The beauty of the landscapes of the southernmost reaches of Mexico cannot be overstated. Aquamarine rivers cut through the deep-green high canopy rainforests of Lacandonia, where the white-robed locals are as exotic as the Toucans, Oropendulas and Scarlet Macaws, the latter abundant in the giant Reserva de Montes Azul. Butterflies are everywhere, among 250 or more species are beauties such as Splendid Mapwing, half a dozen Kite-Swallowtails, Emerald-patched Cattleheart, Cloud-forest Monarch, various Clearwings, and the elegantly sculpted Black-veined Leafwing.
Guacamayas is quite simply one of the best wildlife lodges in the World. Superbly comfortable, you can just sit on your balcony and watch Great Currasows and Yucatan Howler Monkeys in trees beside the great Rio Lacantun. Giant Potoos roost in the grounds, hummingbirds come to feeders around the restaurant, and taking a dip in the river as the sun drops behind the far bank, and squadrons of noisy parrots fly over to roost, is just magical. In the morning these same riverbanks become a magnet for butterflies, with hundreds of Sulphurs and Kite-Swallowtails forming tight congregations that allow one within a few centimetres. The colourfully attired Indian populace of cultured San Cristóbal mingle with tourists amid shops selling rustic crafts and restaurants serving sophisticated cuisines from around the world! Out of town are pine forests filled with various Jays, Hummingbirds, Mountain Trogons and the lovely Pink-headed Warbler. The trees are festooned with all manner of Bromeliads and the variety of orchids, both in the trees and on the ground, is exceptional. The Lakes of Montebello are famed for their colourful waters, the sixty lakes varying from turquoise to emerald green. Myriad butterflies gather on the sandy banks – we’ll see the rare Yellow Kite-Swallowtail, Daggerwings, Turquoise-spotted Eighty-eights and the stunning red, blue, black and white Anna’s Eight-eight. Overhead Swallow-tailed Kites rake through skies that at this season are more or less continuously blue. Shimmering Resplendent Quetzels and Blue and White Mockingbirds are just two of the many rare and colourful birds here. Elegant White-throated Magpie-Jays and Spider Monkeys frequent yellow-blossomed Tabebuias in the incredibly deep Sumidero Canyon, where a boat trip takes us under cliffs a kilometre high! Above on the sunny slopes are amazing butterflies such as the Bluewings, Crackers, Malachites and the Rusty-tipped Page. Vibrant red Salvias are visited by many hummingbirds including Long-billed Starthroats and iridescent Green-throated Mountain-gems. At Palenque we’ll take time out to learn about this most beautiful of all Mayan sites, though we’ll spend much time enjoying the butterflies and birds and mammals of one of the richest birding sites in Central America – manakins, stubtails, trogons and motmots and so much more.
Dates and Prices
14th February - 29th February 2024 (16 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Birds, Butterflies and Mammals. Mayan and Aztec ancient sites and San Cristobal. Mexican Cuisine.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 15. Only the first two leaders will accompany a group of 9 or less.
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Mexico. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
Bird, butterfly and mammal checklists are available.
After a night at the Gran Prix Hotel close by Mexico City’s airport, we move to lovely San Cristóbal in the highlands of Chiapas for a two-night stay at the lovely Diego de Mazariegos Hotel. Next are two nights in the Parador Museo Santa Maria, a converted Hacienda whose gorgeous rooms overlook bird-filled gardens. An elegant restaurant, sublime views and the whole is an art museum too – you’ll love this place. After a night in the comfortable cabana-style rooms by the cascading green waters at Las Nubes, we’ll arrive at one of the finest wildlife lodges we’ve ever come across, the Centro Ecoturistico las Guacamayas. Like Las Nubes this is a locally owned and run lodge funded by the Mexican government. The semi-detached cabana rooms have large comfortable beds and they are fully screened and very cool. You can watch toucans, howler monkeys and macaws from the armchairs and hammocks on your verandah. A stunning place. The Hotel Misión in Palenque feels like it is in the middle of the rainforest, for the grounds are extensive and largely natural and, of course, are full of monkeys and birds. After four nights enjoying the hospitality and excellent cuisine of the Misión we’ll have the final night of the tour in the Villas Archaeologicas, close by ancient Teotihuacan and handy for the airport. This lovely little hotel is set in countryside and has bird-filled gardens. All rooms on this tour have en-suite facilities.
Relaxed and easy. Up to three or four miles a day and always at a slow pace, perfectly suited to photographers.
UK return flights are direct from Heathrow to Mexico City. An Internal flight then takes us on to Tuxtla-Gutierrez returning from Villahermosa to Mexico City at the end of the tour. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement
Pleasantly warm for the most part though it can become quite hot in the middle of the day so relaxing siestas are certainly in order in the Lacandon Rainforests! Occasional showers can be expected.
Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.