Oaxaca sits at the juncture of two distinct biogeographic realms within Mexico—the Pacific and Atlantic (Gulf) slopes. Combine this with its rugged, mountainous topography and you get the most biodiverse state in the country. From warm cactus deserts to chilly conifer-cloaked ridgetops and bromeliad-laden cloudforests, and from thorny Pacific coastal scrublands to lush lowland Gulf rainforests on ancient limestone ledges, Oaxaca boasts a staggering number of habitats that translate to an impressive number of birds, several of which are found nowhere else. On our venerable Oaxaca Valley tour, we explore the numerous habitats surrounding Oaxaca City. If you've taken that tour, or plan to take it at some point (and you absolutely should!), here's an opportunity to experience “the rest” of Oaxaca!

For this relatively new tour, we'll start in Oaxaca City and head south into the mountains (the Sierra Madre del Sur) in search of White-throated Jay, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, and Red-headed Tanager near the picturesque town of San Jose del Pacifico. We'll then bird our way down the winding highway to the Pacific coast resort town of Huatulco, searching the cloudforest for Blue-capped Hummingbird, Gray-crowned Woodpecker, and Wagler's Toucanet (the endemic Pacific form of Nothern Emerald-Toucanet, which many authorities consider a separate species). We'll spend several days birding the dry coastal forest in Parque Nacional Huatulco, where we'll have the chance to see the flashy Red-breasted Chat, the monotypic Flammulated Flycatcher (which looks like a miniature Myiarchus), Citreoline Trogon, Spot-breasted Oriole, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Orange-breasted Bunting, and Lesser Ground-Cuckoo. A night excursion here could yield Mottled Owl, Pacific Screech-Owl, and maybe a Northern Potoo! If the weather allows (and it usually does), we'll enjoy a morning boat trip off the coast. Here, thanks to a subduction zone, the sea floor falls away to a depth of more than 3000 feet just a few miles offshore, so birds and marine mammals that occur in the pelagic zone can be seen within a relatively short boat ride within sight of land. We may see a number of shearwaters including Galapagos, Wedge-tailed, and Pink-footed, both Black and Least storm-petrels, and any of the three jaegers. Red-billed Tropicbirds and Brown Boobies may also be among the birds we spot from the boat. Humpback Whales and Spinner and Spotted dolphins are generally the most common marine mammals in these waters, and local biologists have recorded 21 species of whales and dolphins over the years, so who knows what else might show up? Yellow-bellied Sea Snake and two species of sea turtles are also likely.

From Huatulco we’ll drive the coastal highway to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, land of the stunning Rosita's Bunting and subtle Sumichrast's Sparrow. We'll scope the coastal wetlands for waterbirds and bird the thornscrub before crossing the isthmus over to Tuxtepec on the Gulf side, where we'll spend the next few days. The limestone outcroppings in this area are home to the unusual and very locally endemic Sumichrast's Wren, another bird named after the Swiss-Mexican ornithologist who spent a considerable time in Oaxaca in the late 1800s. During our exploration of the Gulf cloudforest, we'll keep our eyes peeled for goodies like White-naped Brushfinch, Slate-colored Solitaire (check out a recording of that bird!), Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, and Unicolored Jay.

These are just a few of the nifty birds we hope to find—the actual list of potential species is almost mind-boggling! All this, combined with Oaxaca's famously delicious cuisine, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes, is sure to make this a delightful getaway. So dust off your binoculars, pack your sense of adventure (and your appetite!), and prepare for 12 days of outstanding Oaxacan birding!

Select the KEY INFO tab or click here for our itinerary plus space requests, status, fees, limits, and guides for any departure.

Combo Tours
If you would like a longer birding holiday, some departures of this tour may be combined with: