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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


- 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


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


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



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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.



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.