Dates and Cost

February 2-12, 2018
$4050 per person ($800 single supplement)

Images

About This Trip

The aquamarine waters and dreamy soft white sand beaches that surround the Yucatan Peninsula have made it a famous vacation destination. This sublime beauty makes for a birding destination that is hard to resist! For some, this is about as far afield as they venture. Unfortunately for them, they’ll be missing out on the fascinating history, rich culture and great natural diversity that can be found by roving a bit farther afield. Our goal on this itinerary is to travel to a broad selection of the best birding habitats, including mangrove estuaries, beautiful beaches, dry tropical forest and dense lowland jungle. We also visit some of the magnificent archeological ruins, enjoy unique regional cuisine and explore the world of the Mayan culture, which is still alive and well throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.

The three Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan make up the region that is most often referred to as ‘the Yucatan’. Geologically speaking, the Yucatan is an expansive limestone peninsula that extends northward into the Gulf of Mexico and eastward into the Caribbean Sea. To the south lie Guatemala and Belize. It is generally quite flat with elevations not much over sea level except for the hilly Puuc region in the western portion of the peninsula.

The Yucatan is home to nearly a dozen regional endemics (including two that are found only on Cozumel Island) and a large number of other interesting tropical species and water birds generally found much further south. Some of the must-see birds on the tour are Cozumel Emerald, Cozumel Vireo,  Rufous-necked Woodrail, American Pygmy Kingfisher, American Flamingo, Yucatan Flycatcher, Yucatan Vireo, Yucatan Woodpecker, White-bellied Wren, Orange Oriole, Ruddy Crake, Rose-throated Tanager, Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Wren, Yucatan Bobwhite, Mexican Sheartail, Gray-throated Chat,Agami Heron, Oscellated Turkey and Black Catbird. On an average trip, we can see somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 species.

Aside from the varied habitats and rich birding, the Yucatan is at the heart of ancient Mayan culture and history. Aside from the more famous sites, such as Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Tulum, there are hundreds of smaller, less visited sites throughout the peninsula. There is evidence of the Mayan culture everywhere one travels. Also, very evident, particularly in the state of Yucatan, are the old haciendas that dot the countryside. Almost every town in the Yucatan was developed around the main hacienda and henequen was the lifeblood of these grand estates.

The trip starts in the state of Quintana Roo in the sleepy seaside town of Puerto Morelos, the least touristy of all the places on the Riviera Maya but close to the airport. We head to the very birdy areay around Coba and pass through Tulum on our way to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, where we will explore the edge of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and get a wonderful taste of life in a town that is a true melding of Mayan and Mexican cultures. Leaving Felipe Carrillo Puerto, we drive south to the beautiful Laguna Bacalar and then inland through agricultural areas mixed with jungle to the remote town of Xpujil. From here, we explore the expansive Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and the ruins of the same name, where the birds and habitat are amazing and where the elusive jaguar roams. From here, we take some time to bird the Laguna Santa Lucia and Gulf of Mexico before heading for the Puuc Hills where we get a chance to explore the magnificent ruins of Uxmal and the San Simon road for both birds and Mayan history. In Celestun, we bird in the Biosphere Reserve and pick up a few last species before spending our last night in the elegant city of Merida.

Accommodations

We stay at a range of hotel types on this trip. From a comfortable but basic seaside hotel in Puerto Morelos,  a small colonial hotel in Coba, a basic hotel in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, the beautiful Chicanna Ecolodge in the jungle close to Calakmul and Hotel Xixim in Celestun. We get a flavor of hacienda life at the lovely Hacienda Uxmal and finish up at comfortable Hotel Mision de Fray Diego in beautiful city of Merida. The regional cuisine of the Yucatan peninsula is prominently featured during the trip, as well as excellent seafood.

This is a one way trip…it starts in Cancun and ends in Merida.

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