Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Oaxaca and Western Chiapas. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
ENTERING MEXICO: US citizens need a valid passport for entry to Mexico and return to the US. Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their nearest Mexican embassy. Tourist cards are required and are distributed by your entering airlines.
MAPS AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Mexico in the University of Texas series here. You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information here, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Mexico here.
HEALTH: It is the opinion of the Centers for Disease Control that travelers to the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas are at risk for malaria. The recommended anti-malarial drug for this area is chloroquine. You should consult further with your doctor about the CDC’s recommendation and what action you should take. You can review the latest CDC traveler’s advisories here.
PACE OF THE TOUR: As with all tours in the tropics, we will try to be in the field at dawn or shortly afterward. Mercifully, this does not entail a 4:30 am departure, as in some other regions. Most birding sites are 30 to 60 minutes from the hotels, with the exception of the drive from Tehuantepec to Oaxaca City, which takes most of the day (with birding stops and lunch en route). Most or all breakfasts will be picnic-style in the field. Some lunches will be picnics, and some will be in restaurants. All dinners will be in restaurants. On several days we plan an afternoon break (siesta) after lunch, when it will be too hot for enjoyable or productive birding.
Birding in and around the Valley of Oaxaca is at five thousand feet, and other than uneven ground, and a few narrow, scrubby trails, the walking presents no particular problem. We’ll venture up to 8,000-9,000 feet in the mountains of Chiapas and Oaxaca, where we’ll be birding on dirt roads and not in any rush. Near Tehuantepec and Arriaga, we may be on narrow trails (one quite steep) in thorn forest, and at El Sumidero we’ll be birding mostly from a paved road. Near Arriaga, some may wish to venture onto the sandy mudflats, which could involve getting wet feet.
CLIMATE: Overall the weather should be warm (70s to 80s F) and dry (inland) to humid (near the coast), although possibly cool (40s) in the early mornings, especially around Oaxaca City. We rarely encounter rain, except at El Ocote (which is rainforest), but light rain or mist is possible in some areas, especially at Cerro San Felipe.
ACCOMMODATIONS: We stay in comfortable hotels throughout the tour, with private bathroom facilities and restaurants.
TRANSPORTATION: Transportation is by 12- or 15-passenger vans.
SMOKING: Smoking is not allowed in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any lodge, accommodation, or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than the WINGS policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read the About WINGS Tours. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
FINAL INFORMATION: Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Updated: June 2013