Muchos Animales Exóticos in Southwestern Mexico

During our week-long tour of the Southeastern Mexican states of Campeche, Chiapas and Tabasco, you bet your bippy I was keeping a close eye on all living things non-human. The main point of this trip was to go to some of the most rural areas of Mexico and see what we find nature-wise.

We weren’t disappointed, though I couldn’t help but imagine what this trip would have been like say, only 30 years ago, when it was really still the middle of nowhere. Besides beautiful Mayan ruins, we saw lots of exotic mammals, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, and tons of birds and plants.

The three best spots, it seemed:

  • The long, quiet stretch of the non-coastal highway that connects Tabasco to Campeche. This is a swampy area where bazillions of migrating birds were hanging out in lagoons on either side of the highway.
  • The Calakmul Biosphere. We hired a guide at Rio Bec Dreams (I also recommend this hotel) to scout wildlife.
  • Hotel Tucan Sihoplaya, about 45 minutes south of Campeche City. This is the only decent hotel for many miles along this part of the Mexican Gulf, and that’s because this is probably the least developed coast of Mexico (it’s a toss-up with Michoacan or maybe Chiapas), so the iguanas, shorebirds and marine life aren’t hiding. Brendan and I swam and kayaked completely alone here. I loved it here, it was so remote, yet we still had clean sheets and hot water.

Here’s a mere snapshot:


A young coatimundi, a raccoon-like animal, roaming all over Parque La Venta in Villahermosa, Tabasco.

calakmul crocodile

A young crocodile surfaces in a small lagoon in the protected biosphere of Calakmul.

spider monkey

A young spider monkey came down to watch us from the trees in Calakmul.


The giant thorns of a copal tree, sacred to the Mayans, look dangerous but are harmless.

frog in campeche

A tree frog of some sort hid out in our bathroom at Rio Bec Dreams cabanas in Xpujil, Mexico.

bird in Xpujil

A bright orange bird fluttered down to sit on a tree in Rio Bec near Xpujil, Mexico.


A conch (with critter inside) that washed ashore near Sihoplaya, Mexico. We collected many seashells and sea glass on this beach. We also saw a dead sea turtle and a giant snake, writhing and dying in the highway, probably run over.

iguana mexican

An iguana crosses the seawall at Hotel Tucan Sihoplaya, Mexico. There were dozens, if not hundreds, of iguanas (3 different species) crawling all over the hotel.


A giant male turkey near the Mayan ruins of Becan, Mexico (he probably belongs to one of the local families). I gobbled at him, and he gobbled back (Brendan was impressed & I felt like Kate from Lost.)

howler monkey

A tiny baby howler monkey above its mother, in Calakmul biosphere, Mexico. They're SO hard to photograph!

Luis Rio Bec

We found many of these animals (including a toucan that was too fast to photograph) with the help of Luis, a fantastic guide who works for Rio Bec Dreams in Xpujil, Mexico. Here he is holding a molted snakeskin that Brendan found during our hike.

4 thoughts on “Muchos Animales Exóticos in Southwestern Mexico

  1. DKN says:

    Wow! I meant to mention before that I think the orange bird in the tree just may be one of the best photos you’ve ever taken. It’s perfect.

  2. Alice says:

    I, too, LOVE the bird photo. Best photo I’ve seen of yours. The light perfectly halos the bird and shadows the trees. Must pick your brains soon about how you planned it and got around.

  3. Joy says:

    Thanks! It was simply luck and being observant. I used my tiny old-school digital camera (you know, the kind that uses four batteries every two days). It was late afternoonish. I wished I could have zoomed in more, but oh well.

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