Mark Pretti Nature Tours, L.L.C.

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Chiapas, Mexico
Tropical deciduous forest, colonial San Cristobal and the central highlands, lowland rainforest, and Mayan ruins  

Future dates TBA

Harboring about ten percent of Earth’s biodiversity, Mexico is one of the most biologically rich countries in the world.  During this natural adventure, we’ll explore and learn about some of that richness as we travel through tropical deciduous forest, the pines and oaks of the mountains above San Cristobal de Las Casas, and the vast rainforests of the eastern lowlands to see, enjoy, and learn about the birds, natural history, and culture of Chiapas, Mexico.   

We begin our journey in Tuxtla Gutierrez, one of the few areas where the tropical deciduous forest that dominates Mexico’s west coast penetrates the interior.  In Sumidero National Park, we’ll look for dry forest specialists such as white-throated magpie jay, Nutting’s flycatcher, white-lored gnatcatcher, streak-backed oriole, banded wren, russet-crowned motmot, and the rare belted flycatcher.  From Tuxtla we head east to San Cristobal de las Casas, a beautiful colonial town surrounded by mountains forested with oaks and pines.  Here we’ll look for local specialties such as pink-headed warbler, rufous-collared robin, rufous-browed wren, blue-and-white mockingbird, and black-capped swallow as well as more widespread species such as hooded grosbeak, mountain trogon, cinnamon-bellied flowerpiercer, crescent-chested warbler, garnet-throated hummingbird, and many others.  We’ll also have time to visit the Na Bolom Museum, the textile museum, sample local cuisine, and enjoy the rich local culture.

From San Cristobal, we’ll cross the mountains and drop down to Palenque and the rainforests of the eastern lowlands.  Here, we’ll take a tour of the impressive ruins, enjoy the excellent museum with its many original artifacts, and visit the Aluxes wildlife conservation center which, in addition to its excellent educational exhibits, has very good birding.  The birds of Mexico's lowland rainforests are excellent and we'll have opportunities to see a variety of both widespread and localized species, including black-headed, gartered, and slaty-tailed trogons, slate-headed tody-flycatcher, rufous-breasted spinetail, spot-breasted wren, long-billed gnatwren, yellow-bellied elaenia, grayish, black-headed, and buff-throated saltator, and many wintering migrants..  We'll also look for black howler monkey's, Mexican red-bellied squirrel, white-lined sac-winged bat, and spiny-tailed iguana,

From Palenque we head southeast along a road adjacent to a large tract of largely intact forest to the small village of Lacanja in the Lacandon Rainforest.  This area has some of the best birding of the trip with many species we won’t see elsewhere.  Our lodge, situated on the banks of the Rio Lacanja, has excellent trails that pass through superb forest with gorgeous streams, crystalline pools, and a striking waterfall.  Just minutes away are the ruins of Bonampak, where we’ll explore excellent forest and have a guided tour.  Among the many species we could see here are dusky antbird, dot-winged antwren, rufous piha, black-cowled oriole, rufous mourner, long-billed and stripe-throated hermits, green-backed sparrow, crimson-collared and Passerini’s tanagers, green honeycreeper, long-billed gnatwren, chestnut-colored woodpecker, royal flycatcher, red-capped manakin, and many more. 

We conclude the trip in Villahermosa where we'll spend our final night.

Led by naturalist and bird guide Mark Pretti and Mexican guide Benito Hernandez, the cost will be about $3000 per person, double occupancy, and includes all lodging, meals, admissions and transportation from Tuxtla Gutierrez to Villahermosa.

Detailed itinerary and references available upon request.

Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque by Karen Blumenthal 
Red-capped manakin by Misty Vaughn

Last updated: February 15, 2018.