Veracruz, Mexico ** Date change** - Red Rock Audubon

Join us for a 2 week trip to Veracruz during the raptor migration.

4 Attendees
Event Type: Social Event
Open to Non-members: Yes
Members Price: $0
Non-members Price: $0
Start Time: 10/24/2023 07:00 AM
End Time: 11/06/2023 05:00 PM

Location: Boca del Río

    Boca del Río Ver.,

Register for this event

The trip has been rescheduled for 2 weeks later than originally planned to take advantage of the Dios de los Muertos celebrations in the villages and combine with group with an Audubon group from central Oregon.

Veracruz tour
October 24 - November 6, 2023
14 days with 10 people and two guides
Day 1 starts in evening for welcome meal
Day 14 includes breakfast and then travel home day

Apart from focusing on birds we are also introducing you to the local birding community,
ProNatura and their projects, a beautiful part of rural Mexico, the Dios de los Muertos “day of the dead" celebrations,
and a huge cross section of the local habitats. There are a great variety of butterflies,
crocodiles, otters, howler monkeys .... It is one of the endemic hotspots in the Americas!
This is timed for the maximum variety of species. Historically in the pre-contact culture, Turkey
Vultures migrating overhead were thought to carry away the soles of the dead and we will
experience the day of the dead celebrations. The rural communities of Veracruz are famous for
their decorated altars, sweet breads, and extensive celebrations. In addition to the long lines of
migrating vultures we will experience large numbers of Swainson’s Hawks and a good variety of
other hawks with good numbers of Zone-tails and Gray Hawks. Long lines of Pelicans will be
migrating and many neotropical migrants will have established their wintering territories allowing
us to see many species that breed both in the West and Eastern US in addition to the many
endemic Mexican species and other birds common south of the border. We will visit many of the
varied habitats and their associated bird communities in the Veracruz area ranging from tropical
lowland rain forest to Pine forests at 10,000ft in the thin air of the volcanoes.
We are partnering with the local non-profit in Mexico and all the profit (above food, lodging,
transportation and local guide) goes towards their bird and conservation programs.

$3900 single occupancy
$3600 double occupancy
All inclusive for meals, hotels, transportation, pickup and drop off at airport, entrance fees,
community fees, boat fees. It even includes modest alcohol consumption.
Does not include personal items, travel to Mexico or travel insurance.
About 1/2 of the cost of the tour goes directly to ProNatura to fund their river of raptors program.
The other part pays for hotels and food and the local guides.

Many people arrive a day early. The guides will be present to bird the day before locally. To
arrange an extra night at hotel and hotel pickup the cost is $100. You will also be expected to
pay for your meals during this time.

Relaxed birding is good for all levels. Short hikes on easy trails ... out of the sun for most of the
walks. Chairs available at the hawk count locations. Typically breakfast about 6am, on the road
by 06.45 and bird until lunch. Lunch is in restaurants for an hour or so and then bird in the
afternoon.... Depends on location but most days we will be back by 6pm. Because there are
two guides we can easily accommodate a slower pace and those who wish to spend more time
taking photos. Also, expect great food. You may need to go on a diet before the trip!

Mexico has had a bad rap concerning safety, especially with the Cartels. While certain regions
are extremely dangerous we will be traveling in a very SAFE region which is very rural. There
has been no recent history of any cartel activity in this region and the local communities are
extremely friendly and hospitable.

Apart from birds there will be many opportunities to interact with the local villagers in the rural
communities as well as staff members of ProNatura. We will share a meal with the raptor
counting staff at their house in the small pueblo of Chichicaxle. We will visit small mountain
villages to see the Dios de los Muertos celebrations. You have the opportunity to visit the
famous anthropology museum in Xalapa (entrance and guide provided in the registration fee).
We will also visit some ancient indigenous sites of the coast.

Fly to Veracruz (VER) International airport. The only direct flight from the US is United from
Houston. Otherwise, most flights will need a connection in Mexico City. Typically baggage will
be checked all the way through and after passport control follow signs for transfers. Mexico City
terminal has various zones where the gates are located. If flying air mexico be prepared to pay
extra on way home to check bags all the way to your destination (about $25)

Standards are certainly less posh than in the US. Even 4 star hotels will have a few minor
quirks where water from the shower may come onto the floor etc .... Still, all hotels have AC,
power outlets, are safe and clean, and have WIFI. We have a laundry service we can use half
way through the tour. The two hotels in the mountains do not have AC as it is not needed there.
All hotels are comfortable and safe.

15 seater sprinter van with Driver, USB charges and AC. Everyone has a window seat. Water
jug in back to fill water bottles

Main guide / fixer will be a Pronatura staff member who speaks English and is excellent with the
birds. I will also act as a guide / fixer.

We visit all the main habitats in the area: lowland rain forest, mangrove lagoons, coastal
grassland, sand dunes, dry tropical lowland forests, hawk watch locations, mid elevation
mountain forest, upper cloud forest, high elevation pine forest, and dry transvolcanic belt desert.
Birds are different in all locations.

The lowlands are hot and humid ... In the 80’s during the day. Sometimes there is a cold front
where temps will drop into the 70’s. In the higher elevations expect the early mornings to be a
little chilly so bring a puffy and a sweater. It can be in the upper 40’s when we start and will
reach upper 60’s and 70’s later in the day. Expect some rain (we will be in the rain forest and
cloud forests). I suggest bringing an umbrella. In many cases we are able to adapt, and visit
different locations based on rain. In the thick forest rain is not too much of an issue although it
could become quite dark. In 2022 we only had a single rain day on each tour which did not
affect the birding at all.

These are from two tours I led in 2022

This tour supports the nonprofit PRONATURA who runs the hawk count, educational programs,
bird banding and motus projects in the area.

There are mosquitoes in some areas but they are not bad. Bring long sleeved shirts and
repellent. Dengue sometimes shows up but we will be in doors in the evenings. In 2022 both
tours had a couple of participants show mild stomach issues. Nothing serious.

ELECTRICITY and internet
Normal US system. Not all hotels have the three prong socket though (for laptops) so it's useful
to have a converter for those situations. All hotels have WiFi... Some places are better than

Yes you need a valid passport. It needs to be valid for the entire travel period and have two
blank pages. It does NOT need to be valid for 6 months after trip.
Bird Links:
Coast:. https://ebird.org/hotspot/L271189

Hawk watch: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L177

Close to hw: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L10982273

Barrancas area: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3810212

Ruiz cortinez: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1336031

Biological station lis tuxlas: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L461312

Nanciyaga Los tuxlas: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L284585

Xalapa area: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1613371

Las Minas: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L272502

Los humeros road: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L272413

YouTube zoom presentation: https://youtu.be/V_zpjf1meNs

It is likely that the schedule may change a little when we are in the lowlands as we will go where
the raptor migration is hot. This is a very brief itinerary. Look at the e-bird lists and my trip
reports to really get an idea of the birds.

Day 1 Arrive. Night in Boca del Rio in Veracruz

First get together at supper time in the hotel. People are welcome to arrive early as
guides will be present to bird in the grounds and beach close to the hotel.

Day 2 – Las Barancas grassland in morning: Hawk watch in afternoon – Evening boat ride at la
Antigua. Night in Puente National

Morning in a wet grassland area to the south of the hotel. Many birds here including
double striped thick-knee, scissor and fork-tailed flycatcher, yellowish Eilania, common
toddy flycatcher. After lunch we move to the Hawk-watch platform before taking a boat
trip down the Antigua River for Kingfishers, egrets and herons, shorebirds, skimmers

Day 3 Mullers Coffee Plantation in morning. Hawk watch at various sites. Night in Puente

Shade Coffee plantation in a slightly moister dry forest environment in the foothills.
Toucans, woodcreepers, honeycreeper, euphonias. In the afternoon we travel between
the hawk-watch locations

Day 4 Playa Juan Angel – Hawk watch – If time, visit a park in Xalapa. Drive to Xalapa. Night
in Xalapa

Early in the morning we see the migration along the sand dunes and look for the Slender
sheartail hummingbird. Many terns and gulls and shorebirds at the mouth of the river.
Often there is a strong songbird migration here.

Day 5 Xalapa Macuiltepetl, el Haya/Musseum. Night in Perote

Two wild parks in the mid elevation forests in the city of Xalapa. Motmots, trogons,
variety of hummingbirds, blue mockingbird, rusty sparrow, saltators We will search for
the Bearded Wood Partridge. It is possible for one group to visit the famous
anthropology museum. A guided tour is included in the price if you wish to go.

Day 6 Areas outside of la Joya and El Conejo. Night in Perote

We continue up in elevation and see brown backed solitare, Red warblers, slate throated
redstarts, hooded yellowthroat, brush finches .... Big feeding flocks of birds. In the
afternoon we climb (in the vehicle up above 10,000ft) into the pine forest of Coffre de
Perote volcano to look for Strickland woodpecker, more red warblers, striped sparrow ....

Day 7 Dry areas on Pueblas border – Texolo waterfall, Night in Coatapec

This morning we are in the dry volcanic belt. Here there are deserts and a scenic lake
surrounded by thrashers, Lucifer hummingbird ... a very different environment! In the
afternoon we drive to the Texolo waterfall. This was featured in Romancing of the Stone
and is very scenic. Brush finches, bat falcon, red capped warbler and up to 5 species of
swift in the early evening.

Day 8 morning– travel to Los Tuxlas stopping at Caravillo – bird in lodge. Night in Catemaco

We bird in the morning at a community protected area. This is dry deciduous
low-elevation forest with becards, shrike vireos, toucans, olive sparrow ...

Day 9 Nanciyaga – University research station – gulf – back to hotel. Night in Catemaco

We are in the lowland rainforest. Many species. Motmots, trogons and Toucans, many
warblers and hummingbirds. Oropendulas, ant shrikes and ant tanagers, Scarlet
Macaw. We have a late breakfast by the edge of the lake and see Boat billed heron, 5
species of kingfisher and ruddy crake. Great Carrasow is possible but rare.

Day 10 - Ruiz Cortinez –other / lower portions of forest . Night in Catemaco

Mist forest at 4500ft. Ornate Hawk Eagle is the main target! Many mixed species flocks
include slate backed solitare, foliage gleaners, chlorophonias, grosbeaks, tanagers,
woodcreepers. It’s fun when we come across an army ant swarm with the
accompanying birds.

Day 11 – boat trip to in the morning at Sontecomapan lagoon. leave los Tuxtlas and stop at
marshes on way back. Night in Puente National

Several hour boat trip through the lagoons and marshes. Barred ant-shrike, black
hawks, squirrel cuckoo. In the afternoon we stop off in some marshes to the south of Veracruz
for many Caracara, Limpkin, snail kite and other marsh birds

Day 12 Quiahuiztlan Ruins (Pyramids) – HW at Miramar in the afternoon. Night in Puente

Dry forest to the north of Veracruz. We watch the hawk migration and search for migrant
warblers, Audubon’s oriole and titmice.

Day 13 Hawk watch . Night in Veracruz City

Half day birding around the Hawk-watch platforms for final big push of migrants.

Day 14 Leave. Breakfast starts at 6am included.

Steve Dougill worked for Pronatura as a counter in 2019. He led two tours to Veracruz in 2022.
As a bird evangelist he has worked and birded all over the world but calls Las Vegas home now
where he is a wildlife biologist working with birds and tortoises. Email: birdidiot@gmail.com

Register for this event