RFI Belize and Yucatan
I’ll be spending 2 weeks in Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula in march, based in Caye Caulker, Lamanai and Chan Chich in Belize, Chichen Itza and Tulum in Mexico.
Does anyone have tips to share for those places?? (i’m interested in everything mammalian)
Vincent, we have been to Chan Chich twice but the last time was almost 4 years ago. It was excellent both times. The guides are very good and will help you locate area mammals as best they can. Here is a look to the old reports if you want to read them. Feel free to shoot me any questions. We saw ocelots both trips…
When I was in Cancun and Tulum I tried talking to a local guide about finding me a kinkajou (mono del noche) in Sian Ka’an, but it never came through.. I think it’s possible though. In Tulum itself I wouldn’t expect any mammals, especially during the day.
Obviously in Chan Chich there are some good mammals.. Alan and his family saw an ocelot on 2 out of 2 visits… that’s 100% success rate.
If your trip wasn’t already booked and set, I would suggest you visit the nearby Tikal (cheap and short flight from Belize City) and spend the night there..
Otherwise, my advice would be to ask about night hikes/drives in all the places you visit. That’s the only chance you have at finding any interesting mammals in the Yucatan, other than the 2 monkey species, agoutis, coatis, and some squirrels.
Or maybe I’m wrong…?
I will send this on to Fiona Reid (who’s field guide I hope you have packed!). She is cruising the Amazon at the moment but will be back in a week or so I think. She may have some advice. I know she told me about a creek near Belize City. It MAY have been called Indian Creek (I am not sure) which was great at night… she tool a boat and saw several Water Opossums and other stuff. The Bermudan Landiing Community Howler Monkey Sanctuary was fun in 1989. If its still running then a boat trip along that river at night might be productive too. Fiona’s book has some info at the start about sites in Mexico and Belize that might be useful Jon
Tulum: tame raccoons and coatis frequently visit the dive shack at Cenote Manati; there are a few bat spp. in surrounding temples. Good night drives include the road to Calacmul, Hwy 261 and particularly roads around Mahahual. Xpihul has some bats, Bekal has spider monkeys (try sneaking in after hours). Punta Venado ferry terminal is a good place to look for Yucatan squirrel. Playa del Carmen has huge freetail colonies, but I wasn’t able to get access. My trip report from Cozumel is somewhere on Jon’s website.
As for Belize, in 2003 I found 10 spp. in three days. I only visited two places: Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve and Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary; both were pretty good.
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We spent time in Chichen Itza and Tulum last year. We didn’t actively look for mammals but saw agoutis and Yucatan tree squirrels (http://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/squ_gray.htm) at our lodge (Hacienda Chichén).We tried to hire a guide in Chichen Itza but the seasonal resident wasn’t there in May.
A non-mammal highlight for us was seeing the vast Caribbean flamingo colony at Rio Lagarto.
Tulum is crowded with people so you won’t see mammals easily. However it is near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve which is mostly a wilderness. You can hire guide there. Few roads – most movement is by boat. We didn’t get to Sian Ka’an because it decided it deserved its own trip.
Hope this helps.