a space in a workshop with a deposit, and paying the balance due, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other workshop participants or workshop staff. The workshop instructor’s judgment shall provide the final determination of an individual’s ability to participate in or continue a workshop. Once your workshop payment has been made, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.
  10. Force majeure is unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, such as war or the threat of war, riots, terrorist activity, civil strife, industrial disputes, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, flood or adverse weather conditions.
  11. Travel insurance: We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance for your workshop and travel expenses. We are registered with Access America Travel Insurance for your convenience and information is available on their website at www.travelguard.com. Access America offers products that do more than protect the money you invest in your trip — they protect you in unforeseen circumstances. We suggest a plan which offers coverage for medical and dental emergencies, lost baggage, missed connections, and trip cancellation should you have a medical problem that prevents you from attending. H2O Media Group LLC. is not responsible for cancellations due to medical emergencies or for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation. For more information about Access America recommended products, please visit their website at:www.travelguard.com.
  12. There is no smoking/illegal drugs/alcohol in any of the classrooms, meal areas or rooms used by H2O Media Group LLC. or at any field trip location, unless in a designated location.