yucatan mexico temple statue
Yucatan, Mexico

January in Yucatan

Study Program



3 weeks


3 semester hours

4.5 quarter hours


Application Deadline

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Spend your January immersing yourself in the Yucatán Peninsula’s magnificent biodiversity and Latin America’s largest Mayan population. This three-week winter program is the perfect opportunity to develop your Spanish language proficiency while you discover the ancient Mayan civilization. Your home base is Mérida - a gorgeous colonial city filled with brightly colored buildings and clean, tree-lined streets near the sea! This Yucatecan capital is the second safest city in North America, according to the World’s Safest Cities Ranking, and its Spanish colonial architecture, world-famous gastronomy, and world-renowned Mayan landmarks are a draw for visitors from around the world. 

Unique Experiences


with a host family committed to making your stay unforgettable


on a program that combines academics with cultural activities that enrich your learning abroad experience


the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya: a world-class museum covering Yucatán from its geological origins to the present


days of sunshine per year


completion date of the oldest cathedral on the American continent


year Merida is founded

  • yucatan girl smiling
  • yucatan historic building
  • yucatan waterfall in cenote

The Destination

Mérida is the capital of the Yucatán state and the largest city on the Yucatán Peninsula with a population just under 900,000. It is known for its Mayan ruins, art, and architecture and has the largest intact indigenous population (60%) of any city, which is reflected in its regional food and music. Mérida is a modern city with shops, a youth symphony, public and private hospitals, and dozens of public and private higher education institutions. Additionally, Mérida is a hub for travel within the Yucatán Peninsula and beyond, with connections to Mexico City, Belize, and Guatemala.

Popular tourist attractions are important archaeological UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Mayan Museum, the Provincial Palace, Uxmal architectural ruins, nearby cenotes, the nearby Gulf of Mexico, and Celestún National Park.

Mérida has tropical weather with a very distinct dry and wet seasons. The rainy season is from June through October. The average daytime high temperature is 33°C (91°F) with nighttime temperatures around 18°C (64°F). Geologically, the Yucatán has a karst topography of limestone, with many underground caves and cenotes. Two zoos, a botanical garden, the Museum of Natural History, and several science institutes also make Mérida a regional STEM center. The city sits within the Chicxulub crater, formed by a large asteroid impact 66 million years ago. The asteroid impact is responsible for the fifth great extinction, including all dinosaur species.

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Yucatán.

The Culture

historic site girls pose study abroad yucatan

Excursions & Activities

In the January in Yucatán program, you may:

  • Explore Chichén Itzá and nearby Cenote Sagrado where humans were sacrificed to the Mayan rain God - Chaac.  
  • Birdwatch in Ria Lagartos Wildlife Refuge, home to countless pink flamingos and beautiful sunsets with pink waters  
  • Explore Merida´s magnificent Botanical Garden.  
  • Fall in love with colonial architecture in Mérida’s historic center while enjoying a coffee or tea in one of the many terraces and coffee shops. 

Program Blogs


Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Valladolid - Yucatan Study Tour

By College Study Abroad at CIEE

FALL BLOCK I - CHICHEN ITZA, EK BALAM, VALLADOLID Located In the center of the State of Yucatan, the World Heritage ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza is one of... keep reading


The “Cake-Colored” City of Campeche

By Latin America Unplugged at CIEE

The “cake-colored” city of Campeche is a stop-over-must on your way to the CIEE Global Institute – Yucatán. Not only for its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, but for its historic... keep reading


Spend J-term Learning Spanish in the Beautiful Yucatán

By College Study Abroad at CIEE

Between Mayan ruins and modern culture, cenotes and white sand beaches, delicious foods and spectacular mangroves, you’ll fall in love with the perfectly balanced existence in the Yucatán. You’re invited... keep reading

What People are Saying

  • "This was an amazing experience and anyone can benefit from this whether it’s through language development or cultural awareness"

    Alexus G., Virginia State University

  • "It’s an amazing experience that expands your Spanish skills"

    Noel T., Wofford College



Courses are taught at CIEE Yucatán and are only for CIEE students. Classes are scheduled Monday-Friday and meet three to five times per week, and attendance is strictly enforced both for classes and required co-curricular excursions.  Students should expect an average of two hours of preparation required for each hour in class.  Instruction is supported and augmented online with our learning management system, Canvas. 



Language Requirements

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Additional Requirements

Please refer to the detailed Program Essential Eligibility Criteria.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


All students enroll in one 3-credit CIEE course per session. 

Program Credit

Total credit: 3-4 U.S. semester/4.5-6 quarter credits per session. 

Course Credit

  • CIEE courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours per session. 
  • CIEE Communicative Language course: 1 U.S. semester/1.5 quarter credits; 15 contact hours.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

Class pace is accelerated, and the workload is demanding.  CIEE courses follow U.S. academic culture and standards.  The class environment typically features a combination of traditional lectures and discussions with co-curricular excursions and activities.  Heavy emphasis is placed on student participation.  

Class Format

Courses are for CIEE students only and are taught Monday – Friday.  Instruction is supported and augmented online by our learning management system, Canvas. 


Students are graded on quizzes, exams, attendance, homework assignments, presentations, and class participation. As attendance is mandatory, absences affect final grades. The course includes compulsory activities with special assignments as part of classwork. 

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction

English and Spanish 

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


Course Information

Natural Resources, Conservation, and the Environment

Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.

Dates & Fees

Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Program January 2025 3 weeks Start Date End Date

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, your college or university may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via CIEE's School of Record, which carries an additional fee of $500.

Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel protection with benefits.

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

See Scholarships

What's Included



Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities



Our Staff

Karla Zarco

Center Director

Karla is the Center Director of CIEE in Yucatán, and she brings to CIEE more than 20 years of experience working in the international education field.

Alan Barroso

Program & Student Life Manager

Alan joined CIEE Yucatan in March 2022 as Student Life and Academics Manager. He is an experienced Psychologist focused on student coaching and tutoring.

Get Started Steps

Get Started

Here’s what you need to do to take the next steps:


Start an Application
You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience!


Connect With Your Campus Study Abroad Office 
Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad.


Contact Us 
Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.

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