Dates and Cost

March 10-23, 2019
$4500 per person ($700 single supplement)


About This Trip

Chiapas has enormous variety, with fascinating geology, natural wonders, ancient civilizations and thriving modern indigenous culture. The land is defined by five distinct regions, which are best described as long narrow bands of different altitudes that run somewhat parallel to the coast. On this trip, we visit three of these areas. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas rises above the coastal planes, and on it’s the northern eastern slope lies the Rio Grijalva Valley, also called the Central Depression, home to the state capital and the famous natural wonder, Sumidero Canyon. The high, cool, central plateau (known as Los Altos), juts up northward and is home to pine-oak habitat and the cultural jewel of San Cristobal de la Casas. The eastern highlands and the lush Lacandon jungle, home to the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve and unbelievable diversity, slope down to the Usumacinta River Valley and the Yaxchilan and Palenque region. Forty percent of Mexico’s animal species and over 10,000 plant species can be found in this rich state. Chiapas is also home to a large number of indigenous people, and the entire state is permeated with a strong pre-Hispanic heritage, which is reflected in the regional cuisine and rich crafts.

This is a one way trip that starts in Tuxtla Gutierrez and ends in Villahermosa. We start in the modern city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, with two days dedicated to visiting the rim and surrounding dry tropical forest of the immense Sumidero Canyon, one of the most impressive geologic features in North America, with sheer 3000 foot limestone cliffs. Here we look for Red-breasted chat, Fan-tailed Warbler, Belted and Flamulated Flycatcher, Blue and White Mockingbird, Highland Guan, Pheasant Cuckoo, Lesser Road Runner, a number of Hummingbirds and very extremely local endemic, Nava’s Wren.

In the area around Arriaga and Puerto Arrista, at the eastern edge of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, we’ll spend some time in the arid oak forests in the foothills, where our big target is Rosita’s (Rose-bellied) Bunting. We will also have time to experience the coast where we should find the formidable Giant Wren, White-bellied Chachalaca, Pacific Parakeet, Citreoline Trogon, Russet-crowned Motmot and Yellow-winged Cacique. The area is also the wintering ground for thousands of shore and water birds, as well as mobs of migrant Warblers in the mangroves.

Heading into the cool pines, towards the culturally-rich town of San Cristobal de Las Casas, we look for Singing Quail, Black-capped Swallow, Pink-headed Warbler, Yellow-backed Oriole, Rufous-collared Robin, Mountain Trogon and Garnet-throated Hummingbird, White-napped Brush-finch and Black-headed Siskin.

Lagos de Montebello is a famous national park dotted with a number of beautiful lakes of various colors with some wonderful walking trails that can produce birds like Resplendent Quetzal, Ruddy-Foliage-gleaner, Black-throated and Uni-colored Jay, Blue-throated Motmot, Violet Sabrewing, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, Prevost’s Ground-sparrow and Hooded Grosbeak.

At Las Guacamayas, we will have our first exposure to a host of deep tropical species, including Scarlet Macaws! In the lowlands of the Lancandon jungle and the Usumacinta River, which border Guatemala, the extreme remoteness of this area explains why the last society of people to be contacted and recorded in North America lives here. Our last hotel is just outside the entrance to the Mayan ruins of Palenque, the birding outside and inside the ruins is very good, and we will spend a good deal of time doing both! We’ll take a drive to the east one afternoon to visit the Usumacinta marshes, where we should find loads of wintering water birds and big diversity of raptor species.


The variety in this itinerary is also reflected in the lodging. From a nice, modern hotel in Tuxtla Gutierrez to beautiful colonial hotels in San Cristobal and Lagos de Montebello, we then head to the eco-hotels of Las Guacamayas, Yaxchilan and Palenque. The food throughout the trip is great, varying from traditional Mexican cuisine to regional Chiapas specialties.

 This is a one way trip…it starts in Tuxtla Gutierrez and ends in Villahermosa.

To book your trip or for more information, please contact us by email or call 888-383-0062.