The Yucatan Jaguar Journey
On this expedition you will travel to the Quintana Roo jungle in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to search for the mysterious jaguar, the iconic beast that was a spiritual symbol to the native peoples of Mesoamerica. While trying to find this magnificent animal via its tracks, sign, and the bird alarms that it triggers, you will also be on the lookout for other impressive creatures including ocelots, pumas, tapirs, tamanduas, peccaries, crocodiles, and dozens of tropical bird species. And you will get the chance to explore ancient Mayan ruins and visit other idyllic natural wonders like caves, cenotes, and lagoons that contain a wealth of fauna and flora and offer great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing in paradise!
The Yucatan Jaguar Journey
December – May
Experience & Activity Level:
Previous tracking experience helpful but not required.
Participants should be in good physical condition and
be comfortable with high humidity, getting wet, etc.
3-4 star lodges and tent camps
Starting at $3,990 per person ($320 single supplement)
- Quintana Roo jungle
In historic times the jaguar ranged from the southwestern U.S. all the way through to nearly the tip of South America. Today, however, it only exists in a few remaining biospheres in North America, including the Quintana Roo jungle on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. This extraordinary trip will be the rare opportunity to search for this legendary cat in its natural habitat along with numerous other exotic mammals, birds, and reptiles that inhabit the northern most tropical jungle of the western hemisphere.
Upon landing in Cancun, you will be transferred to the ancient Mayan walled city of Tulum where your exciting journey will begin. Here you will be able to relax along the beach after your flight and explore the old ruins sitting atop the shoreline, which functioned as a Mayan port city and are some of the best preserved in all of Mesoamerica. The following day you will travel to the heart of the jungle in Quintana Roo, where you will meet with your guides and hear presentations describing jaguar behavior and ecology, current research and conservation projects, and threats to its continuing survival.
Over the course of the next five days you will go on foot in different sections of the Quintana Roo jungle searching for jaguar tracks, trails and other sign including scat, scrapes, and kill sites (i.e. carcasses that have been predated upon). Your expert guides will teach you how to identify jaguar spoor and also how to use bird language alarm calls to determine if a jaguar is in the immediate area and if so, which way it is moving. While spotting a jaguar in the wild if quite difficult, if we hear the relevant bird alarms or find fresh sign we will follow the trail to see if we can catch a glimpse of this king of the jungle.
Each morning we will start by looking for fresh jaguar sign near our camp, then do a bird language listening exercise to see what are feathered friends are telling us about where this large predator might be located before we start our hike through the jungle. During our time listening to the birds and while walking under the thick canopy, we will also be on the lookout for sign and sightings of numerous fascinating animals including other wild felines (pumas, ocelots, margays), tapirs, Mexican black howler and Yucatan spider monkeys, deer, peccaries, and many others.
After spending several hours in the morning traipsing through the jungle, you will break for lunch and the heat of the day to rest, get some lunch, and swim in the lagoon near our camp. Later in the afternoon after you have rejuvenated, you will take another hike in the jungle to see what animals might be active after the hot temperatures of midday have subsided and the animals begin moving again as dusk approaches. As darkness falls, we will return to camp for dinner around a campfire with the sounds of the jungle serenading us as we eat a well-earned meal and prepare for bed.
For the last two days of your adventure you will depart the jungle and visit some other natural wonders, first heading to Cenote Azul (a sinkhole) where you will swim in its transparent emerald waters. From there, you will go to Kantemo town and the nearby cave where you can view the amazing snakes and bats that inhabit its depths, and then onto a nearby lagoon for a canoe ride to gaze upon the crocodiles that bask in its waters. Finally, after you wake up the following morning in the rustic Kantemo cabins, you will go for a scenic bicycle ride and then a snorkel with majestic marine turtles before heading back to Cancun for your departure flight the next day. As you board your flight heading home, you will undoubtedly have a feeling of bliss from all the amazing things you have experienced during the last ten days!