Mexico’s location between so many oceans means that it is a hotspot for marine life. The allure of Baja for a Mexico cruise is irresistible for those wanting to see whales such as the gray whale and the hump-back or beautiful sea-lions and their cubs. The widest variety of whales and dolphins anywhere in the world can be found in the Sea of Cortez. Sea otters can be found on the Pacific side. Fur seals, sharks, and an array of fish species complete the marine community off the coasts of Mexico. This narrow stretch of water has a unique and diverse eco-system including many migratory species.
Oaxaca is the most bio-diverse state in Mexico and provides an important breeding ground for endangered species of sea turtles such as the leatherback. A large proportion of all bird species in Mexico can be found in this state.
The rainforests of Chiapas boast a large amount of biodiversity including species which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Mexico is ideally suited to eco-tourism pursuits such as trekking, kayaking and observing and appreciating the beautiful natural state of the country.
On land, mammals include the exotic coati, mythical jaguars, monkeys, wolves and bears in mountainous regions, and prairie dogs and bobcats in the lowlands. White tail deer, otters and pumas can all be found in the Copper Canyon. The climatic difference between alpine peaks and sub-tropical valleys creates a large variation in the flora and fauna in this area.
A Mexican vacation may also reveal exotic birds such as flamingos and toucans, along with herons, kingbirds, and giant kites. Over forty per cent of Mexican flora is endemic to the country including most species of cactus and just under half of all species of orchid. The Euptilotis species of the brightly colored Quetzal bird is almost exclusively found in western Mexico.
Mexico is part of a migratory journey for hundreds of species every year and one of these journeys has become celebrated in Mexico. Every year monarch butterflies from as far north as southern Canada make the long journey to Mexico. Only one in five will survive the journey but up to a hundred million will get there. The butterflies congregate in the oyamel fir trees in the states of Mexico and Michoacan. Mystical significance is attached to the autumnal arrival of the monarch butterflies because they arrive during Mexico’s day of the dead festival which has given rise to the belief that dead loved ones return to earth on the wings of the butterflies. This migration may have been occurring for thousands of years; the Aztecs believed that the monarch butterflies were the spirits of fallen warriors.
Mexico is one of the world’s mega diverse countries. It has more species of reptiles than anywhere else in the world. The country ranks second in biodiversity listings for species of mammals and fourth for flora and amphibians. Great concerns exist about deforestation and the destruction of wildlife habitats which has led to the creation of many national parks, reserves and sanctuaries. Mexico tours, wherever they lead, will always provide plentiful sightings of the natural world.