Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico


The Maya Exploration Center (MEC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of ancient Maya civilization. MEC does this through: 1) travel courses, lecture series, and education programs teaching students, educators, and the general public about the ancient Maya, 2) the survey and mapping of ruins hidden in the jungles of Mexico and Central America 3) the study of ancient Maya science and 4) the exploration and documentation of Maya architecture. In addition to archaeological investigation and teaching, the center seeks to support the illumination of ancient traditions still practiced among the modern Maya. In doing so, MEC aims to better understand the ancient ruins and celebrate the modern Maya as the descendants of one of the world's great early civilizations. MEC's research is disseminated through educational travel courses, tours for the general public, lectures, and a website (www.mayaexploration.org) where various educational and informational materials and resources are made available. (Taken from the New York Times.)

View Math in Non-European Cultures from our students' perspective at:

http://mayanexploration.blip.tv/#256495. Created by and used with the permission of Michael West.

http://blip.tv/file/1249984. Created by and used with the permission of Guillermo Murillo.

http://www.tygraff.com/mexico/Home.html. Created by and used with the permission of Tyler Graffius.

Program Offerings

MATH 102 Mathematics in Non-European Cultures (G2) Prerequisite: Math Placement Test. Course will satisfy the Diversity Requirement  for General Education.

This course is designed for students to learn about ancient Maya History, Culture, and Mathematics as they travel through the ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula. This course is taught in English by Millersville Professor Dr. Ximena Catepillan and archaeologist Dr. Michael Grofe of the the Maya Exploration Center (MEC), a top scholar in the field of Mayan archaeology. To learn more about the Maya Exploration Center (MEC) check out this website: http://www.mayaexploration.org/about.php

Students should work with their academic advisor to ensure that these 3 credits are appropriately utilized for the student's major/minor requirements or to fulfill General Education and Diversity requirements.

Itinerary (Subject to Change)

March 16, Saturday: Arrival and Orientation

Fly into Cancun, meet at the baggage claim area and bus the 45 minutes to Playa Del Carmen. Check into the hotel and have a look around town.

In the evening, attend the orientation meeting and then take the evening to explore Playa's Avenida Cinco.

March 17, Sunday: Lectures in Playa del Carmen

8-9am: Breakfast

9-11am: Explore Playa del Carmen

11-12pm: Lecture: Maya History

12-2pm: Lunch break

2-3pm: Lecture: Maya Numbers

4-5pm: Lecture: Maya Calendars,Part I

Overnight in Playa Del Carmen

March 18, Monday: Coba

7-8am: Breakfast and check out

10-1pm: Tour of Cobá

1-4pm: Lunch and travel to Chichen Itza

6-7pm: Lecture: Maya Astronomy

Overnight in Chichen Itza

March 19, Tuesday: Chichen Itza

7-8am: Breakfast

8-1pm: Tour of Chichen Itza

1-3pm: Lunch and swimming at Cenote Ik'il

6-7pm: Lecture: Maya Geometry

Overnight in Chichen Itza

March 20, Wednesday: Ek Balam

7-8am: Breakfast and check out

8-1pm: Tour of Ek Balam

Lecture at the "White Reading House" Temple

1-3pm: Lunch in Valladolid

3-6pm: Return to Playa del Carmen

Overnight in Playa del Carmen

March 21, Thursday: Playa del Carmen

8-9am: Breakfast

9-5pm: Free time

5-6pm: Lecture: Maya Calendar Systems, Part II

6-8pm: Group dinner and closing ceremonies

Overnight in Playa del Carmen

March 22, Friday: Departure

Hotel check-out and transport back to Cancun for flights back to the USA


Millersville students will pay approximately $1,200 to participate in this course with a $200 deposit upon registration. Balance will be due 30 days before departure.

This cost includes:

  • Accomodations (pay $250 extra for single lodging)
  • Breakfasts and 2 lunches
  • Final Dinner
  • Ground transportation
  • Entrance fees
  • Guiding
  • Lectures and course resource packet

This cost does not include:

  • Millersville tuition and fees
  • Airfare to/from Cancun
  • ISIC Cards
  • 2 lunches in Playa del Carmen and 1 in Valladolid
  • Dinners (except final dinner)
  • Passport (if necessary) *
  • Personal expenses (souvenirs and other daily expenses)

*If you do not have a passport, you must apply for one immediately. Keep in mind that it takes 4 - 6 weeks to receive a passport.

Financial Assistance

Since this program offers 3 academic credits, students should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss their specific financial aid package.For more information visit the following link: http://www.millersville.edu/services/finaid/faq.php#Summer/WinterClasses  


  • Students will meet face-to-face with Dr. Ximena Catepillian 6 times (Dates to be determined) as well as meet for online classes.
  • Students choosing to travel in Mexico will go over Spring Break (March 16-22, 2013). The course for the students traveling to Mexico will end upon return.


Students will be housed in hotels in both Playa del Carmen and Valladolid during their stay in Mexico. These costs are included in the program fee.

Playa del Carmen: Hotel Hacienda Caribe
one block from the beach in downtown Playa del Carmen
Hotel services include AC, TV, phones, on-site restaurant and internet access

Chichen Itza: Villas Arqueologicas
A former Club Med facility inside the ruins of Chichen Itza
Hotel services include AC, phones, restuarant, pool, and internet access


Students must have taken the Math Placement Test in order to be eligible to apply. Also, students will be evaluated by Dr. Ximena Catepillan for admission to the course.


This course will be the equivalent of 3 undergraduate credits for the program.

To Apply

Please contact Dr. Ximena Catepillan, Math Department for additional information at 872-3993 or email inquiries to: Ximena.Catepillan@millersville.edu.

To apply, please e-mail Dr. Catepillan for more information.