Registration is now open for the 2016 IWGS Merida Symposium!
Click on the link below to go to the reigstration page
The 2016 IWGS Symposium will convene in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico from Tuesday, October 25 to Friday, October 28, 2016. Mérida, the White City of Yucatán, is one of the most illustrious colonial cities of Latin America. The capital of Yucatán State, Mérida was named the 2017 Cultural Capital of the Americas and, not at all coincidentally, the second safest city in all of the Americas, proud to be renowned as the best place to raise a family in Mexico.
Mérida is an ideal site for the 2016 Symposium, with its wealth of historical, cultural and natural attractions. Mérida boasts an unsurpassed number of beautifully preserved Mayan and Colonial historical sites, a gentle climate, typically around 30°/86°F in late October with little chance of rain, and an abundance of fauna and flora. Where else in the world can you swim amongst native Nymphaea in an ancient cenote amid Mayan temples? Mérida is also easily accessible, both directly via its own international airport, and via the major international hub of Cancun.
Merida is also ranked as the saftest city in Mexico and the second safest city in North and South America just behind Boise, Idaho and ahead of Ottwa, Canada. City Safety Ranking of the Americas.
Tuesday, 10/25 ¡Bienvenidos a Mérida!
Open Day in Mérida. If you’re arriving on your own, check-in at the Hotel Gamma de Fiesta Inn El Castellano is at 3pm, but you can stop by the Hospitality Room anytime Tuesday to drop off your bags, pop open a frosty beverage and pick up your Welcome Package. Within you’ll find goodies and lots of great information, including a guide book to the many museums, churches, shops, cantinas and dining options within walking distance of the hotel for those of you who would rather explore than hang out. Then find your way back to the Hotel for the…
7pm – Orientation and Welcome Dinner at the Hotel El Castellano
After dinner, to set the mood after the long trip to Mérida, we have an informal, stress relieving treat for you. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and be ready to relax and let go of your cares for the next few days….
8:30pm – Concert by Roberto Mendez Gopar: Healing Music with Traditional Instruments
After the concert, collapse in your hotel room and get some sleep, or head back out into the streets with the rest of the night-life loving denizens of the White City. Listen to Jazz, Mariachi or Yucatec Trios in the streets around the Zócalo, or sit outside at one of the many cafés for a Mayan Coffee or other nightcap. The choice is yours, but remember, the impressive buffet breakfast downstairs opens at 7am, and we have a lot to see and do tomorrow!
Wednesday, 10/26 Mérida and the Mayan World
7am – Breakfast downstairs right in our Hotel at the award-winning buffet of El Salmantino, featuring both traditional Yucatecan and international favorites.
8am– To the Buses! DON’T FORGET YOUR BATHING SUITS, INSECT REPELLENT AND SUN SCREEN! Hydration is also a concern here; cold water, refreshments and snacks will be available on the bus. Make sure you drink plenty, the sun is fierce and it’s easy to forget to keep hydrated.
8:45am – Hacienda Sotuta de Peon is a restored henequén plantation from the age of the Green Gold of Yucatan, the agave fibers the world has come to know as sisal. The fields of verdant spears conceal a hidden cenote where the adventurous can bathe 6 meters underground. The guided tour includes a demonstration of 19th C. factory machinery, a ride on the narrow gauge railroad that used to pull the harvest carts and a lecture by a Mayan Elder. Refreshments will be available at the cenote, including amazing margaritas made with henequén, but don’t fill up; we’ll be having lunch under the thatched palapa here. Hacienda Sotuta de Peon
11:45am – Lunch at Hacienda Sotuta, highlighting the mildly spiced, extremely flavorful cuisine of the area, indigenous preparations blending ancient foods with the best from Europe, befitting this most sophisticated of capitals. (To this day, street food includes an eclectic blend of Old and New World ingredients, like the marquesita, a wafer thin Belgian waffle rolled around Dutch Gouda cheese and covered in Mayan chocolate… but that’s for another day, very soon!)
1:30pm – Choco-story Uxmal is an interactive experience that explores the social, economic and cultural meanings of the plant the Maya called xocolatl. Beginning with the preparation and, of course, tasting of the magic liquid the world has come to love and a demonstration of artisanal techniques, the guides also narrate and explain the significance of the traditional prayer ceremony to the Rain God Chaac, without whom all crops fail. Explore the wildlife sanctuary and preserve then make your way to our next stop – it’s a 5-minute walk to the ruins of the ancient city of Uxmal.
2:30pm – Uxmal, a World Heritage Site, is one of the most important and best preserved of the Mayan cities excavated to date. Smaller than the more famous Chichén Itzá and less visited, Uxmal boasts unique structures like the House of the Magician, 100 feet tall and the only pyramid ever discovered with an oval base. Explore the ruins on your own until 5pm, when the site closes to prepare for the Light and Sound Show. UXMAL
5:30pm – Dinner at Restaurant Bar Cana-Nah – Enjoy savory Yucatecan specialties, then relax in the lounges or take a cooling dip in the pool after dinner. We’ll be leaving at 7:30p to head back to the Ruins for the show.
8pm – The Uxmal Light and Sound Show has been entertaining guests since its inauguration in 1979, which Queen Elizabeth attended. Fully modernized in 2009, the show is set in what may be the most dramatic location in the Mayan world, in the Nunnery Quadrangle with the Great Pyramid in the background. Headsets are available to translate the show into English, French, German and Italian for under $3. It’s also a good place to try out your BUG REPELLANT! Uxmal Light and Sound Show.
Thursday, 10/27 Flora and Fauna of Yucatan
7am - Breakfast at the hotel.
8am – To Dzibilchaltún! We’ll board the buses to head to the “Place of the Stone Writing”, only 10 miles from the heart of the city. This beautiful site features a marvelous Temple Complex, a delightful little museum and a crystal clear blue cenote filled with native water lilies… which you can swim in! We’ll start with a guided tour, then wander over either to the cenote or to the museum, depending on crowds and the weather.
11a – To Hunucmá! This tiny town is the center of the thriving Horticulture, Aquaponic and Apiculture trade here. Our first stop will be the Tropical Fish Hatchery, where Manuel Abram Medina raises 1 million Angel Fish per year for the tropical aquarium trade, not to mention Tilapia and aquatic plants. Next, we’ll stop by the Mercado, built in 1906, to see a typical market, before heading back to Mérida. Hunucma
2pm – Lunch
3p m– We’ll finish the day at the Centro de Investigacion Cientifico de Yucatan to check out the new Sensory Garden there, where a state-of-the-art Lily Pond was installed in March just for you! El CICY, as it is affectionately known, hosts over 100,000 visitors per year, mostly secondary students touring the Gardens and Research Center. We will be treated to a private lecture and tour by CICY scientists. Centro de investigacion Cientifico de Yucatan
***BACK TO HOTEL MTG/BANQUET ROOM FOR LECTURES BY RENOWNED IWGS MEMBERS!!!
7pm - Annual General Meeting International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society
9pm - Banquet at Hotel El Castellano
Friday 10/28 – Adiós a Mérida
7am – Breakfast at the Hotel prior to 12 noon checkout
8am -11am – LECTURES
11am - Muesum of the Mayan World
12am - Symposium Concluded. Depart for home or spend a afternoon or a few days exploring the Yucatan!
Getting There – Fly directly into Mérida (MID) on Monday 10/24 or early Tuesday 10/25. United flies once a day directly into Mérida from Houston (IAH) and American Airlines will be initiating service into Mérida from Dallas very soon. There are many direct flights from Mexico City. Alternately, fly into Cancun (CUN) and take one of the many buses to Merida. Currently, flights to Cancun International Airport from most US cities average $400 roundtrip. ADO buses run between Cancun and Mérida about 12 times a day at a cost of about $45 round trip for the 4-hour ride.
Accommodations – At the Hotel El Castellano Gamma de Fiesta Inn, with full breakfast included, Tuesday check-in, Friday morning check-out. The hotel is modern, with full services and a doctor on call, located only 4 blocks from the Zócalo, the heart of the historic city center.
Additional Costs - Once in Mérida, all food and transportation is included. A post-Symposium expedition to explore colonies of wild Nymphaea, limited to the first 15 people to sign up, will be availible at additional cost. Participants should be in good physical condition, able to hike and willing to rough it for two days.
General Information – Mérida, the city and its surroundings http://www.merida.gob.mx/turismo/index_in.htm
You can extend your stay at the same low negotiated rate for one week before or after. A hotel room extended-stay form is available here:
More information can be found on the FAQ page.