Southern Mexico

  1. 2019
    Friday, March 1, 2019 to Friday, March 15, 2019
    Tour Duration: 
    15 days
    Tour Price:
     $4,595 CAD, $3,450 USD
    Single Supplement:
     $595 CAD, $450 USD
    Tour Starts/Ends: 
    Veracruz / Villahermosa
    Number of Persons Limit: 
    12
Reviews
Highlights

• Superb birding in a wide variety of habitats, including the spectacular Sumidero Canyon and the pre-Columbian pyramids at Palenque.

• A wealth of birds, over 40 endemic or near-endemic species, including many localized wrens, hummingbirds, and the splendid Rosita’s Bunting, Orange-breasted Bunting and Red-breasted Chat.

• Our leader, Hector Gomez de Silva, is among the foremost birders in Mexico!

Overview

On our birding tour to Oaxaca and southern Mexico, we can expect to see up to 45 endemics, plus 43 near-endemics to Mexico, large numbers of other tropical species, and migrants from the United States and Canada. We visit several biotic provinces, including highlands in Oaxaca, Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Pacific Slope around Huatulco, and Gulf Slope rain forests in Chiapas.

 Habitats are diverse - cloud forest, pine woodland, tropical deciduous and rain forests - and more than 350 species are likely to be tallied. We search for Dwarf Jay and Dwarf Vireo, and for two restricted-range species: Nava’s Wren and Long-tailed Sabrewing. We visit spectacular steep-walled Sumidero Canyon and the charming city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, again targeting very special birds, such as Belted Flycatcher and Pink-headed Warbler. Other jewels include endemic Rosita's Bunting, Orange-breasted Bunting and Red-breasted Chat. Our tour culminates at the outstanding Mayan archaeological site of Palenque, where we expect a dazzling array of species in luxuriant rain forest and marvelous Usumacinta marshes.

 

Itinerary View Short Itinerary

Day 1- Arrival and Orientation

Our Southern Mexico birding tour begins with arrival in Veracruz, where our tour leader(s) will meet you in the hotel lobby after dinner. Night in Veracruz.

Day 2 - Veracruz wetlands/grasslands to Tuxtepec

After breakfast we leave the hotel, driving through extensive grasslands and wetlands in central Veracruz while generally making our way to Tuxtepec in northwestern Oaxaca. On our way we shall see many tropical land and waterbirds such as Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Double-striped Thick-knee, Rufous-breasted Spinetail and Fork-tailed Flycatcher, especially in and near Alvarado.

After lunch in Tuxtepec, we will bird an area a short distance away that has a very high bird diversity, but our main target will be the very hard to find Sumichrast’s Wren. Other birds we will probably encounter include Red-legged Honeycreeper and Montezuma’s Oropendola, with their interesting colonial nest trees.Night in Tuxtepec.

Day 3 - Drive to Oaxaca

We have a pre-dawn departure this morning. Much of today is devoted to driving to the city of Oaxaca. We bird along the way, seeing quite a variety of species in the numerous habitats we traverse. On cloud forest slopes we may see Unicolored Jays, Bumblebee Hummingbird, Slate-colored Solitaires and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, and, as we near Oaxaca, in the humid pine-oak forest at La Cumbre, we can expect to see birds such as Red Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Painted Redstart, Slate-throated Redstart, Tufted Flycatcher, Gray Silky, Gray-barred Wren, Yellow-eyed Junco and others while we search for the rare Dwarf Jay, which is found nowhere else in Mexico. Night in Oaxaca.

Days 4 and 5 - Oaxaca

The pine woodland, subtropical scrub and tropical dry forests within 45 minutes drive of Oaxaca possess nearly one third of Mexico’s endemic bird species. We allow ample time to search for most of these in the foothills and mountains east of the city and at nearby sites in the Interior Valley of Oaxaca such as at Teotitlán del Valle and Yagul. We also spend part of an afternoon enjoying the weaving and dyeing demonstration by Zapotec weavers in Teotitlán del Valle.
In the foothills, expected birds include Dusky and Berylline Hummingbirds, while we specifically search for Oaxaca Sparrow and three endemic species of vireos: Dwarf, Golden and Slaty Vireos. With luck, we may also find Ocellated Thrasher and Pileated Flycatcher. Nights in Oaxaca.

Day 6 - Huatulco

Today we drive south over the Sierra Madre del Sur and down to the coastal city of Huatulco. Along the way we make several stops to break up the journey and look for additional Mexican endemics such as Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, White-throated Jay, Blue-capped Hummingbird and Red-headed Tanager. Night in Huatulco.

Day 7 and 8 - Arriaga

We leave Huatulco early, driving the long distance toward Arriaga in the state of Chiapas. We will have a picnic breakfast and lunch at a restaurant in Juchitan, and we make several birding spots on the way. Species we are likely to encounter include Citreoline Trogon, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Russet-crowned Motmot, Blue-footed Booby, Orange-breasted Bunting, Cinnamon-tailed Sparrow, and many shorebirds including Collared Plover. In the Arriaga area, we look for endemic and near-endemic species such as Giant Wren and Rose-bellied (Rosita’s) Bunting. Nights near Arriaga.

Days 9 and 10 - Tuxtla Gutiérrez

After breakfast we spend the day travelling to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, stopping along the way at several birding spots, inluding a sinkhole where dozens of Green Parakeets roost. Our stay at Tuxtla Gutiérrez will include a visit to the spectacular Sumidero Canyon, where we will seek such sought-after species as Belted and Flammulated Flycatchers, Red-breasted Chat, Bar-winged Oriole, and with luck the rare Slender Sheartail. Nights in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

Day 11 - Nava’s Wren and San Cristóbal de las Casas

Before heading to San Cristóbal de las Casas, we visit a special site where Nava’s Wren occurs. Our leader Hector Gomez de Silva was involved in rediscovering this bird and having it classified as a separate species. Few people other than participants of Eagle-Eye Tours have ever seen this species so close to a major city (other sites for this species require a mini-expedition to reach). After lunch we climb into the highlands of Chiapas, where, near the folkloric San Cristóbal de las Casas, we see several new species including Rufous-collared Thrush (Robin) and Rufous-collared Sparrow. Birding in pine forests, we may see some of the following species: Amethyst-throated and White-eared Hummingbirds, Black-capped Swallow, White-naped Brush-finch, the blue-chested, southern form of the Steller’s Jay, Rufous-browed Wren, and, if we are very fortunate indeed, Pink-headed Warbler, Black-throated Jay and/or Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. Night in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Days 12 and 13 - Palenque

After looking again for Pink-headed Warbler near San Cristóbal, we head toward Palenque, an outstanding archaeological site surrounded by luxuriant rain forest in land that belonged to the Mayas. Hundreds of bird species can be found in this area, among which we can expect to see Long-billed Hermit, Masked Tityra, Red-capped Manakin, Montezuma’s Oropendola and several species of trogons, parrots, tropical tanagers, wrens, flycatchers and more. Nights in Palenque.

Day 14 – Usumacinta marshes

Leaving Palenque we drive through grasslands and marshes near Emiliano Zapata and Villahermosa. We will be looking for a number of interesting birds including Double-striped Thick-knee, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove and Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture. Night in Villahermosa.

Day 15 - Departure From Villahermosa

Our Southern Mexico birding tour concludes today. Breakfast is available at our hotel in Villahermosa, but you are free to leave anytime today.

Map
Featured Wildlife
Reviews

"Met and exceeded my expectations, since I was only looking for ~30 new birds (mainly endemics) and got almost all." - 2016 participant

"Excellent variety of birds. Hector is fabulous. The five clients really bonded." - 2016 participant

"Overall, I enjoyed the experience. Hector is an exceptional guide and the other birders genial. Mexico is a facinating country. 5 stars." - 2016 participant