Animals in the Riviera Maya: where to find them?
The Riviera Maya wildlife is nothing short of spectacular: admiring the animals in their natural environment, completely free and content, is one of the best experiences you can live while in Mexico.
The Riviera Maya can still be considered one of the most unspoiled environments in the world, a wild and beautiful place where you can admire wildlife in all its beauty. That means that, during your vacation, you will most certainly have the chance to encounter some of the rarest and most wonderful and unique animals on the planet.
Let’s take a look at the main stars of the Riviera Maya wildlife!
- Flamingos: these beautiful birds are native of Mexico and they naturally live in shallow lakes and lagoons. As it is well known, their long legs allow them to wade out in the water to feed that other birds cannot reach. Flamingos are also very social and that is why you will always see many of them gathered together. They can be found in the Isla Holbox, in a natural area called Rio Lagartos which is at the tip of the peninsula: here, you can take a boat and see these beautiful, colorful animals. They can also be seen in Celestun, on the other side of the peninsula.
- Iguanas: they can be found all over the Riviera Maya, especially in dry and rocky areas. Obviously they love sunny and quiet environments and, if they get scared or annoyed by human presence, they will scurry under sidewalks or holes just outside the downtown. Their favorite hangout is around the Mayan ruins in Playacar, where they are somehow a touristic attraction. Try not to bother the iguanas, respect the fact that they are very skittish and simply want to be left alone, relaxing in the sun.
- Butterflies: you will have the chance to admire several different butterflies, all wonderful and colorful all around the Yucatan Peninsula. They work hard in the area because they are busy pollinating the many plants, so do not be surprised if you will see even thousands of them fluttering around rural roads or even highways. The most common butterfly in the Riviera Maya is the Orange Yellow Sulphur butterfly: it feeds on nectar found in flowers and fruits. You will especially see these butterflies in the Tulum/Chemax area, near the Coba ruins.
- Grey Fox: it might sound surprising, but grey foxes thrive in the Riviera Maya! They are obviously very shy and wary animals, so it will not be easy to spot them, but they have been seen around the Calakmul Mayan ruins. Grey foxes love to eat fruits, small animals like rodents and insects and usually live in logs. If you spot one, just admire it from afar without bothering it: it will be a beautiful, rare sight.
- Tapirs: they are native to Mexico and the largest land mammal in the Yucatan area. Did you know that tapirs can weigh from 150 to 400 kilograms? Since they are large and strong, they are not easily attacked by predators and only rarely fall victims of apex predators such as jaguars and crocodile. Sadly, the peaceful tapir has also long been a target for humans and that is the reason why it is, today, listed among the endangered species. Tapirs love water so you will probably find them near ponds, where they can cool down and swim. They are mainly active at night. Treat them with respect if you see them: they are very precious!