The Most Amazing Wildlife Experiences in Mexico
We could talk all day about the abundance of reasons to visit Mexico, but in this week’s blog we’re thinking strictly about one of the most beautiful reasons: the wildlife.
From the lush green jungles of the Yucatan to the picturesque Mexican coastlines and the skyscraping Sierra Madre mountain range, there’s discoveries to be made in every corner.
That’s right, these incredible, exotic, and fiercely diverse landscapes that make up the fabric of Mexico are home to some truly astonishing species of animals, and if you play your cards right, you can catch a sight of them, right here in their natural habitat!
Read on to see our guide of the most amazing wildlife experiences in Mexico...
If you’re planning a vacation to Mexico’s Nayarit or Jalisco regions between June and September, then this is one natural miracle you absolutely cannot miss.
During the summer months, thousands of sea turtles arrive to lay their eggs on this particular stretch of coastline called Banderas Bay, and soon enough, tiny turtle hatchlings are born and ready to make their first, brave journey into the sea. Being a witness to the turtle nesting season is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – stay in one of the delightful towns on this part of the coast, such as the charming Puerto Vallarta or chic surfer town Sayulita.
Pay a visit to the beaches where you can sit and marvel at the sheer number of turtles in the peak of nesting season.
If you’re interested in the human efforts that go into helping this endangered species, or you’re looking to lend a hand yourself, you can take an expertly-guided tour of the sea turtle nurseries at El Holi beach, or even join the voluntary conservation program that helps to raise the hatchlings and eventually return them safely to the wild!
Flamingos and Crocodiles
The Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, or ‘Alligator River’ is actually an enormous, tranquil lagoon less than three hours from popular Cancun! The only real way to take in the sights here is to join a boat tour of the lagoon, and the earlier the better!
The spots can start booking up later in the day, so we suggest an early start so you can get the place to yourself – if you can stomach the early alarm clock, our highest recommendation would be the sunrise tour for something really magical.
Your view will be graced by crocodiles, thick flocks of flamingos, and other species of bird. The tour also includes a real treat: a stop at the famous Las Colorados, an area of the lagoon used for salt extraction, resulting in a vast expanse of cotton-candy pink waters perfect for your holiday photos!
The annual Monarch Butterfly migration is one of the most breathtaking feats of nature of all time, as hundreds of thousands of these tiny winged creatures make the long journey from Canada to Mexico for the winter.
You can see the Monarch Butterflies in all their glory at The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve where they settle for the winter between November and March.
The reserve lies on the Michoacán / Mexico State border and includes four different sanctuaries that you can visit by hiking up to them; some hikes are easier than others, the easiest being Sierra Chincua and the most difficult being Cerro Pelon, which can only be reached on horseback, with a guide!
The journey is worth it for the views you’re greeted with when you reach the top!
There’s a reason why Cancun has emerged as a go-to holiday destination – there are so many things to do here, and the scenery is gorgeous, not just above ground but below it too, with hundreds of cenotes, caves and underground rivers to explore.
The world beneath the surface of the ocean is just as pleasing to the eyes, and ready to welcome you on scuba diving and snorkeling tours out of Cancun and the nearby Isla Mujeres.
Investigate coral reefs, shipwrecks, and even an underwater museum filled with hundreds of sculptures, that now acts as a home for all sorts of marine life! Led by your PADI-qualified guide, you’ll swim over colorful coral, alongside turtles, rays, and hundreds of vivid, glittering fish. It really is a whole other world down there!
The Jaw-Dropping Wildlife Encounters
Sierra Madre Mountains
A perfect destination for lovers of nature and all things outdoorsy, this colossal mountain range in north-western Mexico is bursting at the seams with wildlife, from jaguars and pumas to armadillos and iguanas.
Our favorite way to enjoy the Sierra Madre Mountains is through a guided hike – you’ll love the fresh air and exercise, and your guide can point out all the best spots for good views and wildlife watching! This particular hike takes you on a picturesque, winding journey through the tropical forests of the mountain’s foothills, where you can spot many different brightly-hued species of birds, such as maroon-fronted parrots and tufted jays, as well as coatis and deer.
You’ll hike to the serene and photogenic Cuale River, where you’ll stop for a refreshing dip. At the end of the hike, you’ll be treated to a tequila tasting, the perfect ending to a perfect day!
If you’re traveling with young children, however, a hike may prove too challenging of an activity, so as an alternative, why not experience a driving tour through the mountains, with stops including the charming mountain villages of Talpa and Mascota, not to mention San Sebastian and it’s gorgeous, rolling coffee plantations!
Birds and Manatees
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
The largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean, this UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on the Riviera Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula.
There are several different tours to choose from when exploring this wide network of mangrove canals and lagoons, including a Snorkeling Tour, and a Nature Encounter Tour, where you’ll be carried on a 6-hour boat trip in search of manatees, crocodiles and birds.
One alluring option is the Bird Watching At Sunset Tour, which is just as beautiful and show-stopping as it sounds – settle into your boat and watch the tropical birds flocking past as the entire reserve is lit up with all the colors of the golden hour.
Sea Lions, Sharks
and Humpback Whales
For some of the best wildlife experiences in Mexico’s surrounding waters, head to the sparkling Sea of Cortez, lapping at the shores of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur.
Here, you can take a special tour to the nearby Espiritu Santo Island, home of the Sea Lions. On your way, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with whale sharks and humpback whales, so make sure your camera is at the ready to capture these larger-than-life creatures!! Upon arrival the island you can snorkel amongst the population of friendly sea lions that live there.
This is one unforgettable Mexican wildlife experience!
The final spot on our guide to the best wildlife experiences in Mexico had to be dedicated to a fan favorite amongst animals – the monkey!
Located just inland off the Yucatan coast around halfway between Cancun and Tulum, you’ll find the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve, where cheeky monkeys come in all sorts of shapes and sizes!
Taking a guided walk through the jungle landscape you’ll learn all about the surrounding flora and fauna, and even be greeted by howler monkeys and spider monkeys along the way! End the day here with a relaxing canoe-ride through the crystal-clear lagoons...
We hope you’ve been inspired by all the amazing wildlife experiences waiting for you on your future trip to Mexico.
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