Number of Days (Length of Tour)
13 days / 12 nights
$2800.00 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Veracruz City.
If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to get a roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $325.00 will be assessed
What is Included / Not Included
Included in the cost are all accommodations, meals, transportation, boat rides and entrance fees , from Veracruz City.
Not included in the cost are alcoholic drinks, tips and items of a personal nature.
$500.00, check, paypal or credit card, along with your completed Registration Form
How to Book
In order to hold your space, you must complete the Registration Form found on-line, and submit it to us on-line, or download a copy and mail it to us, along with a $500.00 deposit per participant.
Full payment, by check, is due 120 days prior to the departure date
Day 1: Arrive in Veracruz City; Transfer to Cardel
Day 2 & 3: Cardel, La Antigua and Rio Escondido
Day 4, 5 & 6: Transfer to Xalapa; El Mirador, Parque Macquiltepetl and Las Minas
Day 7, 8 & 9: Transfer to Cardel; La Joya, La Mancha; Playa Chalchiuecan
Day 10 & 11: Transfer to Catemaco; Las Barrancas, Alvarado wetlands, UNAM Biological Station and Laguna de Sontecomapan
Day 12: Nanciyaga and La Jungla; Transfer to Veracruz
Day 13: Early morning departure from Veracruz City
Day 1: Arrival at Veracruz Airport. Transfer to Cardel
Upon your mid-day arrival in Veracruz City you will transfer to Cardel. The remainder of the day will be spent relaxing and hawk watching from the rooftop of our hotel. 3 nights in Cardel.
Day 2 & 3: Cardel, La Antigua and Rio Escondido.
Our mornings will include visits to La Catalana, a dry thorn and scrub habitat inhabited by Rufous-naped Wren and Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, and Playa Juan Angel where Aplomado Falcons can be seeing hunting along the coastal dunes; Fork-tailed Flycatchers are in the open fields; Collared Plovers are found along the beach and Collared Forest-Falcons are often heard calling from deep in the forest.
Day 4, 5 & 6: Transfer to Xalapa; El Mirador, Parque Macquiltepetl and Las Minas.
We transfer to Xalapa for 3 nights. On the way we visit a wonderful coffee plantation with a stunning array of species including Blue-crowned Motmot, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Wedge tailed Sabrewing, Common Brush Tanager, White-winged Tanager and both Olivaceous and Ivory-billed Woodcreeper as well as colorful butterflies such as Goldman's Mapwings, morphos and Malachites. - On our final morning we'll visit Las Minas, a dramatic canyon set among the high plateau of central Mexico. Here the pines hold the striking Red Warbler, Golden-browed and Crescent-chested Warbler, Grey Silkys, Mountain Trogon and the endemic Striped Sparrow. From here we continue to the foothills of the Cofre de Perote to Los Humeros, where the beautiful and unique desert habitat dominated by Joshua Trees and Agave's holds Scott's Oriole, Western Scrub Jay and White-eared Hummingbird.
Day 7, 8 & 9: Transfer to Cardel; La Joya, La Mancha; Playa Chalchiuecan. Descending back into the coastal plain, our first stop is at La Joya, a small patch of pines and dense underbrush similar to Las Minas, where Collared Towhee, Rufous-capped Brushfinch, Russet Nightingale Thrush, Hepatic Tanager, Black-headed Siskin and the altitudinal migrant, Tufted Flycatcher are possible. We keep in touch with the hawk counters and hope to be in the right place at the right time to catch the "River of Raptors", which often is at Chichicaxtle, Pronaturaxs inland site during the mid to late afternoon hours. - For a change of pace we will visit the ruins at Cempoala, where we learn the traditions of the Totonacas and of their encounters with the Spaniards and also visit a field at dusk to witness a million Davy's Naked-backed and Ghost-faced Bats leave their cave!
Day 10 & 11: Transfer to Catemaco; Las Barrancas, Alvarado wetlands, UNAM Biological Station and Laguna de Sontecomapan.
The extensive Alvarado lagoon and wetlands is located on the expansive coastal plain south of Veracruz. Here amongst the wet savannah of Las Barrancas, Pinnated Bittern, Double-striped Thick-knee, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture and Mangrove Swallow can be found. We'll also look for Common Tody Flycatcher nesting in a small patch of shrubs and hope to see Great Black-Hawk. The wetlands hold Snail Kite and Limpkin, and Black-collared Hawk are occasionally seen. At Catemaco we encounter lush tropical coastal open habitat and remnant patches of rain forest. Along the edges of forest we'll search for White Hawks and Bat Falcon, which can be seen chasing swallows. Colorful species such as Violaceous Trogons, Lineated Woodpecker, Black-cowled Oriole, Keel-billed Toucans and Collared Aracari's can be seen along side Smoky-brown and Golden-Olive Woodpecker; Black-headed Saltator's and Lesser Greenlets at the UNAM Biological Station. With luck we'll come across an ant swarm and the possibility of Red-crowned and Red-throated Ant-Tanagers, Ruddy Foliage-Gleaner, Ivory-billed or Barred Woodcreeper and Stub-tailed Spadebill. We take a leisurely afternoon boat ride through the Laguna de Sontecomapan where Violet Sabrewings can be seen nectaring on riverbank vines and three secretive species, the Sungrebe, the Bare-throated Tiger-Heron and Pygmy Kingfisher are occasionally spotted. At our hotel, roosting Mottled Owls can often be found.
Day 12: Nanciyaga and La Jungla; Transfer to Veracruz
Our final morning of birding will be spent walking through the remnant tropical forest at La Jungla and Nanciyaga nature reserve, where the thick vegetation and tall trees hold both Spot-breasted and White-breasted Wood-Wrens, Little and Long-tailed Hermits, and in the past has produced a wide variety of warblers including Kentucky and Northern Waterthrush. The marsh around Lake Catemaco has traditionally been a great place to see Ruddy Crake. As we make our way to Veracruz, we'll stop along the gulf coast for some sea watching where Black Terns have been seen in large numbers as well as Parasitic Jaegers chasing Royal and Sandwich Terns. We finish our tour with a pleasant evening reminiscing about the trip in the beautiful and bustling Veracruz town square over a drink!
Day 13: Early morning departure from Veracruz
We have booked 3 star hotels, all with en-suite bathrooms. All have air-conditioning with the exception of the Posada in Xalapa (cooler due to the higher elevation), which has ceiling fans. This is a very quaint 2-story hotel with a lovely small courtyard.
Note: The Bienvenido in Cardel (above) falls below this standard. The rooftop at the Bienvenido is also the hawk watch site and the reason that we stay there.
Our final night will be in Veracruz at the Colonial, situated on the square and within walking distance of harbor, shops and nightlife.
A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America
(Oxford University Press, 1995)
by Steve N.G. Howell and Sophie Webb
This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our tour.
River of Raptors count data
at the 2 sites in Veracruz.
The weather along the coastal birding sites can be quite hot and humid with temperatures reaching the low 90’s. In the highlands outside of Xalapa daytime temperatures could dip down to the cool 40-50’s. Since our stay in Veracruz occurs at the end of the rainy season, we should not encounter too much rain and when it does rain it often lasts for only a portion of the day. Of course one can expect at least some rain in the cloud and rain forest!
Walking / Terrain / Fitness:
Walking will be at a slow pace, and no more than 2-5 miles a day. Please be aware that there will be walking/hiking over uneven terrain, occasionally slippery rocks, and pathways through woods in tropical heat in particular at Xalapa and Catemaco.
You must be in good health and physically able to keep up with the group in the ordinary course of these field activities. There is a steady climb in the park at Xalapa along a smooth paved path, which culminates in a dirt path down into the caldera. The rest of the tour is likely to be on flatter ground.
The Red Warbler is endemic to the pine-oak highlands north of the Isthmus. On our Veracruz tour we often find this stunning bird in mixed-species flocks at La Joya or Las Minas.