Wildlife Watching Locations
Photo by Claudio Contreras Coob, Amigos de Isla Contoy
The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico has several excellent locations for watching
wildlife. There are many national parks and protected areas. There are also
many locations which are not "official" parks but they do provide good
opportunities for viewing wildlife.
Birding is great almost anywhere. Reptiles can be seen in several locations. The Black Iguana is very common in many locations, especially around the ruins. For mammals you have to visit the parks and reserves. Marine life can be easily seen along the coast. The coral reefs are some of the best in the world.
Official Parks and Reserves
- Banco Chinchorro
This reserve is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and provides wonderful opportunities for viewing marine life.
- Calakmul Biosphere Reserve
One of the largest reserves, with good tropical forest habitat and a healthy Jaguar population.
- Celestun - Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve
Celestun is famous for its flamingos but it has lots of birds and other wildlife.
- Isla Contoy
The islands special appeal is nesting seabirds like the Frigatebirds and marine life.
- Pantanos de Centla Biosphere Reserve
It consists of a vast flooded plain at the delta of Usumacinta and Grijalva Rivers, on the border of Campeche and Tabasco.
- Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve
Another important coastal reserve with good birdlife, especially flamingos.
- Sian Ka'an
Sian Kaan is one of the largest undisturbed wilderness areas in the Yucatan. It still contains a large variety of the wildlife species found in the peninsula.
- Xcalak National Marine Park
Marine life around the reef.
Other Locations with Good Wildlife
Akumal is a great place to see marine life. Green Turtles can be easily seen
feeding on the sea grass in the bay just off the beach.
- Chichen Itza
This is a good place to combine birding and sightseeing. There are plenty of
birds, great Mayan ruins and good accomodation.
The Punta Laguna Nature Reserve, famous for its Spider Monkeys,
is located a few kilometers north of the town of
Coba. You can see good birdlife and Morelet's crocodile at the lake at Coba.
- Cozumel Island
Cozumel has several endemic species of wildlife. It also has great marine life.
This is a Private Reserve located near the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, in the municipality
of Tizimin. It is owned by Pronatura Peninsula de Yucatán.
- Felipe Carillo Puerto
This town is located on the eastern side of the peninsula, south of Tulum and to
the west of Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. The Vigía Chico road is good for birding.
Kiuic: Helen Moyers Biocultural Reserve
This private entity is a unique living laboratory located in the Bolonchen
District of the Puuc region.
A great wildlife spectacle is to see the Cave Swallows come out and fly
around the inside of the Nunnery Quadrangle. There can be hundreds of
swallows in the air and you can get quite close looks as they swoop in
near the ruins. There is general good birding in the forest area around
- Information on online maps and maps you can buy - ...more