"If you're going to see the Yucatan, see it with Lawson's"

Fran, her husband and another couple were on a major 17 day tour of the entire peninsula. This was their experience.

In Jan. 2015, our party of four took what I guess would be the “grand tour” of Yucatan. I’m interested in the architecture (ancient and colonial) the crafts, the Maya people, the flora, and the history. For 17 days Angel, our guide, and Jose Luis, our driver, accompanied us.
Our itinerary began at Merida, then to Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Tulum, and Campeche, returning to Merida for the flight out. We visited seven archeological sites.
Having our guide and driver enhanced the efficiency and enjoyment of our trip. First, you can see much more within a given time; second, no worries about how you are going to get from one place to another. The whole thing is seamless.
Angel has an in-depth command of English and an exceptionally broad-based knowledge of the topics I was interested in. He can discuss in detail not only the obvious — Mayan history, architectural styles, etc., but also economics, sociology, botany and politics.
He routinely went beyond what was expected. The inevitable misplacing of my husband’s glasses initiated a sprint throughout the entire Uxmal site to locate them (they turned up in the van). If we had a day or afternoon we wanted to ourselves to wander around, he made sure we could contact him instantly if our plans changed by leaving his cell number with hotel reception.
He took us to remarkable out-of-the-way places, exquisite tiny churches, cenotes where only the locals were enjoying a swim, a Merida German/Jewish deli with 20 (I counted them) kinds of pate, the city market where he led us through a small door into a scene that I can best equate with the grand bazaar in Istanbul, a convent where the very air seemed pink from reflections off the rose-painted walls. I wanted to hear Yucatan’s traditional “trio” music, but concerts didn’t coincide with our schedule, so one night on the way back into town, he called up a friend, then stopped just off the grand plaza, led us through walkways, under arcades, and came to a stop in one small shop, where, on one lower shelf, was one three-disc packet of trio music for me to take home. Could I have ever found this on my own?. He recommended several books for further reading. He was conversant with the archeologists/explorers — from Landa to Stephens and Catherwood,the Thompsons, and on — who have worked in Yucatan. All this, plus a tray with terry cloths scented with orange and spice offered by Jose Luis to revive ourselves when we had concluded a hot, humid tour of the ruins.
Of course, we four were all agile, despite our advancing age, and did, in fact, scamper up the ramps at Edzna. But at Coba, while we rested on a bench in the shade, Angel climbed the Nohoch Mul with our cameras, capturing for us the jungle panorama from the top, plus the details of seashells in the limestone blocks on the way down.
Then there was his detailed explanation of the Mayan number system and exactly how one reads the dates on Mayan stelae. This was of especial interest to my husband, who is a mathematician. At my request, he read aloud in Mayan a description on one of the displays at an archaeological site.
My perception is that, as we said our goodbyes at the airport, both Angel and Jose Luis were genuinely sorry to see our adventure come to an end.
Bottom line: If you’re going to see Yucatan, see it with William Lawson.

Visited January 2015
— TripAdvisor