Let us take you on a world class birding and archeological adventure in the southern state of Chiapas, México. A hidden gem – one of the last wilderness areas of Mexico with unbelievable archeological Maya sites where you can explore for great birds as well as this lost culture of a highly advanced civilization.
We have a fully trained staff who not only can identify the birds you will see, in English, but are residents of Chiapas, well-versed in travel in their country. Accommodations are nice, clean, and have hot and cold running water with a private bath. We will be with you from the time you land in Villahermosa in Tabasco until you leave from Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas.
Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico, bordering the states of Tabasco to the north, Veracruz to the northwest and Oaxaca to the west. To the east, Chiapas borders Guatemala, and to the south the Pacific Ocean.
The state covers an area of about 28,297 square miles (about the same size as West Virginia), and has about 4.3 million inhabitants. There are about 899 species of birds in the United States, 1150 species in Mexico, and 694 species in Chiapas. The state is filled with wildly beautiful landscapes, rich indigenous culture, and impressive Maya archaeological sites.
We want to learn about the ancient Maya and their descendants, not just inside the archeological sites where we see how advanced this civilization was, but a place in Mexico where we can observe their beautiful birdlife. We visit in their homes, dine with them and even learn a few words in their language. Training birdwatching guides is also part of what we do – their English is improving and their knowledge at the very least includes the names of the birds in English. We believe small groups of no more than eight guests is important in absorbing a new culture – we try to enrich your experience with a reading list as well as archeological experts who will accompany us.
Birdwatching is a fascinating pastime and if we can show the local citizens not only the birds ́ beauty but also that they can make a living from this diversión, then we can help the local populations to support their families. Thus the economic benefits realized from this type of ecotourism will promote conservation of this region’s forests, our long-term goal.
Brock Huffman is the owner and founder of Chiapas Birding Adventures, LLC. A semi-retired criminal defense trial attorney from San Antonio, Texas, Brock began visiting Chiapas 10 years ago, to relearn Spanish. He fell in love with Chiapas and Johanna, now his wife, and moved to San Cristóbal de Las Casas in July of 2010. He received his undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and received his law degree from the University of Texas Law School. His interests in Latin America began early on when he served as a student missionary in Cuba in 1957, and Honduras in 1958. Since then he has visited and birded Mexico and all the Central American countries and many of those in South America.
With the help of Sophie Webb, he produced a field guide for the lowlands of Chiapas, “Aves de la Selva Lacandona de Chiapas,” and also produced a field guide for the highlands of San Cristóbal DLC, “Aves del Municipio de San Cristóbal” with the help of the American Birding Association -Birders Exchange Program- and Pronatura Sur. Brock produced 3 courses to train local bird watching guides. The courses began in 2009, in Las Guacamayas Reserve, then in Frontera Corozal, then in Palenque. Of the 15 students, at least 9 are still active in guiding English speaking birdwatchers – they may not speak much English, but they know the English names of the birds (as well as Spanish). He believes that by involving the local inhabitants in “birdwatching”, their interest in admiring the birds and protecting the birds will not only increase the financial benefits for the local guides and their families, as well as the cabañas, restaurants and souvenir providers, but will also serve as an incentive to protect the forests, the very habitat of the birds.
Meet Our Team
A retired criminal defense trial attorney from San Antonio, Texas, with the assistance of the American Birding Association-Birder’s Exchange of the United States, and Pronatura Sur, A.C., in Chiapas, Mexico, has promoted the training of bird guides in Chiapas; specifically the areas of Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, Las Guacamayas, and San Cristóbal.
José Raúl Vázquez
Studied Biology at the University of Science and Arts of Chiapas and earned his Masters degree in Science at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur
(ECOSUR), Chiapas in 2011. He is fascinated by birds, both terrestrial and aquatical. However he is especially fond of the birds of prey (eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls). Raúl is a very good birder and can identify almost all birds of Chiapas both residents and migratory by sight as well as by their calls and songs. He also knows the Latin names of our birds. Moreover, he teaches residents working as bird monitors in Natural Protected Areas how to identify resident and migratory birds. Raúl is currently living in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.
Daniel Olivier Soto Sotres
Grew up in Mexico City but moved to San Cristóbal de Las Casas in 2006. He is a graduate of the Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH), where he specialized in nature tourism and computer technology. He also teaches Spanish to foreign students. Daniel has become an avid and passionate birdwatcher; he loves nature so he enjoys traveling around Chiapas and knows the state very well. He also was part of the original team teaching bird watching guides in la Selva Lacandona. Recently he designed workshops for tourist guides at the Chiapas coast and participated as an excellent instructor. He believes that sharing knowledge with the local inhabitants could help to conserve birds and protect the environment, and increase economic benefits to their rural areas.
Is an archaeologist with more than 30 years’ experience in Maya studies. He started as an assistant to Merle Greene Robertson recording art at Palenque, and went on to receive his MA at The University of Texas, Austin, in 1998. He has excavated at Copan (Honduras), Caracol (Belize), and most recently was Principal Investigator for the Grupo de las Cruces project at Palenque (Mexico). During the Palenque excavations, the team found spectacular painted stucco and carved stone panels, the Temple XIX Carved Stone Throne, and Temple XX’s Tomb of the Murals.
Alfonso is also a federally licensed expert tour guide, with over 30 years’ experience leading groups to Maya sites as well as on other historical and ecological expeditions in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
Salvador Flores Lastra
Is a certified general guide in English and specialized in the Maya area. His knowledge focuses on architecture, history, painting, astronomy, flora and fauna of the Mayan world in general.
Has collaborated for more than seven years with NGOs and civil associations in Asia, Europe and Latin America on issues of public health, human rights and migration, environmental conservation, sustainable rural development, food sovereignty and fair trade.