Interview with Tortuga, the best guide in Chichen Itza

One of the things you must do when visiting Cozumel, Cancun, or the Riviera Maya is definitely seeing the impressive archaeological site of Chichen Itza. The most relevant archaeological site of the Mayan Culture is located 155 km from the Riviera Maya, halfway between Valladolid and Merida, in the Yucatan Peninsula. Despite the distance, thousands of travelers take a 3 hours trip to see this enigmatic vestige and its majestic buildings of exceptional beauty, listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

chichen itza pyramid

Of course, some travelers who don’t like to spend time in transportation look for better alternatives. Now it is possible to get to Chichen Itza by plane from the Riviera Maya, reducing the time it takes to only 35 minutes. This option is becoming popular for the convenience of seeing Chichen Itza and get back in time for lunch and margaritas on the beach.

We’ve been offering this service to hundreds of travelers for some time now. While the flight is pretty enjoyable and the main reason travelers choose Fly Cozumel to get to Chichen Itza by air, it was quite a surprise to learn that our clients enjoy our private guided tour to Chichen Iza as much.

We talked to the guy responsible for getting us those great reviews: our very own Jorge, aka Mr. Tortuga, to figure out why everybody loves his Chichen Itza tours. Read on to know more about this fascinating character.

Jorge “Tortuga”, 57, was born in Yucatan. He’s a 3rd generation tour guide, which means that literally he was born to do this job. It’s easy to see why; his passionate explanation and knowledge about Chichen Itza give the impression that this guy was born in Chichen! He is a professional tour guide with a license to work in any tourist part of Mexico that’s been collaborating with Fly Cozumel for some years now.

tortuga our guide at chichen itza

How did Leo Waltman (our CEO) and you start working together?

Tortuga: I’ve been working for over 30 years as a tour guide in many touristic places across Mexico. A few years ago, I decided to make Chichen Itza my home and started working for a local tour company. One day Leo came for a tour; he knew my former employer. I remember him asking many questions from the beginning, not only about Chichen Itza but also about me, so I got suspicious that he was there for more than just a tour. In fact, at one point, he said: You know? I’m about to start my own private flights & tours company, do you want to join? He seemed so determined on creating an outstanding company, so I thought: Yeah, why not? Years later, I’m the official private tour guide for Fly Cozumel, and I look forward to continuing working together.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Travelers come from all parts of the world to visit Chichen Itza; some come to Mexico with the single purpose of getting to this enigmatic place. However, most tourists don’t even know that this place existed until they get to Mexico! So I like to give an engaging, comprehensive guide to them so that they actually learn something and go back home knowing a bit about my ancestors’ culture and history. When they say, “thank you, I learned a lot today,” that’s what I love. That’s what keeps me going every day.

Why do you think your guide is different from others available at Chichen Itza?

First of all, our tour is private; so my groups are small, and generally, they all know each other; it’s easier when the group is a family or a bunch of friends. A private tour gives the visitors the possibility to ask many questions and get a more detailed explanation. I also like to compare the Mayans ‘ ancient history with other cultures, so visitors from other countries can relate. I can do it in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and even Italian, so when I have a mixed group, I make sure that everyone got the guide right.

Are all travelers the same?

Definitely know; I wouldn’t dare to generalize, but after years of experience, I think I’ve learned what the tourists look for when they come. Some are here to actually know about the Mayan Culture. Still, many just come to get photos or to be photographed for their Social Media. It bothered me at first, but then I learned to adapt to these new times. Some people come just to do some shopping, so after years of scouting, today I know the best handicraft sellers in the place, so I help my travelers get the best deals on souvenirs or even quality pieces of art. I always adapt to their needs to ensure they have a wonderful time.

chichen itza selfie

What do you think about the “getting to Chichen Itza by air” experience?

I think it’s the best idea ever! I love giving the tour early in the morning before the crowds arrive, and the weather is nice. The visitors are awake and happy from the quick flight, and I get to go back home before noon! I really like working with Fly Cozumel on this unique Chichen Itza adventure.

Tortuga is a very easy-going, professional guide that will ensure an excellent experience for you if you decide to fly to Chichen Itza with us. Book your Chichen Itza by air adventure today and get to know him!

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On Board by Fly Cozumel is being issued monthly and covers brief information and news about the destinations of Fly Cozumel.