Birding and cultural
tour of Chiapas, Mexico

La Venta, Palenque, Bonampak, Yaxchilán, Las Guacamayas, Lagos de Montebello, Amatenango, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, San Juan Chamula, Zinacantán.

11 days Itinerary:

Day 1

Tonight you will arrive in the airport at Villahermosa, where we will pick you up and drive you to the Holiday Inn — our hotel for the night — for dinner and a welcome reception. If you arrive at Villahermosa later than expected, we will provide you with a meal voucher for dinner. 

Day 2

Today we will explore the museum of La Venta, which is an outdoor pre-Columbian archeological site of the Olmec civilization. As you will learn at the park, the Olmec society lived in La Venta for nearly 600 years, from 1000 B.C. to 400 B.C. During the 1950’s, however, the site was moved from La Venta to Villahermosa to protect its many treasures, including three of the Olmec colossal heads. After exploring the park for its artifacts and plethora of birds, we will leave for the city of Palenque.


TARGET BIRDS:
Hooded Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Clay-colored Robin, Wood Thrush, Band-backed Wren, Boat-built Flightcatcher, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Squirrel Cuckoo, Summer Tanager, Yellow-throated Euphonia.

NIGHT 2 – Hotel Mayabell

Day 3

In the morning we will visit one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico: the Maya ruins of Palenque. With the help of an archeological expert, we will explore the  ruins of the ancient Maya civilization, as well as the many birds that live among them. In the afternoon, we will continue our birding adventure on the Motiepa trail.


TARGET BIRDS:
It would not be unusual to find Blue-crowned Motmot, the Black-headed and Gartered Trogons, the Chestnut-collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Rufous breasted Spinetail, Sport-breasted Wren, Royal Flightcatcher, the Scrub, Yellow-throated and Olive-backed Euphonians, Masked Tityra, Scaret-rumped and Crimson-collared Tanagers and both the Chestnut-headed and Montezuma Oropendola and of course, many of the outstanding raptors will be flying overhead.

NIGHT 3 – Hotel Mayabell

Day 4

Today we will return to the Palenque ruins to finish exploring the grounds before heading over to the Palenque Site Museum, which displays numerous Maya artifacts highlighting the daily life and religious aspects of the Maya culture.


TARGET BIRDS:
It would not be unusual to find Blue-crowned Motmot, the Black-headed and Gartered Trogons, the Chestnut-collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Rufous breasted Spinetail, Sport-breasted Wren, Royal Flightcatcher, the Scrub, Yellow-throated and Olive-backed Euphonians, Masked Tityra, Scaret-rumped and Crimson-collared Tanagers and both the Chestnut-headed and Montezuma Oropendola and of course, many of the outstanding raptors will be flying overhead.

NIGHT 5 – Hotel Mayabell

Day 5

This morning we will eat breakfast at the outdoor cafeteria restaurant YAX-LUM, before heading to the Bonampak ruins, another Maya archeological site. After viewing the colorful floor-to-ceiling murals located at this cite, we will travel to the town of Frontera Corozal for our next adventure. 


TARGET BIRDS:
Collared Forest-Falcon, Green Honeycreeper, Brown-hooded Parrot, White-crowned Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Mealy Parrot, White-necked Jacobin, Long-billed [Long-tailed] Hermit, Stripe-throated [Little] Hermit, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Purple-crowned Fairy, Green-breasted Mango, Collared Aracari.

NIGHT 4 – Nueva Alianza

Day 6

In the morning we will take a motorboat down the Usumacinta river into the archeological zone of Yaxchilán, so we can explore what used to be one of the most powerful Maya states. In the afternoon, we will travel to Las Guacamayas Reserve, which is the last area in Mexico where the Scarlet Macaw can be observed in the wild. Once we arrive at the reserve, we will walk through the small community of Reforma Agraria, always keeping a look out for the diverse birds living there. In the evening, we can attempt to spot the Black and White Owl and the Mottled Owl around the hotel.


TARGET BIRDS:
Cinnamon Becard, Green Honeycreeper, Blue-crowned Momot, White-whiskered Puffbird, Dot-winged Antwren, White-collared Manakin, Red-cappped Manakin, Smpky-brown Woodpecker, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Black-headed Trogon, Gartered Trogon, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Great Tinamou, Green-breasted Mango.

NIGHT 5 – Las Guacamayas.

Day 7

Today we will bird from a slow-moving motorboat down the Lacantún River, making our way into the Montes Azules Reserve on the Tzendales River. 


TARGET BIRDS:
Scarlet Macaw, King Vulture, Great Antshrike, White Hawk, Keel-billed Toucan, Green Honeycreeper, White-necked Puffbird, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Pygmy Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Red-capped Manakin, Barred Antshrike, Violet Sabrewing, White-necked Jacobin, Crested Guan, Sungrebe and Yellow-tailed Oriole.

NIGHT 6 – Las Guacamayas.

Day 8

Today we will depart from Las Guacamayas and drive to San Cristóbal de las Casas, known as the Magic City of the Highlands. During the trip we will stop in both the Lakes of Montebello to observe the different species of birds and Amatenango del Valle to watch a family creating some of their national award-winning pottery figures.


TARGET BIRDS:
Unicolor Jay, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Blue and White Mockingbird, Blue-throated Motmot, Slate-throated Redstart, Singing Quail, Grey-breasted Wood-Wren, Slate-colored Solitaire, Spot-crowned Woodpecker, Yellow-backed Oriole.

NIGHT 7 – Casa Morada.

Day 9

In the morning, we will eat breakfast at the Bubbly Waters before meeting with our cultural expert to visit the indigenous villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán. After lunch, we will visit the textile Museum.

NIGHT 8 – Casa Morada.

Day 10

In the morning, we will bird in an area that is experiencing a lot of activity, typically the Moxviquil Reserve, before accompanying you to the shops or museums of your choice in San Cristóbal de las Casas.


TARGET BIRDS:
White-eared Hummingbird, Magnificent Hummingbird, Green Violet ear, Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, Hooded Grosbeak, Rufous-collared Robin, Golden-cheeked Warbler, and migratory and resident mixed flocks.

NIGHT 9 – Casa Morada.

Day 11

This morning we will take you to the airport in Tuxtla Gutierrez as our adventure ends… ’til next time.