eco
TOURS-LATIN AMERICA & WORLDWIDE
Nature & Culture - hand in hand


Veracruz Migration Special

10 days or 14 days with extension

Without witnessing one of the planet's greatest natural phenomena it is hard to imagine the "Rio de Rapaces", the spectacular migration of millions of raptors at the Veracruz coastline. Though our tour is planned to coincide with the peak of autumn migration, we will have time to visit pine-oak woodlands, tropical rainforests, coastal mangroves and humid forests, which give a chance to encounter the members of the bird diversity of Veracruz with over 500 species. The abundance of migrating raptors can exceed 100 thousand or even half million per day! But numbers of migrating raptor species (20-30) will be outnumbered by New World warblers (30-50 species) and we should pay a special attention to the 25 or more local endemics as well.

Still your attention could easily be distracted from time to time by the fascinating local history and culture, which we can add for "culture-vultures" as optional programmes. Or we can even tailor our programme according to your needs to spend some time at colonial towns such as La Antigua, at the Totonacan ruins of Cempoala, or in the finest Anthropology Museum of Xalapa, famous for its collection of colossal 3000-years old Olmec heads.

Surely the above mix guarantees a really enjoyable and unforgettable "birding holiday cocktail" with us in Mexico!

 

Fact File

- 10 or 14 birding days with extension in Veracruz, Mexico visiting the best migration hotspots and local endemics' habitats seasoned with local culture

- start and finish in Veracruz

- using just 2 (or 4 with extension) accommodations to maximize visited habitats and possible species

Highlights

- witness the World's largest raptor migration with hundreds of thousands of birds

- huge numbers of migrating passerines and waterbirds

- New World warblers from East and West US and other songbirds rarely seen elsewhere side by side

- dozens of local endemics and many more great resident species

- great variety of hummingbirds, including endemics

- amazing variety of habitats from desert dominated by Joshua trees through prairie, wetland, coastal mangrove and scrub-thorn forests to mountain pine-oak forests and tropical rainforests

- birds and butterflies at Texolo, the most spectacular waterfall of Mexico

- birding in one of the northernmost tropical rainforests of the Americas, Sierra de Las Tuxtlas

- optional boat-trip at a mangrove or at a lake

- birding in the breathtaking Las Minas Canyon

- wide array of optionally visited cultural highlights

Accommodation

3 + 2 nights at Cardel

3 nights at Xalapa

during the extension:

3 nights at Catecamo, Sierra de Las Tuxtlas

1 night at Veracruz

Departure Dates

September-October each year

http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

Price

Ask for the actual price.

Our price includes:

- all travel within the country as noted in the itinerary;

- all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);

- 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);

- services of the leader(s);

- trip materials.

Not included:

- flight to and from Veracruz;

- optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;

- airport and other departure taxes, tips;

- food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;

- excess baggage charges;

- telephone calls;

- alcoholic beverages;

- compulsory personal insurance.

- other personal expenses

If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Activity level

Generally easy to moderate walks

Some areas are humid; hot temperatures and rain is possible

Itinerary

Day1

Arrival to Veracruz, short transfer to Cardel where we will be based for 3 nights. Birding en route if time permits.

Days2-3

We spend the first days in the vicinity of Cardel. At lowland forests we search for Black-headed Trogon, Rose-throated Becard, Black-headed Saltator, Aztec Parakeet, Buff-Bellied Hummingbird. At coastal mangrove lagoons and beaches we look for Black-collared Hawk, Snail Kite, Bat Falcon, Laughing Falcon, Pinnated Bittern, Boat-billed Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Skimmer, Belted, Ringed, Amazon, and Green Kingfishers, plus numerous shorebirds. At grassland or prairie habitats and dry scrub-thorn bushes we expect to see Aplomado Falcon, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Mexican Sheartail, White-bellied and Rufous-naped Wren, Double-striped Thick-knee, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove and Varied Bunting. In desert type vegetation dominated by Joshua trees and agaves we search for Scott's Oriole, Say's Phoebe, Canyon Towhee, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Western Scrub Jay and White-eared Hummingbird.

But each day as soon as the air warms up the main attraction will be to witness the immense migration of birds of prey, the River of Raptors. Millions of Turkey Vultures, Broad-winged and Swainson's Hawks, hundred-thousands of Mississippi Kites, thousands of Ospreys, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks and American Kestrels pass through here. Many other raptors colour the sky as well, such as Swallow-tailed and Plumbeous Kite, Northern Harrier, Zone-tailed, Red-shouldered, Red-tailed and Harris's Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon and some local species such as Grey and Roadside Hawk, Hook-billed Kite, Great and Common Black Hawk and Aplomado Falcon.

At each of the sites we will also hope for a spectacular waterbird and passerine migration, mainly Wood Storks, American White Pelicans, Anhingas, White Ibises and large flocks of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Red-billed Pigeons and White-winged Doves.

Days4-6

We head towards Xalapa, where we spend 3 nights visiting different habitats. We explore shaded coffee plantations, where both Olivaceous and Ivory-billed Woodcreepers are possible. We will look for Yellow-olive and Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-winged and Common Bush Tanager. Other colourful species include Blue-crowned Motmot and Wedge-tailed Sabrewing.

We make a short trip to a spectacular waterfall where beside the stunning scenery we should enjoy the view of White-collared Swift, Bat Falcon, Rufous-capped Warbler, Yellow-throated Euphonia and Montezuma Oropendola.

The paths on an extinct volcano are a great place to see Rusty Sparrow, Tufted Flycatcher, Fan-tailed and Golden-crowned Warbler, Berylline Hummingbird, Blue-crowned Motmot, Squirrel Cuckoo and Green Jay.

At a dramatic canyon and at mountain pine-oak forests we search for endemics such as Blue Mockingbird, Red Warbler, Brown-backed Solitaire, Grey Silky Flycatcher, Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, Striped Sparrow and Bearded Wood-Partridge among others.

Days7-8

We spend the last days of the circuit tour again in the vicinity of Cardel partly at lowland migration points, partly at different other habitats to look for the above mentioned species.

Days9-10

If you do not participate in the extension to the amazingly intact cloud forests of Las Tuxtlas then we return with you to Veracruz airport for your flight back home, where you arrive the following day.

Extension

Day9

South of Veracruz a huge coastal plain dotted with lagoons, wetlands and wet prairie is an excellent area to search for Pinnated Bittern, Limpkin and large flocks of waders. Flocks of Scissor-tailed and Fork-tailed Flycatchers and different other migrants and residents such as Yellow-bellied Elaenia are often seen in patches of woods. Later during the day Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures and Mangrove Swallows might be in the air. At the drier areas Double-striped Thick-knee can be found, where Aplomado Falcons hunt. Black-collared Hawks are occasionally seen at the wetlands, which also hold Snail Kite and Great Black-Hawk.

Later on we head further South to the Sierra de Las Tuxtlas.

Days10-11

2 full and a half day birding at the Sierra de Las Tuxtlas, where we will visit lush tropical patches of rainforest and coastal open habitats. Tuxtla Quail-Dove, a buff-throated subspecies of Black-headed Saltator and Plain-breasted or Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch are just a few examples of the birds, which can only be found in Las Tuxtlas area. Other species include Violaceous Trogon, Collared Aracari, Black-cowled Oriole, Keel-billed Toucan, Red-lored Parrot, Crimson-collared Tanager, Bright-rumped Attila, Lesser Greenlet, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Ruddy and Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaners, Lineated, Smoky-brown and Golden-Olive Woodpeckers, Ivory-billed and Barred Woodcreepers.

We have to try hard for some of the elevational migrants such as Slate-coloured Solitaire and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia. We try to find hummingbirds like the endemic Long-tailed Sabrewing, Violet Sabrewing and Black-crested Coquette and raptors such as White Hawk, Barred Forest-Falcon and Black Hawk-Eagle.

A rewarding optional programme can be a boat ride through the Laguna de Sontecomapan, where we might see Pygmy Kingfisher, Sungrebe and Bare-throated Tiger-Heron.

Day12

Depending on how we do at other places we might visit La Jungla and Nanciyaga Nature Reserve. A morning birding here not just gives a second chance to find some of the previously mentioned species, but we can always add some new ones as well such as Long-tailed and Little Hermits or White-breasted and Spot-breasted Wood-Wrens. During the afternoon we say goodbye to this fascinating area and travel back to Veracruz.

Days13-14

Finally we drive to Veracruz airport for your flight back home.

Overnight flight, arrival home.

Excellent Endemics & Millions of Monarchs

Birds & Butterflies & more , 14 days

Our tour takes you to the best birding areas in Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa with an additional visit to Michoacan for the Monarch Butterflies with also some great local bird species. We explore various habitats: lower slopes of huge volcanoes, reedbeds & wetlands, mangroves, beaches, coastal thorn-scrub- & highland pine- & mixed forests, all with their own unique rich flora and fauna, including many special endemics as well.

It is possible to do either just the first 9-days of the 2-week-long tour starting and leaving from Guadalajara or join just for the last 5-days for the Monarchs with arrival in Guadalajara and leaving from Toluca/Mexico City. Please ask us regarding potential arrival/departure times.


Fact File

- 14 days in Mexico visiting Western Mexico's best birding sites with an additional visit to Michoacan for the Monarch Butterflies

- start in Guadalajara and finish in Toluca/Mexico City

- using 7 accommodations to maximize visited places and possible species

Highlights

- thousands of Yellow-headed Blackbirds

- birding at lower slopes of Colima's volcanoes

- birding at Bahia de Banderas, mangroves, shores & woods at Puerto Vallarta

- searching San Blas endemics

- Tufted Jay Reserve at Sierra Madre Occidental

- endemic birds and breathtaking view of millions of Monarchs at Michoacan

- wide variety birds, butterflies & other wildlife at different habitats

Accommodation

1 night Chapala, close to Guadalajara, Jalisco

1 night at Colima, South of the volcanoes, Colima

2 nights at San Pancho/Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit

2 nights at San Blas, Nayarit

2 nights at Tufted Jay preserve, Sinaloa

1 night Chapala, close to Guadalajara, Jalisco

4 nights close to Monarch Butterfly Reserves

Departure Dates

http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

Full Tour:

starting from Guadalajara, leaving from Toluca/Mexico City

First Part, Western Mexico Birding:

starting and leaving from Guadalajara

Second Part:

starting from Guadalajara, leaving from Toluca/Mexico City

Price


Ask for the actual price.

Our price includes:

- all travel within the country as noted in the itinerary;

- all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);

- 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);

- services of the leader(s);

- trip materials.

Not included:

- flight to and from your country;

- optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;

- airport and other departure taxes, tips;

- food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;

- excess baggage charges;

- telephone calls;

- alcoholic beverages;

- compulsory personal insurance.

If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us at

Activity level

Generally easy to moderate walks

Some areas are humid; hot temperatures and rain is possible; sudden daily temperature/weather changes are possible in the mountains

Itinerary

Day1

Arrival in Guadalajara. We start this tour from Guadalajara airport from where we drive south towards the hilly region of Jalisco. We spend the first night at Laguna Chapala, birding nearby if time permits.

Day2

Today we drive further South, first visiting a great wetland with reed beds which we will check out. During this time of the year it is a perfect place to admire one of the great birding sceneries: huge masses of Yellow-headed Blackbirds mixed with Bronzed and Brewer's Cowbirds and hundreds of Red-wings. Later on we cross Ciudad Guzman and continue towards Colima – pretty close to the massive peaks of 2 towering volcanic cones. Both well above 10000 feet, so they have several vegetation levels. We will search various birds mainly at the lower slopes where pine and oak forests dominate the area. We will search for the elusive Aztec Thrush and the secretive Long-tailed Wood-partridge. Orioles will be represented by Black-vented and Dickey's Orioles. Beside the commoner Warblers we should find the striking Red and the local Colima Warbler. Other sought after songbirds are Chestnut-sided Shrike-vireo, Grey-collared Becard and Dwarf Vireo. We should hear and then localize Spotted and Happy Wrens as well at the forest edges. In the meadow areas we have a chance for Lesser Roadrunner or Singing Quail. During the evening we will listen for and try to locate Mexican Whip-poor-will, Whiskered Screech and Mountain Pygmy Owl and Buff-collared Nightjar. Night at Colima.

Day3

After a morning birding we travel towards Puerto Vallarta, alongside the Pacific Coast but with as many birding stops as possible: first in Colima, later in Jalisco. A small detour to Barranca el Choncho can produce a few interesting species such as West Mexican Chachalaca, Lilac-crowned Parrot, Flammulated Flycatcher, Golden Vireo. Among the various Hummingbirds we should look for Mexican Hermit, Golden-crowned Emerald and Sparkling-tailed Woodstar. Couple hours later we stop a few kms after crossing El Tuito to check an area for parrots and parakeets. Military Macaw, Lilac-crowned Parrot and Orange-fronted Parakeet are possible. Later we reach Puerto Vallarta. Here we stop at Bahia de Banderas to check out waders and other shorebirds, including Herons, Egrets, Ibises, Plovers, sandpipers and more. Seabirds usually further out, but with some luck we can see Blue-footed Booby or Heerman's Gull. The bay is also a mating and birthplace of Humpback Whales. Finally we arrive to San Pancho in the evening where we will stay 2 nights.

Day4

After the previous day's long transfer with several stops we plan today discover the incredibly bird-reach area mainly on foot. There is a good chance to see more than 100 species just in walking distance from our accommodation, including many sought after, colourful endemic species such as Russet-crowned Motmot, Mexican Parrotlet, Citreoline Trogon, Golden Vireo and Black-throated Magpie-jay. Searching and finding any of these are really exciting birding moments. We have a good chance for San Blas Jays, Blue Buntings and Stripe-headed Sparrows as well.

At the nearby lagoon and beach we can try again to see Blue-footed Booby or Heerman's Gull. It is a good place to see various wintering waders and ducks, plus Northern Jacana or Least Grebe. Among the Egrets, Herons and Ibises we should find Bare-throated Tiger-heron as well. During the evening we should look for Black-crowned Night-herons, Bat Falcon and Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.

Day5

A morning birding close to our accommodation can result Bright-rumped Attila, Elegant

Trogon, Orange-billed Nightingale-thrush and many more. Tree-trunks are searched by Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Lineated Woodpecker and we will try to find Golden-cheeked Woodpecker as well.

Later we check the coastal scrub-thorn forests for Red-breasted Chat and the strikingly attractive Orange-breasted Bunting. It is a good place to have a second chance for San Blas Jay and the scarce Flammulated Flycatcher.

Finally we leave San Pancho area and start to make our way North towards San Blas, but again with as many good birding stops as possible. We might try to check first a little village, La Penita de Jaltemba for Grey-breasted Martins and then make a detour to Cerro de San Juan. There is a wide variety of colourful birds to look for here: Blue Mockingbird, Red-headed and Flame-coloured Tanagers, Audubon's/Dickey's Oriole, Crescent-chested and Red-faced Warblers, Golden Vireo and Green Jay. On the trees Grey-crowned and Arizona woodpeckers, White-striped and Ivory-billed Woodcreepers search for food. At the more open and scrubby areas we should look for Lesser Roadrunner, Elegant Quail, Rusty-crowned Ground-sparrow and Spotted Wren.

Late afternoon we continue on an old, winding road to a great lookout point at El Mirador del Aguila. This place gives us a second chance to view Military Macaws and some raptors, like Red-tailed & Zone-tailed Hawks.

Finally in the evening we arrive to San Blas where we will spend 2 nights.

Day6

San Blas and its vicinity is a well-known birding paradise and it will be hard to decide which areas we should concentrate during our limited time. During a pre-breakfast birding between our hotel and Rio San Cristobal area we will look for Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Russet-crowned Motmot, Mexican Parrotlet, Citreoline Trogon, Black-throated Magpie-jay. Beside Happy and Sinaloa Wrens we have a chance for Purple-backed Jay and Rufous-backed Thrush as well.

If we have missed anything here we have another chance at La Bajada area. It is also a good area for San Blas Jays, Blue Grosbeak, Painted Bunting, Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat and Rosy-crowned Ant-tanager as well. Yellow-winged Cacique, Grey-crowned Woodpecker, Brown-backed Solitaire and Golden Vireo is also a sought-after bird here. About 10 different Hummingbirds are possible with key species like Berylline Hummingbird, Mexican Hermit & Mexican Woodnymph.

During early afternoon we return to San Blas to have a lunch followed by a late afternoon-evening boat tour to a mangrove-fringed lagoon-estuary home to hundreds of egrets, ibises, herons, including Boat-billed Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron and a wide variety of wading birds. Raptors should be represented by Crane Hawk, Common Black-hawk, Hook-billed and Snail Kite, Laughing Falcon. Typical mangrove birds are Mangrove Cuckoo, Mangrove Vireo and Mangrove Warbler. We return back with a chance to hear/see some of the night birds like Lesser Nighthawks and Common Paraques, but with some luck we should have Mottled Owl and Northern Potoos as well.

Day7

After another great morning birding and breakfast we drive out from San Blas but soon stop around Singayta. This area has a long bird list, being one of the best sites around San Blas, but of course it depends on many factors which species we will find. Some of the possibilities are: Rusty-crowned Ground-sparrow, Black-vented Oriole, Fantailed Warbler, Russet-crowned Motmot, Citrioline Trogon, Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Russet-crowned Motmot, Pale-billed & Lineated Woodpecker, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Black-throated Magpie-Jay, San Blas Jay, Happy Wren, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Scrub Euphonia. Beside these local species during this time of year quite a lot of wintering migrants and vagrants also can be encountered here.

Later on finally we hastily leave San Blas area and continue our journey North towards the Tufted Jay Preserve in the Sierra Madre Occidental. It is about a 300kms-long drive, good part of it on highway, but the last bit on the only hard-surfaced road across the hills towards Durango. We plan to arrive at our accommodation before dark, so we can have a chance for some birding.

Day8

The several thousand hectares large Tufted Jay Preserve and its surrounding area provides excellent birding possibilities close to the edge of the San Diego Canyon. Barranca Rancho Liebre is a truly mesmerizing birding place, always a highlight on any tours.

A morning walk in the pine forest can produce various species from Mexican/Yellow-eyed Juncos, Chipping Sparrows, Spotted Towhees through Tufted Flycatcher, Mexican Chickadee till Red-headed Tanager or even a Grey-collared Becard. Among the various Warblers possible here we should mention Olive, Hermit, Colima, Red, Red-faced, Crescent-chested, Golden-browed and Rufous-capped Warblers. Tree-trunks are searched by White-striped & Ivory-billed Woodcreepers and Arizona Woodpeckers.

It is possible to find Rufous-capped and Green-striped Brush-finches, Spotted Wren,

Blue-hooded Euphonia, Russet Nightingale-thrush, Hutton's Vireo, Eastern Bluebird, Brown-backed Solitaire, Scott's Oriole and Black-headed Siskin. Some of the Hummingbirds to look for include Violet-crowned and Bumblebee Hummingbirds, plus Plain-capped Star-throat.

Steller's Jays can be common. But of course the main reason why it is a magical place for birding that it is the only area where we can frequently encounter the attractive and very localized Tufted Jays. What is more that there is also a chance to find other exciting species, such as Mountain Trogon or even sometimes Eared Quetzal.

An evening walk can yield Colima Pygmy Owl, Whiskered Screech-Owl or Stygian Owl.

Day9

As soon as possible in the morning we go up on the Panuco Road driving and walking. Dozens of various species are possible here, so we just mention a few to look for like Military Macaw, Yellow Grosbeak, Pyrrhuloxia, Colima Pygmy Owl, Nutting's Flycatcher, Blue Mockingbird, Green-tailed Towhee, Black-capped Vireo, Flame-coloured Tanager, Russet-crowned Motmot. It is also a very good place for several Hummingbird species like Broad-billed, Berylline & Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Golden.crowned Emerald & Sparkling-tailed Woodstar just to mention a few.

Finally we have to say goodbye to this great area and drive down the slopes of Sierra Madre Occidental and continue towards Central Mexico for another unforgettable experience, to spend a couple of days with the millions of Monarchs, one of nature's most spectacular phenomena. Night at Laguna de Chapala, close to Guadalajara.

Day10

After saying goodbye for those who can not continue with us and pick up those who just join for the second part of our tour, we travel further East, leaving Jalisco and entering Michoacan towards the Eastern part of it, beyond Morelia. If we have time, we leave the highway and visit Morelia which is one of the nicest, charming colonial towns of whole Mexico. That is why it is declared a national monument. East of the town we can cross into different National Park areas, protected more than 70 years. Late afternoon or evening we arrive at Angangueo, a little mountain town close to 2 Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries. We will be based here for 2 nights.

Day11

Today we will have a short drive and then a walk to the El Chincua Monarch Reserve. It is worth stopping at the very first Monarch butterfly to examine in detail the beauty of it. Even a single specimen is an amazing creature. But here you will have a chance to enjoy the incredible sight of gathering of millions of Monarchs. Some of the Oyamel Fir trees are so covered by them like specially ornamented Christmas trees! Imagine a forest of these "Christmas trees" full with lively, brilliant colours, more and more movement and flashes of wings as the air warms up and finally a swarm of butterflies leave the trees, dancing in the air and you will be surrounded by the sound, movement and flash of colours of hundreds of thousands of Monarchs!

Truly an unforgettable experience, hard to describe, better to feel it!

Day12

Today we visit the most famous Monarch Sanctuary, El Rosario. Traditionally this is the place where the largest colonies can be found, so it can be more popular with other visitors as well. During our walk here we gain about 300 meters elevation, so it is a climb, but we can take our time the find more attractive wildflowers, birds and other wildlife. Among the Geraniums and Salvias we will look out for Slate-throated Redstart, Brown-throated and Grey-barred Wren, Hermit Warbler, Green-striped Brushfinch and Russet Nightingale-Thrush.

When we arrive to one of the main colonies even after yesterday's experience we will be surprised by the fact that the pine trees are so covered in masses of butterflies that not just twigs, but even large branches are bending under the sheer weight of the Monarchs! You can actually hear a constant buzzing in the air, almost like wind through pine-leaves, but it is actually the wing-beats of millions of butterflies!

Usually the number of butterflies continuously build up for months. This is the reason why we plan our visit during February when the peak numbers occur.

If we try to look for birds again we will have a good chance to find Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, Mexican Chickadee, Gray Silky and many more, such as the melodious Brown-backed Solitaire.

Later on we travel further to the nearby Laguna de Avandaro, which sits in a mountain area with breath-taking scenery. The whole region is covered with trees. A pleasant place to stay for 2 night close to the picturesque, typical Mexican town of Valle de Bravo with colonial buildings and cobbled streets.

Day13

Before we start our last visit to a Monarch Reserve it is worth looking around the lake for different birds. The most common ones are Ring-billed Gulls, American Coots and Pied-billed Grebe.

As the air warms up we should see the first butterflies flying around, such as Orange-barred Sulphur , Two-tailed Swallowtail or Pale-banded Crescent.

Later on we visit the Piedra Herrada Butterfly Sanctuary, the final one during our tour.

This is a relatively newer one and less visited than then some of the well-known ones. This is why it is a better place to feel and be touched by the natural wonder of the wintering Monarchs despite numbers being smaller here than at the previous places. But it is a much wilder, more natural place than, for example, the famous El Rosario. We hope you will enjoy the walk in the canyon where again we hope to be surrounded by clouds of Monarchs for the last time of our journey. It should be easy to make some macrophotos when the butterflies come down to síp water or get some minerals.

Obviously here again we have a good chance to find many interesting birds such as Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Slate-throated Redstart, Long-billed Thrasher, White-striped Woodcreeper, Striped Sparrow and Olive-backed Towhee. Several hummingbird species are possible including from the miniature Bumblebee through the White-eared to the amazing Magnificent Hummingbird. Numerous Warblers should be around and we should admire Crescent-chested Warbler, Red Warbler, Hermit Warbler and Grace's Warbler.

Day14

After a morning birding we have to say good-bye to this lovely area and finally we travel to Toluca/Mexico City airport for your mid-day flight back home.

Day15

Guest from UK or Europe have overnight flight, arrival home this day

Mexico

In birding terms Mexico is a very rich country due to its geographical situation. There is a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems, which are home to a rich flora and fauna full of endemics. There are coastal dunes, mangroves, savannas, lowland and highland cloud and rain forests, deserts. Mexico is one the of main biological diversity hotspots with 1,040 different species of birds, of which many are endemic or regionally endemic shared with neighbouring Guatemala and Belize. 

The Yucatan Peninsula and the Atlantic slope of the mountains in Chiapas are among the most interesting regions in Mexico with premium birding sites and many different habitats from Caribbean beaches and mangroves through tropical rainforests to highland pine forests. The world famous Mayan archaeological sites are also very attractive destinations and can be very rewarding for birdwatchers as well. Perfect place for those who would like to enjoy Nature & Culture at the same time! No wonder we have spent more than 12 years living and guiding in this amazing area. 

Western Mexico, Puerto Vallarta & San Blas area is well known among birders because of the richness of birdlife with several amazing and localized endemic species ranging from Mexican Parrotlet through Golden-cheecked Woodpecker to San Blas Jay or Tufted Jay, just to name a few.

One of the World's best natural wonders, the migration and wintering of millions of Monarch Butterflies can be witnessed in Central Mexico. You can be part of this miracle and enjoy it with all of our senses: to see the plethora of colours, to hear wingbeats of clouds of butterflies and smell the huge pine trees covered by Monarchs. You have to witness and feel it to believe it and once you have done so, you will surely never forget it!

The State of Veracruz is another World Class birding destination. Without witnessing one of the planet's greatest natural phenomena it is hard to imagine the "Rio de Rapaces", the spectacular migration of millions of raptors at the Veracruz coastline. Although our tour is planned to coincide with the peak of autumn migration we will have time to visit pine-oak woodlands, tropical rainforests, coastal mangroves and humid forests, which give a chance to encounter the members of the bird diversity of Veracruz with over 500 species. Highlights include dozens of species of raptors, various warblers and local endemics. Abundance of migrating raptors can exceed 100thousand per day or even half million! Exciting birding, fascinating local history and culture, mouth-watering local cuisine and breathtaking scenery guarantees a really enjoyable and unforgettable "birding holiday cocktail" with us in Mexico! Please see Trip Reports and Tours to Mexico below the picture gallery.

 

 

 

Mayan Birding and Culture Adventure

Yucatan and Chiapas, MEXICO 15 days

Our tour takes you to most of the premium birding sites on the Yucatan Peninsula and North-East Chiapas. We pay visits to world famous Mayan archaeological sites surrounded by lush forests and full of many great species. There is a long list of Yucatan endemic species ranging from large colourful Ocellated Turkey, Yucatan Parrot, Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Woodpecker, Yucatan Bobwhite, Yucatan Wren till some smaller, harder to see or photograph ones such as Mexican Sheertail, Yucatan Vireo or Rose-hroated Tanager.

We also explore various other habitats: different forests, wetlands, mangroves, Caribbean beaches, coastal desert-like scrub and thorn forests, all with their own unique rich flora and fauna, including some endemics as well. 

It is possible to tailor the itinerary to your needs and make a smaller circle and lower the number of accommodations and sites visited on request. Alternatively it is possible to add other famous birding areas in Chiapas, including San Cristobal, Chiapa de Corzo and Sumidero Canyon or Lake Montebello area and Scarlet Macaws's breeding area.

 

Fact File

- 14 birding days in Mexico visiting famous Mayan sites and nature reserves

- start and finish in Cancun

- using several accommodations to maximize visited places and possible species

Highlights

- birding along the Caribbean shores, Sian Káan Reserve

- boat tour in the mangroves at Rio Lagartos

- birding in the jungle among Mayan ruins at Coba, Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Palenque

- boat trip to Yachilan on the Guatemalan border

- birding in the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon

- visit to Calakmul one of the most remote and wildest areas in Yucatan

- wide variety mammals, reptiles, butterflies and habitats

- plenty of interesting bird species including some great endemics

Accommodation

2 nights Coba,

1 night Rio Lagartos

1 night at Chichen Itza,

2 night at Uxmal,

3 nights at Palenque,

1 night at Calakmul

1 night at Felipe Puerto Carillo,

2 nights at Puerto Morelos or Playa del Carmen close to the Caribbean seashore

Departure Dates

any time between Nov-April each year

but please check availability well in advance

http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

Price


Ask for the actual price.

Our price includes:

- all travel within the country as noted in the itinerary;

- all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);

- 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);

- services of the leader(s);

- trip materials.

Not included:

- flight to and from Cancun;

- optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;

- airport and other departure taxes, tips;

- food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;

- excess baggage charges;

- telephone calls;

- alcoholic beverages;

- compulsory personal insurance.

If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Activity level

Generally easy to moderate walks

Some areas are humid; hot temperatures and rain is possible

Itinerary

Day1

Arrival to Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula and transfer to Coba. Birding en-route if time permits.

Day2

As soon as possible we enter the Mayan Archeological site and try to discover paths before the larger tourist groups arrive from Cancun and other resort towns. We walk through dense jungle on well maintained paths connecting Mayan ruins including the largest pyramid of Mexican Yucatan to look for Black-headed Trogon, Grey-collared Becard, Mangrove Vireo, Grey-throated Chat and Rose-throated Tanager. If we are lucky we can bump into an antswarm and approach its followers, including both Red-crowned and Red-throated Ant-tanagers.

After a really good, tasty Mayan buffet lunch at the shore of Lake Coba we check the lake for Least Grebe, Limpkin, Spotted Rail and Ruddy Crake.

Later on we discover another interesting area nearby Coba where we pass a couple of really small, traditional Mayan villages. This area is pretty good for buntings, seedeaters, flycatchers, orioles, woodpeckers, hummingbirds and parakeets

Day3

After a morning birding we travel towards Rio Lagartos, but we brake the way with different birding & cultural stops. The latter could be at the charming Mayan town of Valladolid where we also can visit a breathtaking open huge sinkhole, locally called cenote, with 100-year-old trees and hanging down lianas. Motmots and Cave Swallows are usually around. We can cool down in the crystal clear water and then have a lunch onsite. Later we continue our travel to Rio Lagartos. As we approach the Northern edge of the Yucatan peninsula the habitat will change. Birding alongside the coastal scrub and thorn forest can also be productive with Yucatan Bobwhite, Lesser Roadrunner, Mexican Sheartail, Yucatan Woodpecker and Yucatan Wren.

Day4

After a morning birding and breakfast we have a great boat tour of Rio Lagartos to a mangrove-fringed lagoon-estuary home to thousands of herons, egrets, ibises, Caribbean Flamingos, plus Boat-billed Heron, Great Black Hawk, Osprey and Bare-throathed Tiger Heron. You will also realize why this place is called Rio Lagartos! J In the late afternoon we travel to Chichen Itza, check in & then look around in the hotel garden for some new species.

Day5

We go birding in Chichen Itza among the most famous Mayan ruin complex, which offers a perfect mix of nature and culture. Again, we timing our visit in a way how we can avoid the crowds and get the best birds before it is to warm. There are a couple of hidden trails, which offer great birding at various dry thorn and humid forest habitats. Interesting species include Canivet's Emerald, Ridgway's Rough-winged Swallow, Yucatan Jay, White-bellied Wren and Orange Oriole. Quite regularly we find Ferruginous Pygmy Owl as well. Later on we travel towards Uxmal, where we will spend 2 nights.

Day6

Uxmal is a very well decorated nice Maya ruin site with adjacent thorn forest and overgrown fields, ideal combination for a birding and nature walk. It offers a nice variety of Yucatan species including Canivet's Emerald, Yucatan Flycatcher, Cave Swallow and White-browed Wren. It is easy to spend minimum half day with discovering the archeological site and its wildlife, plus after a lunch break and possible siesta at the hotel's swimming pool we can spend few hours at nearby aras as well.

Day7

After morning breakfast and short birding at our hotel we start a long journey south to Palenque with short birding stops at different parts of the Usumacinta Marshes. It is a huge area of wetlands and wooded savannas along the Usumacinta River where we can find Pinnated Bittern, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Black-collared Hawk, Double-striped Thick-knee and with extreme luck Yellow-headed Parrot and Jabiru.

Day8

We have a full day for birding around the Mayan Ruins of Palenque. There are remnant patches of rainforest around the attractive ruins home to many interesting species including Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, Mexican Antthrush, Scaled Antpitta, Yellow-winged Tanager, Black-throated Shrike-Tanager and Green-backed Sparrow. Hummingbirds will be represented by Western Long-tailed & Stripe-throated Hermit, White-bellied Emerald, Buff-bellied & Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. White-breasted Wood-wren is a nice endemic to find beside several species of Woddpeckers.

Day9

After breakfast we travel towards the border river between Guatemala and Mexico, birding on the way.We take a boat on the Usumacinta River to Yaxchilan, to go birding in the jungle among the ruins. This is one of the less visited, but most exciting and remote, so very birdy ruin complexes. Wide variety of birds possible here from Royal Flycatcher to Keel-billed Toucan, while we can have close encounters with Howler Monkeys or Spider Monkeys.

It is the most reliable area for King Vulture in Mexico. Parrot species can include Red-lored, Mealy and White-fronted, 3 species of Saltators and Montezuma Orpendula. Late afternoon we travel back to Palenque, birding on the way if time permits.

Day10

We have another morning around Palenque, so we can find some more species and then we travel to Calakmul Biosphere Reserve where huge tracts of good forest surround the Mayan ruins. The road leading to the ruins is a good place to see Ocellated Turkey and Great Curassow. Barred Forest-falcon and Bat Falcon is usually around, Green and Yucatan Jay is quite common. It is a Flycatcher paradise, but Yellow-breasted and Grey-throathed chats can steal the show!

Day11

We travel to East and then North alongside the beautiful Bacalar Bay, stopping and birding on the way and finally arrive to Felipe Carillo Puerto, a little, busy Mayan town at the Southern edge of the Sian Khaan Biosphere Reserve. If we are not too tired we might try Yucatan Poorwill and Yucatan Nightjar at dusk.

Day12

We will bird along the Felipe Carillo Road and in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. There are some hidden spots we will check out and there is no question about finding some good species such as Yucatan Parrot, Black Catbird, Rufous-necked Woodrail just to mention a few out of the hundreds of species possible here. This is also an area where we can meet with one of the large cats, Puma or even Jaguar!

In the evening we arrive to our hotel close to the shore of the Caribbean.

Day13

We offer birding at Puerto Morelos area which is surprisingly good for Yucatan endemics and a good place to catch up with some of the missed birds during the tour.

Other possibilities:

-have a day for relaxing at the Caribbean Sea

-or you can choose from two different optional programmes, not included in the price:

One is a full day birding at Cozumel Island looking for such endemics as Cozumel Emerald, Cozumel Wren, Cozumel Vireo, as well as endemic subspecies.

The other programme is to visit Xcaret Ecopark where you can find all the Yucatan wildflowers, butterflies, mammals at their natural habitat, plus can learn a lot about the local traditional Mayan culture and how it was transformed into the modern Mexican state.

Day14

Day15

Morning birding around Puerto Morelos. Finally we return to Cancun airport for your flight back home.

Overnight flight, arrival home.

Please check optional extra programme possibilities below!

Suggested extra days to include into the itinerary:

From Palenque we could make an extra detour into other parts of Chiapas with the following programme:

travel to Chiapa de Corso. On the way we stop at the Misol-Ha waterfall and around San Cristobal. The pine-oak forests here are home to such specialties as Amethyst-throated and Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Pine Flycatcher, Unicolored Jay, Rufous-browed Wren, Brown-backed Solitaire, Blue-and-white Mockingbird and the enigmatic Pink-headed Warbler.

We visit the spectacular Sumidero Canyon, where the paved road along the rim of the gorge provides good birding. Lesser Roadrunner, Slender Sheartail, Russet-crowned Motmot, Belted Flycatcher, Singing Quail, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Blue-black Grosbeak, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, Fan-tailed Warbler, White-throated Magpie-jay and Red-breasted Chat will be among the birds to look for.

Travelling back we can make another detour towards the Montebello Lakes, (Collared Trogon, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Band-backed Wren, Unicoloured Jay, Orange and Golden-crowned Warbler) Guacamayas area (Scarlet Macaw) and the land of the Lacandon Indians, Bonampak (White-whiskered Puffbird, Dusky Antbird, Mexican Antthrush, White-collared Manakin, Stub-tailed Spadebill) and finally back to Palenque.