Dates and Costs

February 24-March 10, 2018
$4500 per person ($750 single supplement)


About This Trip

As you look at great birding location around the world the western coast of Mexico is a place of great temptation to birders.  Nearly 50 Mexican endemic bird species can be found in a stretch of coast and nearby mountains of less than 500 miles, indeed many of which are extremely range restricted to small areas! Our tour of west Mexico is the most complete exploration available.  We have taken two of our most popular tours a combined them into one 15 day Mexican bird odyssey that should produce around 400 species.

We begin our trip in Mazatlan conveniently served by several U.S. based airlines. We will spend time in the tropical deciduous forest, searching for birds like Happy and Sinaloa Wrens, Mexican Parrotlets, Citroline Trogon, Purplish-backed Jay Black-throated Magpie-Jay, Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Elegant Quail, Crane Hawk, Yellow-winged Cacique, and Yellow Grosbeak.

We then head into the mountains on the famed Durango Highway, one of only two paved routes over the vast and wild Sierra Madre mountain range. We will focus primarily on exploring the higher elevations in search of the incredibly showy and very regional endemic; the Tufted Jay. These highlands also offer an amazing number of other interesting birds, including Eared Quetzal, Green-striped Brush-finch, Red-headed Tanager, Golden-browed and Red Warbler’s to mention a few. Our final morning on the Durango highway will be spent at lower elevations, where we might find Red-breasted Chat, Blue Bunting, Black-capped Vireo, Golden-crowned Emerald, Rusty-crowned Ground-sparrow, and Russet-crowned Motmot. This area is also a very good place to see Military Macaws very closely, which nest in the area and are often seen flying from their night roost to their feeding grounds!

From the mountains, we’ll head south to the relaxed coastal town of San Blas, long recognized for its plethora of bird diversity. San Blas is a comfortable place to view cool tropical birds at their northern limit, as well as a large number of neo-tropical migrants at their wintering grounds. Combine all this with one of the most birder-friendly hotels in Mexico that serves up amazing gourmet meals, and it becomes a perfect destination for a multiple day stay!

Some of our goals will be to find the Collared Forest-falcon, Lilac-crowned Parrot, Colima Pygmy Owl, Fan-tailed Warbler, Blue Mockingbird, Golden Vireo, Black-vented Oriole, and Godman’s (Scrub) Euphonia. One day, we will visit a higher elevation area that gets into excellent humid pine and oak forest. We’ll be looking for high elevation specialties like Gray-collared Becard, Crescent-chested Warbler, White-striped Woodcreeper, Black-headed Siskin, Gray-crowned Woodpecker and Spotted Wren. This area is also excellent for hummingbirds, including the endemic Bumblebee Hummingbird and the Mexican Woodnymph.

From San Blas, we will drive through the famous beach city of Puerta Vallarta and on to our home at Rancho Primavera for three nights.  The Rancho is a fantastic location for birding right on the grounds and we will take full advantage of this during our stay!  We should find San Blas Jays, Rosy-thrush Tanager, Vermiculated Screech Owl, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Military Macaw and many more.

Then on to the sleepy tourist/fishing village of Barra de Navidad, where we will once again spend time in fantastic dry forest habitat looking for Lesser Ground Cuckoo, Golden-crowned Emerald, Orange-breasted Bunting and Citreoline Trogon.  A quick drive inland takes us to the town of Autlan de Navarro and  our first chances for Slaty and Dwarf Vireo and the beautiful Black-chested Sparrow.  From here, we head over into the valley of Sayula and the central volcanic belt of Mexico.  This entire range of rugged mountains has allowed for a fantastic variety of avi-fauna to evolve, in a myriad of micro habitats at varying elevations. The western limits of the volcanic belt offer another component of bird life, that being the southern limit of Pacific Mexico and the Sierra Madre Occidental. The impact of the melding of west Mexico with the volcanic belt is impressive, and makes this area rich with a large number of interesting Mexican endemic birds.  Views of the twin volcanoes known as Volcan de Colima (Fuego or fire, often smoking!) and snow-mantled Nevado de Colima (Nieve or snow), reach elevations of 12,500 and 14,235 feet respectively, provide a picturesque backdrop for nearly the entire trip.  Some species include Long-tailed Wood-Partridge, Banded Quail, Balsas Screech-Owl, Bumblebee Hummingbird, Trans-Volcanic Jay, Aztec Thrush, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird and Eared Poorwill.

This tour is an excellent opportunity to experience the diversity and richness of Mexico, both for the serious lister and for anyone new to tropical birding. Birders new to the tropics can expect to see an exciting, but manageable, number of new species.  A truly fantastic and through exploration of western Mexico.


During the trip, weʼll stay in a few different kinds of hotels – from a unique older tourist hotel in Mazatlan, to simple mountain accommodations in Copala, very nice family run hotels in San Blas, Rancho Primavera and Sayula, a comfortable business hotel in Autlan, and a bigger, nice chain hotel in the capital city of Colima. These locations allow easy access to a complete range of habitats typical of western Mexico, from the arid coastal plain to cool fir forests high in the Sierra Madre.

This one-way trip starts in Mazatlan and ends in Guadalajara.

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