Mexico has an abundance of wildlife from whales to butterflies. There is a wide variety of animals in the different parts of Mexico – from the jungle to the sea. Here’s the fantastic animals worth travelling for – that is the ones I saw anyway.
But some are disappearing.
You’ve got to see the Monarchs if you are in Mexico between November and February. Half a day’s travel outside Mexico City, you can see the Mariposa as it is called. This is a world famous migration where millions of Monarchs fly from North America and Canada to this place in Mexico. Crazy with those paper wings!
There are 2-3 sanctuaries. We stayed in the very small town Anganguo in Michoacán, that helps protect the area since they earn money from the wildlife tourism. Unfortunately we were a week (!) too early, but our hotel knew a guy, who knew the final place the butterflies stopped before teaching their final destination further op the mountains – a few kilometers away. The bad part was that it wasn’t as massive as we had hoped. The good thing – we were all alone! They only fly when it is not clouded, because the wings are too fragile to stand hard rain. We were lucky to see some clusters fly off. Check out the video.
Follow the Monarchs migration here
Yes, we thought about buying an underwater case for the camera. And no, we didn’t do it. So no fantastic pictures of turtles (wont make that mistake again), but only of the turtle hunters in the water. And since I take most of the photographs: it’s my son and husband…
In Mexico there are many turtles nesting places and sightings spots for five different species. We went to one of the most famous on the Yucatan Peninsula – beach “La playa Tortuga”, where the turtles should be right in front of the beach. Yeah right…
But there were many. We saw at least 5 large loggerhead turtles. The bottom is full of seagrass – and the turtles love it. They are huge and only 1-2 meters below you and once in a while they come up for air. But be respectful of the rules. Many tourists stress the turtles for a good picture and it is already causing the turtles to diminish in numbers. Some organizations will let you help setting baby turtles out into the wild again.
Find more on sea turtle hot spots in Mexico here
From Dr Anton Reichenow (1847 – 1941) work ‘Vogelbilder aus fernen Zonen’ Illustrated by Gustav Mützel (1839-1893).
You know when you are just lying by the pool at your jungle hut and a yellow, blue and red Scarlet Macaw flies straight over you. The macaws are almost extinct in Mexico due to deforestation (for hotels to tourist like me), but in Palenque there is still some jungle left. The brightly colored bird was respected by the Mayans and depicted on ceramics.
Our macaw came by almost every day in the morning and in the afternoon. It was squeaking so loud, so you noticed when it came by, but it was too fast to capture on camera.
These are actually also endangered, but we saw a large flock while we were waiting for a lunch at a guesthouse –also in the jungle of Palenque. There are two types of the howler monkey, but I am not sure which one we saw. We did hear them howl though.
The brown pelican is the smallest of the pelicans and not endangered. This one on the beach in Yucatan kept flying over all the tourists and then landing on the boat before taking a new turn.
Ever since I saw my first pelican in Cuba, I’ve been quite fascinated with this strange bird that can keep fish in its beak.
Other fascinating animals include the iguana, hummingbirds and eagles. I caught an far away eagle on camera, but the hummingbird was too difficult – even though I tried very morning. In our hostel this small but fast moving creature ate nectar on some flowers near our breakfast table. Well, it’s more important to have seen it than to have captured it on camera (I tell myself…)
Whale sharks are a big favorite. We missed the season for it, but I would go back to Mexico just for this.
This trip in 2017 was with my 11-year old son, my husband, and we went for a 3-week backpacking trip from Mexico City to Yucatan Peninsula. For more on Mexico see Pros & Cons for travelling to Mexico for the Day of the Dead!
Did I miss an animal? Let me and the other readers know.