Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa are famous for their safaris. Journeys where the main goal is seeing and photographing wild animals. Mexico is rarely seen as a safari destination, and it gets few tourists for this reason..ok, I have never seen lions or elephants on Mexican parks, but what about bisons, bears and they big white sharks?
Here are my top 12 recommendations to see exotic and wild fauna in Mexico:
1. White shark
Australia and South Africa are famous for their cage-diving with the super predator: the white shark. However, in my opinion Isla Guadalupe located in the coast of Ensenada (Baja California) is the best place to see this amazing and huge animal. Although it is not cheap (around US$2,000), the experience will be worth it. The best season for cage-diving is January to June.
Did you know that the third largest big cat in the world lives in the Americas, all the way from North Mexico until North Argentina? Though the jaguar is an endangered species in our contry, with a bit of luck you can find it in Calakmul (Campeche). In this Biosphere Reserve close to the huge Mayan ruins, you can hire a local service to follow the trail of the jaguar. This might take as much as 3 days in the jungle. You will grow into the feeling that it is the jaguar following your trail and not otherwise. I guarantee you that the search of this feline will be a nice small talk back home.
3. Black bear
You might be surprised to find wild fauna in a urban environment. Well, that is the case of Monterrey, located in the northeast of Mexico. Here you can find black bears coming down from Chipinque (urban park and reserve) searching for water during the extrem weather months in summer. If you are interested in seeing this animal, I suggest you to visit Chipinque in August. You can try hiking or taking a bicycle tour around this place. Sierra Picachos (a natural reserve about 80km far from Monterrey) is also home of this awesome animal. Here you can see some bear cubs playing with hikers in Chipinque.
United States is not the only place where you can find this magnificent and strong animal. Some time ago, huge herds of bisons grazed in all northern Mexico. However, in these days you can still see them in the northwest of Chihuaha, near of Janos area. In fact, 3 years ago a herd of bisons was reintroduced in this region. In Coahuila (Sierra de Arteaga) and Durango there are also ranches with semi wild herds. Some of this areas, especially Janos see their fair share of snowfall in winter time. Guess you were not expecting that in sunny Mexico.
5. Gray whale
6. Whale shark
Make sure to see the biggest animal of the world. You can find it in the calm waters of Holbox (Yucatan) and Isla Contoy (Quintana Roo) and even swim along it without problems. Maybe you will find a lot of people in high season (from June to August), but do not worry everyone can swim with the shark whale for some minutes because of its high speed that its out of reach for us.
8. Berrondo antellope (Antilocapra americana)
9. Sea turtles
A bird famous because of the feathers of its tail, that were exclusive used for the tlatoanis and governors of the pre-hispanic time, nowadays is endangered in Mexico. Its tiny size is inversely proportional to the sparkling colors of its chest and feathers. However, in order to see them you must go into the fog forest of south Chiapas, especially in the reserves El Triunfo or Montes Azules. As a recommendation, do not schedule a trip in rainy season, since its really rare for them to place on the branches on rain.
11. Monarch butterfly
Some generations of monarch butterflies take time to arrive from the forests of Canada, where they spend the summer, until the reserve in the east of Michoacan where they enjoy a warm winter. This means that not all of these butterflies complete their journey. However, in November you can see the branches of the trees saturated with millions of these orange, yellow and black butterflies. If you visit this reserve, you should be careful of not step on this little butterflies that do not reach space in the trees.
12. Prairie dog
It’s not a dog as its name says, the prairie dog is like a yellow squirrel. However, the reason of its name is because of the noise that resembles a barking when they’re calling each other. Its habitat is the arid climate of the north Mexico. The best place to see them is rancho El Tokio in Nuevo Leon, also in the highway from Juarez- Nogales, Monclova-Torreon, and Zacatecas-Saltillo. If you come to visit Saltillo, make sure to go to Museo del Desierto, where you can find a special area of prairie dogs. This animal is the favorite of the kids, because of their nice face.