* Please note that not every expedition has couples’ or single's accommodations available. Please call or email Earthwatch to check for availability prior to reserving your space(s) on the team.
For the full duration of the expedition, you will stay at the eco-friendly Casa Xitla, a property managed by a local non-profit called Lekil Kuxlejal. The house is located in Tlalpan, one of the 16 administrative boroughs in Mexico City and is well known for having over 80% of its land set aside for conservation purposes.
Casa Xitla has two separate buildings that can accommodate three to four large groups at a time. You will likely encounter other groups besides Earthwatch during your stay at Casa Xitla. Your team will stay in a private building with four large bedrooms (with five beds in each) throughout which your team can spread out. Private rooms might be possible depending on team size. There are also two smaller bedrooms that will be occupied by your field team leaders. The house will provide bedding, pillows, and towels.
* Earthwatch will honor each person’s assertion of gender identity, respectfully and without judgement. For both teen and adult teams, where logistics dictate single-sex accommodations or other facilities, participant placements will be made in accordance with the gender identity the participant specified on their Earthwatch Participant form and/or preferences indicated in discussions with Earthwatch.
At Casa Xitla each bedroom has a modern bathroom with a hot shower that you will share with your roommates. It will be your responsibility to keep them tidy but members of staff will clean them a few times during the week. Due to the plumbing system, the house asks that you do not flush any toilet paper but instead place it in the bin beside the toilet. Staff will empty these bins for you. Tap water is not treated for drinking. Filtered water will be provided separately for consumption and brushing your teeth. Casa Xitla is an eco-friendly property; during rainy season water is collected and filtered. Greywater is treated to be used in gardens and for cleaning. Hot water is available for showers but since water is a precious resource in Mexico City, the staff asks that you collect excess water from your shower while you wait for it to heat up. The manager also asks to use the soap and shampoo they provide because it’s designed formula prevents high quantities of phosphates entering the water
You are welcome to bring electrical equipment, as there are numerous outlets at the accommodation site. Electrical outlets in Mexico are between 110–120v and use North American socket and plugs. The U.S. standard voltage used for small appliances, hair dryers, electronic equipment, etc. is 120 volts, 60Hz, supplied through type A or B sockets. If you are coming from Europe, or any country that uses 220 volts, you will need the proper adapters. You are welcome to bring your own electronic equipment (cell phones, digital cameras, laptop, etc.) for use in Casa Xitla. When away from the house, management can lock laptops in a room for added security.
Wireless internet access is available at Casa Xitla although not always 100% reliable. Wireless internet access is not available in the field. You may bring your own laptop or tablet for free-time use.
The project will have cell phones and two-way radios for communication among the team while conducting fieldwork.
For emergency assistance in the field, please contact Earthwatch’s 24-hour emergency hotline number on the last page of this briefing. Earthwatch is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; someone is always on call to respond to messages that come into our live answering service.
PIs and staff can be reached via telephone, cell phone, and email for both emergencies and casual communication.
Please note that personal communication with outsiders is not always possible while participating in an expedition. Earthwatch encourages volunteers to minimize outgoing calls and immerse themselves in the experience; likewise, family and friends should restrict calls to urgent messages only.
DISTANCE TO THE FIELD SITE
The distance to the field sites varies from 40 minutes to an hour depending on where we dock—San Gregorio or Xochimilco. From the docks it takes approximately 40 minutes by large canoa to reach the field sites.
FOOD AND WATER
Both breakfast and dinner will be served in the main dining room of Casa Xitla at 7:00 a.m. CST and 7:00 p.m. CST, respectively. Local cooks will serve lunch at the research site. Below are examples of the foods you might expect in the field. Please bear in mind that variety depends on availability. This list is intended to provide a general idea of food types, but it is very important that volunteers be flexible. Personal drinks and snacks can be kept in the house kitchen area, which has a refrigerator.
Tap water in Mexico is generally considered unsafe to drink. This includes fountain drinks and reconstituted juices. Drink only bottled drinks or water that has been disinfected (boiled, filtered, or treated). We recommend bringing two one-liter reusable water bottles. Earthwatch will provide bottled water in your rooms at the accommodations and at the research site with which you can fill your reusable water bottles.
The following are examples of foods you may find in the field. Variety depends on availability. We appreciate your flexibility.
- Breakfast: Cereal, fruit, yogurt, bread, butter, tortillas, rice and beans, eggs, coffee
- Lunch: Mexican and international cuisine, including stew with chicken, beef or pork, rice and beans, salad and tortillas, baguettes, wraps and salads. (Please note lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Mexico and can be quite late in the afternoon). Vegetarian options will be available.
- Dinner: Mexican cuisine, smaller dishes of meat and cheese with a side of rice and/or tortillas
- Snacks: Fruit, cookies, chocolate, granola bars, traditional Mexican snacks
- Beverages: Bottled water, juice, and coffee. Alcohol may be available for purchase on adult teams only.
SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
Please alert Earthwatch to any special dietary requirements (e.g., diabetes, lactose intolerance, nut or other food allergies, vegetarian or vegan diets) as soon as possible, and note them in the space provided on your volunteer forms.
Casa Xitla is able to accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten- free, and lactose-free diets with advanced notice. It will be more difficult to cater to gluten-free and lactose-free diets during lunch, so please bring your own, non-perishable snacks to supplement the lunch options, if needed.