day trips

Better than swimming with dolphins...

Some great people all the way from Tuscaloosa spent their cruise ship stop time with us. Here is what they had to say about their experience:

I wanted our kids, ages 15 and 11, to see Mexico for more than the usual cruise shopping stop. Our guide, Pepe, picked us up and took us on the tour of a lifetime. We climbed Mayan ruins, swan in an amazing cenote, ate authentic Mexican food in a family home and toured Pregresso. It was the perfect combination of adventure, culture and education. Kids loved this excursion best of all, even better than swimming with dolphins.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g668864-d7168699-r312421066-Lawson_s_Original_Yucatan_Excursions-Progreso_Yucatan_Peninsula.html#
— TripAdvisor

Angel made sure we were safe!

The Temple of the Magician, Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico - photo by R Hollmann

Bridget came to Progreso on the cruiseship and with 19 (yes, nineteen) of her friends, had us take them all out in two vans to see the sights around Uxmal Here is what they had to say:

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who had a part in making sure our excursion was awesome.

Angel and the drivers were amazing. They made sure we were aware of what was happening step by step. They were very professional, courteous, knowledgeable, and caring. We never crossed the street without Angel making sure we were safe.

Most of all, they were with us the entire time. Our entire family enjoyed the excursion and we all learned so much.
— - email -

Lawson's Tour Far Better...

Elizabeth and her family chose Lawson's Original Yucatan Excursions for their day trip when they visited Progreso with Carnival las summer. Here is what she has to say:

The cenote at Dzibilchaltun - refreshing on a hot day!

The cenote at Dzibilchaltun - refreshing on a hot day!

Tour Review for Lawson’s Original Yucatan Excursions
Jan 05, 2014, 4:24 PM
Last July (Yes, it has taken me this long to get this posted...) my family went on a cruise to Progreso, Mexico and booked a tour with Lawson for our day on shore. I had been to Progreso before and taken the ship’s tours and without a doubt, taking a tour with Lawson was by far better.
I corresponded with Ralf before the trip to plan our excursion and he developed a tour that was perfect for our family. We decided to visit a local marketplace, a couple of cenotes and a small Mayan ruin. Our family consisted of our parents which are in their late sixties and our four children which ranged in age from eighteen to eleven, my husband and myself.
We took the free shuttle to meet Ralf and Angel at AutoProgreso (there is a front and a back to the building with a small market between them, if you get there and can’t find your tour guide, walk through the market to the other side where the taxi drivers park, we made this mistake and Angel had to come find us)
We drove to a local market and got to walk around and sample some of the local fruits and vegetables, drinks and food. We felt safe the entire time which was important to us because of a previous trip and tour that had given us a few causes for alarm. We ate pork sandwiches and drank local made juices (there were about four different types that we sampled) then we visited a couple of different local vendors in the market square. We visited a turn of the century church and was serenaded by a local farmer.
As we drove to our first cenote, Ralf was able to handle our multitude of questions and Angel stopped here and there to gather samples of leaves and fruit from local trees and bushes. We were able to sample and handle some of the most interesting and delicious vegetation.
The first cenote we visited was basically just a large hole in the ground filled with crystal clear water that looked like a filled cave once you were in it. There was a latter and ropes strung across the top of the water. There were divers there to dive into the caverns below. Our children had the best time jumping into the cenote and swimming. Our parents sat on a rock wall and enjoyed visiting with Ralf and Angel and a few other local people that were there to enjoy the day. I appreciated the fact that this cenote was secluded and not crowded as we were able to enjoy ourselves without dodging the multitudes that seem to congregate at such beautiful sites.
Ralf brought towels for us and had cold drinks to share as we climbed back into the van to head to a small Mayan ruin, Dzibilchaltun. I just began a new teaching job that included covering the Mayan culture and Angel was like a lifeline for me as we toured this ancient settlement because my questions were never - ending. Angel patiently answered EVERY one of them and Ralf was generous enough to herd our four adventurous children on to the cenote within the settlement that had little fish that liked to exfoliate the dead skin from your body which tickles tremendously. We joined them to cool off from the heat and relax for a while. Our parents took the opportunity to do some photo taking because the scenery is beautiful there.
We loaded back into the van, stocked with cold drinks and headed back into the city for a little shopping time before we had to get back on the ship.
If you are looking for an interesting, fun tour where someone else takes great care of you and all you have to do is go along for the ride, then book with Lawson. Our children are still talking about the great time they had and all the interesting things they learned without realizing it.
— by email

The Personal Touch We Were Looking For Was Provided

Janice and her friend visited Merida on her recent cruise to Progreso sampled food tried some cooking and even made her own tortillas. Her comments:

I just wanted to let you know how pleased I was with our day with Gener. He was very welcoming and an open book of information he shared with us about Merida and all of Mexico. I am sure all your clients are pleased with what William Lawson tours offers. The personal touch we were looking for was well provided. Although my tortilla making was less than stellar I had a blast. I will definitely be in touch again when we are able to return. There is much more to learn about your area.





Janice Cory
— - email -

Wondrous. Miraculous. Not Hyperbolizing.

Ben and his family visited this fall and we had the pleasure of taking them on two tours of the area. Here are his impressions of the experience; we are truly touched by the way we were able to make this much more than a simple vacation day trip. Thank you Ben! 

Wondrous and miraculous. That’s the experience William Lawson Tours provided my family this past week in Progreso Yucatan. I’m not hyperbolizing.

First, the wondrous part. Our guide, Angel, took us on two fantastic excursions. The first was to the ruins at Mayapan and two cenotes afterwards. Both were fantastic experiences. Angel’s knowledge of Mayan history and culture was awesome; he answered every question and made observations that enriched our experience. We were the only people at the cenotes, and my two young adult sons had a blast, leaping 30 to 40 feet into the dark cenote waters that seemed like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, only better. In between, while we were driving on narrow jungle roads east of Merida, Angel provided us with an impromptu snack, asking a local Mayan lady to make us some fresh habanero salsa with chaya & scrambled egg tortillas, which we ate at a hacienda in the early stages of restoration. It was quiet and real, yet other worldly. On our way out, Angel stopped along a little road and stripped one henequen leaf down to its sisal fibers, twisted it, and knotted it at one end, showing us in just a few moments, what brought great wealth to Yucatan when henequen was green gold for the region. As we drove along, I knotted the other end and have saved the tiny strand of twine as an invaluable keepsake of another time and another world.

Our second excursion was to the Yaxcopoil Hacienda and the ruins at Uxmal. Uxmal was magnificent and not overrun, allowing use to roam freely and enjoy Angel’s explanations and story-telling. Again, the stuff in between was every bit as enriching and stirring. We stopped at a magnificent hilltop vista above the town of Muni, and explored the lovely creations of an artisan there (his name escapes me). We stopped at a tiny village tortilleria for fresh tortillas right off a rickety conveyor belt from an oven that made the little place about 130 degrees. We also stopped at Hacienda Ochil on our way back to Merida. I was gratified to see the narrow gauge rails and the corroding carriages that once carried visitors, workers, henequen leaves, and raw sisal fibers from the fields to the main hacienda and the warehouses where the fibers were processed. I’d seen these things in pictures on the internet, but it was fantastic to see these artifacts up close, with my own eyes.

The last 10 minutes of time with Angel were yet another gift. He knew we were tired (my wife and I are thinly disguised oldsters), but after getting our okay, he drove us, in the mid-afternoon, through incredibly narrow and congested streets near the city’s center, but not the part with the fancy cathedrals and colonial state buildings, but the working class part. The streets teemed like an alive river, with thousands of people going about their hard-working lives: vendors, workers returning to work after siesta, women lugging home groceries for that night’s dinner, and the best part for me — hundreds and hundreds of school children of all ages, just dismissed from their day’s studies, the adolescent ones talking together excitedly and hanging out, and the younger ones holding a parent’s hand while they jostled their way home. Those 10 minutes touched me deeply, seeing that river of life, and glimpsing the hard working and generous hearts of the Yucatecan people.

But wait, there’s more. The miraculous part.

I didn’t come to Progreso or Merida to see the sights. I came to Progreso with faint hopes of finding my long lost paternal grandfather, a Chinaman, who lived for 55 years in Progreso and who passed away there 23 years ago. My family and I found his little flat on Calle 35; we had an address. But we couldn’t find his headstone in the Cementario Generales, despite an afternoon of searching. I gave up hope, except for one last thing to try. Before our first excursion, I asked Angel if he could drive me to the library in town, so I could ask if there was a directory of any sort for the cemetery. Perhaps I might find my grandfather that way. No problem, Angel said. On the way there, he pulled over and picked up his friend, a gregarious man name Pedro M.

Angel and Pedro are aptly named. One is a celestial helper and the other is a saint. Within an hour the two of them guided me to Progreso’s municipal offices, where we found the record of my grandfather’s death and also his last residence, the town’s nursing home. Angel and Pedro helped me secure a certified copy of my abuelo’s death. Not only that, but Pedro also secured the name of the man who helped bring my grandfather to the nursing home when he faltered.

Angel and Pedro then drove me and my family back to Cementario Generales. There, one of the municipality’s managers, whom Pedro miraculously summoned during all this, led us to the necropolis’ western edge, where we found my grandfather’s final resting place. I could hardly speak, I was so surprised and moved. The manager asked me if I would like some flowers. I said yes and looked around towards the outer streets, knowing from our fruitless search the day before, that there were no convenient flower vendors, such as one might find in an American cemetery. The manager simply stepped up on an elevated slab nearby, climbed briefly onto a tree, and plucked 4 beautiful blossoms and gave them to me. They looked like gardenias, and they were lovely, white. For Chinese folks, white is the color of mourning. How did he know?

Later that night, Angel and Pedro introduced us to an open-hearted woman in Progreso whose family is the only one of Chinese heritage in Progreso today. We have the same last name! My grandfather knew her grandfather, we were certain, and likely worked together for a while in Merida’s Chinese Colony.

All this in one day.

Lawson Tours is magic. Lawson Tours provided me and my family with 2 great excursions, and one life-changing, unforgettable journey of the heart that I never expected, and will never forget. To Ralf, Angel, and Pedro — thank you for giving me my abuelo. Gracias por todo, desde mi corazon lleno— thank you for everything, from my full heart!
— via email

Everything was Amazing!

Jessica and her hubbie came in on the Carnival cruise ship and visited the cenotes. Here are her comments!

IMG_3836.jpg
Everything was amazing, we were totally blown away. It was a culture shock to see the village of Cuzama, but overall it was a great experience that made us very grateful for what we have in life. And the cenotes.. OH MY GOSH!! Amazing, so unique and just right up our alley of what we love to explore. They were just breath taking, words just can’t describe how special the cenotes are. And Jorge was wonderful, a true joy and just so nice. Shepard jokes around a lot so I hope Jorge didn’t think we were silly Americans :)
Thank you again for everything, your business really made our trip special and priceless. The balloons were so thoughtful, that was very sweet of you, thank you so very much. We are definitely going to spread the word of your awesome business and review you as much as possible online. Thank you again for everything, we will for sure contact you if we are in the area again.

-Jessica
— email

David was an excellent guide!

Kristen and her "boat people" from the Carnival ship in Progreso recently visited Uxmal and stopped at the Hacienda Ochil for a bite of real Yucatecan food. Here's what Kristen had to say. 

Meeting Gonzalo and David in Progreso

Meeting Gonzalo and David in Progreso

Yes we all had a wonderful time. David was an excellent guide and we had a lot of fun. The best and biggest surprise were the cold peppermint towels after our stops! It was just so perfect and welcome.



I will of course endorse you and should we ever return we will call again.



Thank you.

Kristen
At the Hacienda San Pedro Ochil, Yucatan

At the Hacienda San Pedro Ochil, Yucatan

Cruisers won over, plan to return for extended visit.

Mandy and her all-girls family group entrusted us with their shore excursion this past week and took a whirlwind tour to Uxmal with plenty of interesting stops along the way.

The pyramid of the Magician, from the side, at Uxmal

I just wanted to tell you what an outstanding experience we had on our visit last week- it was truly the perfect day and was even better than promised! I corresponded with Ralf, who considered our interests and helped us plan the perfect tour including a visit to Uman Village, a stop at Yaxcopoil hacienda, a guided tour of the ruins at Uxmal, and swimming in the Peba cenote. We were skeptical that all of the activities could be done in the allotted time, but we were so wrong! Gener picked us up promptly at the terminal in Progreso last Wed morning and showed us a wonderful time. He proved to be friendly, interesting, and well-educated. I really appreciated his Mayan heritage and deep anthropological understanding of the region. Gener’s intimate knowledge of the area created a very personal experience, and he was never short on interesting facts and stories - we felt right at home. The attention to detail was evident - from the refreshments to the order of our itinerary, with each stop building on the previous. Swimming in the cenote was my favorite part, especially after the hot, humid hike on the ruins! My mom mentioned a few traditional Mexican dishes she had researched and wanted to try, and Gener knew the perfect restaurant next to the ocean in Progreso that served all of the dishes! Needless to say, I highly recommend your tour services, and thanks to the hospitality we were shown, I am even planning to return to Progreso soon for an extended visit. We will request Gener again! Thanks again, and best wishes!