Charity Challenge in Mexico Raise vital funds for marine conservation and children centres in this two-wheeled adventure challenge and see your funds in action by visiting both projects in the Yucatan
What is a Charity Challenge?
Our specially designed Charity Challenge programs are ideal for those looking to make a difference, but want to enjoy a challenge while doing so! You will raise vital funds for aid-reliant projects while putting yourself through testing scenarios that will ensure our work can continue into the future.
Traveling to Central America and to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, join this charity challenge in Mexico to cycle a massive 150km around the Yucatan Peninsula. Starting and ending in Playa del Carmen, you will visit several Mayan towns and unspoiled ruins along the way, raising funds towards vital GVI Charitable Trust projects. This region of Mexico is known for its white sand beaches, world class diving sites, incredible underwater life and ancient temples from the once great Mayan empire. Once you have completed your challenge, you will then get the chance to visit the very project you are raising funds for, either our marine research base at Pez Maya, or community projects that are run in conjunction with Save the Children. Please note the activities involved in the challenge may be subject to change at the last minute due to weather conditions or variables beyond our control.
Our projects rely on volunteer funds and donations to run. In addition to the program cost, we will ask you to fundraise additionally for the project in Mexico. Upon acceptance, we will provide you with a fundraising manual with lots of different ideas on how to raise additional funds and provide you support from both the GVI and Charitable Trust teams.
Raising funds for our GVI CT Mexico programs; discover Mayan towns and learn about this ancient culture; swim in clear water cenotes; explore the amazing Punta Laguna monkey reserve and lake; uncover the Yucatan peninsula a different way – cycling!
The GVI Charitable Trust
Your contributions on this challenge will go towards an ongoing project of the Charitable Trust in Mexico.
So what does life on the challenge actually involve? See below for an idea of what to expect…
Day 1: This will be your arrival and orientation day, a chance to meet your fellow challengers and be introduced to some more details about your challenge week to follow. Dinner and first nights’ accommodation will be spent in Playa del Carmen.
Day 2: After breakfast, it is around a 4 hour drive to the start point at Valladolid. The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish, but spend the time wisely (and relaxing!), because it all starts on Day 3…!
Day 3: The challenge begins! Starting early, we meet our guides and get fitted out on your bike and set off on our 150km adventure, cycling towards the town of Coba with a visit to cenotes, underground cave systems, along the way. After this first long day on the bike, you’ll be glad you relaxed the night before!
Day 4: A (slightly) easier day, cycling around 34km in total towards the small Mayan town of Nuevo Durango. Stop along the way to visit the ruins at Coba and the spider monkey reserve at Punta Laguna.
Day 5: The final cycle day, but a long one at that at a massive 87km. We will be in much need of another cenote stop on the way to cool down before making for our final destination back in Valladolid.
Day 6 & 7 – The Project! On these days you will spend time at the project for which you fundraised. Our community projects work in collaboration with Save The Children, with a focus on empowering children to know and apply their rights as well as providing a safe environment in which they can learn and play. Conservation research takes place at our base in Pez Maya where our team works directly on monitoring the overall health of the reef, contributing to coral reef and fish monitoring and turtle nesting surveys. In both cases you will meet project staff, learning about the work being doing and importantly how raised funds will be spent.
Your living conditions will vary from hotels in Playa del Carmen before and after the challenge to slightly more basic, yet comfortable accommodation along the way in between cycling days.
We support a number of different projects through the Charitable Trust in Mexico. Your contribution will be used towards the support of our existing research projects on the Mesoamerican barrier reef. Donations will help to further identify, protect and preserve areas with high biodiversity and those that are essential to maintain ecological processes. Funds will also help to develop management plans for the region, to work on capacity building and environmental education with the locals. Similarly, funds raised for the community aspect will help to further the centre in providing safe environments for children in the Yucatan. Many parents in this part of Mexico have to work long hours in order to support their families, meaning young children are often left alone and have to look after themselves for large parts of the day. Others may have been victims of aggression and are in need of support. The centre gives children a suitable environment in which to play and learn.
How this project makes a difference
In Pez Maya, over time and with the contributions of volunteers, we have been able to amass one of the largest databases in existence on the condition, health and changes of any section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. As a result of our work, our partners have been able to continue with the protection of the Sian Ka’an reef system and local fisherman are now trained in diving and monitoring skills and partake in marine surveys with the park and Amigos de Sian Ka’an staff.
In the community, Save the Children figures indicate that 95% of children in Cancun suffer from some type of aggression either physical or verbal, 70% of the children in Quintana Roo suffer of abandonment, 43% of the children between 6 and 17 years old know a gang member and 25% of the children have seen drugs or know a child that sells them. Our volunteers help protect children who have been affected by abuse, abandonment or the drugs trade, and equip others with the knowledge of how to be safe should they come into contact with these kinds of threats in the future.
Many participants decide to travel after their challenge, solidifying the lifetime friendships established. Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Yucatan field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Mexico!
Optional Side Trips
As a large and vibrant country, Mexico can seem daunting at first, but here are a few ideas to get you going in the Yucatan Peninsula on your weekends off:
In this region you are spoilt for choice in the number of opportunities to try out different dive sites away from the expedition. You could start with snorkeling with turtles of all sizes in Akumal bay, where they are protected and come to feed; dive or snorkel within the unique cenotes – the underwater river systems within the Yucatan peninsula; dive Cozumel, where the wall dives along the island have been voted as part of the world’s best top ten diving locations; or, for a full weekend, try Isla Holbox, a small island off the north of the peninsula. It’s a beautiful, tranquil place, great for a quiet weekend away. Whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) migrate up near the island from June to September and snorkeling alongside them while they filter feed is a truly breathtaking experience!
Alternatively if you are looking for a break from the water, make your way to Río Lagartos where flamingos flock and river crocodiles abound; visit Bacalar – known as the lake of seven colours due to the various shades of blue; or visit prime breeding areas for the hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and green turtle (May to October).
Immerse yourself in the surviving Mayan culture of the area and visit remote and untouched Mayan archaeological sites, such as the famous and easily accessible sites of Tulum and Coba, or visit the beautiful and majestic Mayan ruins of Palenque in the Chiapas region. And finally, the colonial city of Mérida is the peninsula’s cultural capital and the local artisans of Izamal will be sure to offer you some souvenirs of your trip.
Further Traveling Opportunities
If you want to travel throughout the rest of Mexico either before or after your time with us, there is more than your fair share of interesting places that are well worth a visit. Take a trip to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and experience lowland tropical forests and have an opportunity to try and seek out threatened species; the little known beautiful city of Morelia holds roof-top bars and clubs; the island of Espíritu Santo offers kayaking with whale sharks (seasonal) and sea lions; if you are keen to try surfing, Puerto Escondido is rated as one of the world’s best surfing spots.
Oaxaca is a beautiful city to visit on the Pacific Coast, a colonial city with some of the nation’s most magnificent architecture, also offering several archaeological sites including the Zapotec ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further south, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, is definitely worth a visit. Colourful buildings, historical architecture, and impressive nearby ecological sites with fun activities will easily keep you entertained for days.
Neighbouring countries to the south, Guatemala and Belize offer something different yet again. In Belize, island hop all the way down the coast, stopping to dive the Blue Hole, another world-class dive site. Guatemala can be reached easily by bus and offers everything from the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Antigua, to volcanoes, the beautiful Lake Atitlan, adventure sports such as mountain biking, and the majestic Mayan ruins of Tikal. If you do decide to spend time traveling through Central America, make sure to allow yourself time to take it all in, because this region will pull you in and not let go!
Applying is a simple process and our team are available to help every step of the way. To book this fantastic challenge, click on the visit GVI website button at the top and bottom of the page, which will take you through to the GVI website. On the right side of that page, you will see available dates and the Book Now tab. Here you will find the no obligation online application form.
- Application phone call - You will be contacted by GVI’s Country Experts within two working days to chat through your application. GVI’s specialists have a wide range of knowledge from their travels in our host countries.
- Securing your place – A deposit will be required in order to confirm your place. You will also receive pre-departure information and a fundraising manual for your challenge
- Pre-departure support – GVI have sent over 10,000 people away over the last 10 years, so they have a lot of experience in making sure you are ready.
- 29th June 2013
- 5th October 2013
- 25th January 2014
- 10th August 2014
- 4th October 2014
- GBP £695.00
- EUR €834.00
- US $1182.00
- AUS $1182.00
- Pre-departure support and discounted services
- 24-hour emergency phone
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- Arrival orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
- Welcome meeting
- Location orientation
- All necessary challenge training and equipment
- 24-hour in-country support
- All challenge equipment
What’s Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes