The Yucatan Peninsula may be famous for its big resorts and vibrant nightlife but amongst the tourists and hotels, there’s a thriving wildlife population waiting to be discovered. If you’re an animal lover you’ll be amazed at Mexico’s many opportunities for getting up close with birds, turtles, iguanas and even crocodiles!
El Rey Ruins Iguanas
Iguanas are a common sight around the Yucatan Peninsula but if you want to guarantee a run in with these scaly locals, head to the El Rey Ruins in Cancun where you’re bound to see hordes of them sunning themselves on the ancient rocks. Take some bread if you want to feed them, just be careful of little fingers, iguanas can be grumpy if startled!
Celestun Special Biosphere Reserve
This 146,000 acre park is famous for its vast mangrove swamps and colourful flamingos, alongside hundreds of other bird species and even a few crocodiles and turtles to watch out for. The best way to see this tropical swamp is with a guided boat tour from Celestun.
Yucatan Bird Festival
The annual Bird Festival takes place from 20th to 23rd November 2015 in Merida and Celestun, in the Yucatan Peninsula. Featuring tours, workshops and attractions for adults and kids alike, this is the perfect time to see some of Mexico’s most beautiful birdlife with around 465 species to spot.
Close to the village of Puerto Morelos, Crococun Zoo is one of the top attractions in the Riviera Maya for wildlife lovers. Get up close and personal with some of Mexico’s indigenous crocodiles, hold snakes and meet parrots and learn about these fascinating creatures – this is definitely one for the kids!
Calakmul Biosphere Reserve
The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is a 1.8 million acre stretch of forest, famous for its incredible Mayan ruins and high concentration of jaguars. With one of the most diverse populations of wildlife around, the reserve is home to dozens of species of mammals, reptiles and fish and hundreds of species of colourful butterflies and birds. There are many tours into the reserve to choose from and even camping trips if you’re feeling brave. Don’t miss the famous bat cave where millions of bats roost, emerging in the evening to feed on the many insects in this fascinating jungle habitat.
Giant Turtles in Akumal
The small beachside town of Akumal is home to the magnificent giant turtle. Book a snorkelling trip to swim with these incredible creatures in the warm waters of the Caribbean. If you’re visiting in May or October you may even see them laying their eggs in the sand and be able to help a few baby turtles back into the sea for an activity that’s not only free but will make for memories that last a lifetime.