Mexico’s Wild Side - The Yucatan Peninsula

(May 22-26, 2022)

White-sand beaches and turquoise waters aren’t the only stunning sights in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Mexico is home to more than 10% of the world’s species and the Yucatan is an especially prolific wildlife destination. Jaguars roam forests, sea turtles nest along sandy beaches, flamingos wade in shallow waters close to shore, and toucans and monkeys call from treetops. In addition to incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, the Yucatan offers its visitors enriching cultural experiences.

Join Reefs to Rockies for an unforgettable wildlife adventure in Mexico.


DAY 1 (Sun, May 22): Arrival to Cancun/ El Cuyo ~ Upon arrival to Cancun International Airport (CUN), we’ll be met by our local Trip Leader and transferred to El Cuyo, a gorgeous beach paradise away from the crowds of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Get to know fellow travelers this evening during our Welcome Dinner.

Accommodations: LunArena Boutique Beach Hotel

Meals: Boxed Lunch and Dinner

Estimated drive time: CUN Airport to El Cuyo approximately 2.5-3 hrs.

Plan to arrive to CUN by 2 pm today.

Day 2 (Mon, May 23): El Cuyo ~ Our first full day in Mexico begins with a private birding excursion with Jesús Bobadilla Aguiñaga, one of the best local guides in the region. With any luck, we’ll spot regional highlights including several endemic species. We’ll also learn about jaguar conservation efforts at a nearby ranch. There’s time this afternoon to enjoy a beach  barbecue. Our day ends with a Golden Hour photo session at a nearby estuary.

Accommodations: LunArena Boutique Beach Hotel

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Estimated drive time: El Cuyo to birding site approximately 30 mins.

Day 3 (Tues, May 24): Las Coloradas/ Rio Lagartos/ Valladolid ~ This morning, we’ll check out of our hotel and head to Las Coloradas, Mexico’s Magical Pink Lagoon. Before gaining status as one of the most Instagrammable locations in Mexico, Las Coloradas was a sleepy fishing village with a history of salt production dating back to the Mayas. We’ll learn about how this community is working to successfully combine ecotourism and conservation efforts while operating one of the world’s largest salt production facilities.

Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO Site, is an important nesting site for flamingos and endangered sea turtles.  We’ll explore Rio Lagartos by boat this afternoon before continuing to colonial Valladolid where we’ll spend the night.

Accommodations: Waye’

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Estimated drive times: El Cuyo to Las Coloradas approximately 2 hrs; Las Coloradas to Rio Lagartos approximately 30 mins; Rio Lagartos to Valladolid approximately 2 hrs.

Day 4 (Wed, May 25): Ek Balam/ Cancun ~ No trip to the Yucatan is complete without at least one visit to a Mayan ruin site. Ek Balam is a Yucatec Maya name that translates to “the black jaguar” or “bright start jaguar”. We’ll visit Ek Balam early in the morning so we can combine birding as we explore Ek Balam. Afternoon return to Cancun. Our last full day in Mexico ends with a wildlife boat tour at Chacmunchuch Lagoon before our Farewell Dinner. 

Accommodations: Mex Hoteles

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Estimated drive times: Valladolid to Ek Balam approximately 45 mins; Ek Balam to Cancun approximately 2.5 hrs.

Day 5 (Thurs, May 26): Departure ~ Transfer to Cancun International Airport in time for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Estimated drive time: Hotel to airport approximately 30 mins.


Price: $2275* per person based on single or double occupancy accommodations.

Includes: accommodations, private transportation on Days 1-4, airport transfer on Day 5, two trip leaders (Ruben Encalada and Sheridan Samano), private excursions, entrance fees, meals as listed, purified water in vehicle, and VAT.  A donation to support local conservation efforts will be made on behalf of all participants.

Excludes: flights, two dinners, passport fees, travel insurance, optional gratuities for local trip leader, driver, and hotel staff, medical testing, and personal expenses. 

Group size: 6-8 participants + 2 trip leaders

*A 3% discount will be applied to payments by check.

Important Note: All participants must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to travel.