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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Mexico: The Lacandon Rainforest and Maya Ruins

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Mexico: The Lacandon Rainforest and Maya Ruins. Its sole purpose is 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: U.S. citizens traveling to and from Mexico must have a passport, valid for at least six months after the date the tour ends, or another secure, accepted document to re-enter the United States. Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their nearest Mexican embassy. 

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at  , and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Mexico at

PACE OF THE TOUR: We will be making early starts into the field, with 5:30 a.m. breakfasts on most days. It gets hot and humid early, so we will return to the hotel around midday for lunch and the option of a (recommended) siesta – some days we take a 2-3 hour break in the middle of the day (diehard birders can always look around the hotel grounds, which are great for birds).  Afternoon birding excursions (two afternoons we simply bird on the hotel grounds) are optional for those who wish more relaxation. Dark comes early in the tropics, so we don’t have any late nights.

Walking is mostly on level ground but a couple of trails have some steeper sections, which may be slippery after rains. There are also options to climb some of the temples at the sites, which should be done with care. To reach the ruins of Yaxchilan we take a motorized canoe along the Usumacinta river for about an hour.

HEALTH:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations for Mexico can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at 

Malaria: It is the opinion of the Centers for Disease Control that travelers to the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas are at low risk for malaria. You should consult further with your doctor about the CDC’s recommendation and what action you should take. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. 

Miscellaneous:  Insects and arachnids are seldom a major nuisance although chiggers and biting gnats can be locally numerous. Careful application of repellent provides good protection and the leader will advise you when it will be necessary. 

We have found that with careful eating habits, intestinal problems can be largely avoided. In most of Mexico, it is unwise to drink untreated water. Bottled water and soft drinks are reliable and widely available. Imodium or Pepto Bismol in tablet form can be recommended as the best treatment for occasional traveler’s diarrhea.

CLIMATE: Daytime highs on this tour could reach the low 90s F, with lows possibly in the 50s F. Rain is quite possible. We strongly recommend bringing a folding umbrella.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Our modern hotel in Villahermosa offers all the standard amenities, while our lodge at Palenque is very comfortable with extensive, birdy grounds and a great swimming pool. Our lodge in the Lacandon have comfortable rooms with plenty of birding on the grounds. All rooms have air conditioning or fans, and private bathrooms; telephone calls/faxes can be made from the front desk. The Villahermosa and Palenque (and sometimes even the Lacandon) hotels offer wireless internet connections, although service may be intermittent, not overly fast, and should not be relied upon.

FOOD: Dinners and most other meals are at our hotels, but on two or three days we may have a picnic lunch or eat lunch at a restaurant along our route. Early breakfasts are simple, with yogurt, bread, and eggs. Lunches and dinners are ordered off the menu. As in most of Mexico, the usual dishes are not spicy unless requested or if hot sauce is added. Most dishes come with rice and a cooked vegetable.        

Food Allergies / Requirements:  We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: Transportation is by 12-passenger or 15-passenger vans. Tour participants should be able to ride in any seat in our tour vehicle(s).

Updated: 05 February 2018