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Mexico's Land of the Mayas

Birdquest's Yucatan Peninsula birding tour explores a classic area of Mexico where Yucatan endemics mix with North American migrants, resulting in some superb birdwatching. Our Yucatan Peninsula tour includes a brilliant selection of special birds and, as a welcome bonus, some great Mayan archaeological sites.

Wednesday 21st February — Sunday 4th March 2018
(12 days)

Leader: Mark Van Beirs

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy walking and comfortable accommodations

The magnificent country of Mexico has an amazing avifauna of over 1050 species, and, together with the more difficult-of-access northern Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador and Nicaragua, holds no fewer than 215 regional endemics. A number of these are restricted to the Yucatan Peninsula, most of which lies in Mexico.

During this very easy and highly enjoyable tour we will visit the xerophytic habitats of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The Yucatan lay at the very centre of the Mayan empire, an empire that extended across a vast area of Central America and which was one of the world’s great civilizations. Much about the Mayas is still a mystery and it remains a ‘lost’ civilization with a very special fascination. The amazing ceremonial temples of this extraordinary empire stand amidst the vast deciduous forests of this limestone peninsula. Alongside these cultural wonders, the Yucatan is known as a holiday destination with well known resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel attracting visitors from all over the world.

For birders, the attraction of the Yucatan Peninsula is its rich avifauna and in particular its many endemic species, ranging from the spectacular Ocellated Turkey and the gaudy Yucatan Jay to the pretty little Mexican Sheartail and the gorgeous Orange Oriole. We will visit the eastern side of the huge and rather dry Yucatan Peninsula and also explore the offshore island of Cozumel. By visiting this part of Mexico we can not only look for every one of the Yucatan endemic specialities but also enjoy one of the finest waterbird sanctuaries in Middle America (at Río Lagartos) and experience for ourselves the extraordinary, world-famous Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá and Calakmul.

First we will travel to the pleasant island of Cozumel, situated just off the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and home to such endemic specialities as Yucatan Parrot, Yucatan Nightjar, Cozumel Emerald, Cozumel Wren and Cozumel Vireo.

Next we will explore the estuaries, lagoons and saltpans of the north coast of the Yucatan at Río Lagartos, enjoying one of the richest sites for waterbirds in all Mexico where highlights will include Bare-throated Tiger Heron, the strange Boat-billed Heron and thousands of American Flamingos, never mind endemics such as Yucatan Bobwhite, Mexican Sheartail, Yucatan Woodpecker and Yucatan Wren.

As we head south across the peninsula we will stop off at Chichén Itzá, the most spectacular of all the Mayan archaeological sites, where we can alternatively marvel at the Pyramid of Kukulcán or at Turquoise-browed Motmots and the endemic White-browed Wren!

Next we will explore the edge of the huge Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve in Quintana Roo where we will be hoping to find Yucatan Jay, Orange Oriole and Gray-throated Chat amongst other specialities.

Our final birding will take us to the remote and remarkable Mayan site of Calakmul which is surrounded by a tract of pristine jungle where wacky Ocellated Turkeys wander about unconcernedly. The occurrence of Yucatan Howler and Central American Spider Monkeys testifies to the quality of this area and we should also encounter Great Curassow and Crested Guan.

Birdquest has operated tours to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula since 1987.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are mostly of good standard, but sometimes of medium standard. Road transport is by minibus and roads are reasonably good.

Walking: The walking effort is easy throughout.

Climate: Generally warm or hot, dry and sunny. Whilst overcast weather is quite regular, rain is infrequent at this season. It will be fairly humid at times.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.

These are provisional prices

Tour Price: £2810, €3510, $3930 Cancun/Cancun.

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £434, €543, $608.

Deposit: £350, €450, $500.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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