ECOTOURISM AND ADVENTURE IN CAMPECHE

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Ecotourism and Adventure in CAMPECHE

Ecotourism in Campeche is lived between majestic jungles and mangroves, fill your vacations with unforgettable adventures! If you are looking to reconnect with nature and live it to the fullest, you will love ecotourism in Campeche. Get ready to go through jungles surrounded by tropical jungle and Mayan culture, mangroves and petenes surrounded by rich wildlife.

Ecotourism and Adventure in Campeche
Ecotourism and Adventure in Campeche

Unlike other states of Mexico where specific regions have already been established for the practice of ecotourism and adventure activities, some circuits are just beginning to be developed in Campeche. This opens the opportunity for experienced explorers to travel, perhaps for the first time, to unknown places, such as shipwrecks that lie in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico or lost and half-buried Mayan cities in the dense jungle vegetation.

Whether in local canoes, modern kayaks, on foot or by bicycle, endless expeditions can be made, as many as the imagination allows. In the region called Río Bec, the ancient cities of Becán, Chicanná, Xpujil and Hormiguero, known for their distinctive architectural style, still preserve many mysteries among their constructions.

Further south lies Calakmul, the largest Mayan city yet discovered, located within the biosphere reserve of the same name. This reserve has an area of 723,185 hectares, covered by dense tropical jungle, home to the night monkey, the tapir, the ocelot, the wild boar, the deer, the jaguar, the spider monkey, the saraguato and five of the six species of cat. wild that inhabit the American continent, as well as by more than 230 species of birds, among which are the wild turkey, pheasants and toucans, and species in danger of extinction, such as the king vulture.

This wealth of flora and fauna species makes the reserve highly visited by bird watchers and photographers. The lagoon systems, such as Laguna de Terminos, and the coast, are also magical places where you can enjoy nature to the fullest, especially when visiting the nine turtle camps located along the coast, where research, protection and release of chelonians.

Other protected areas of the coastal zone where photographic safaris and ecotourism tours are carried out, mainly for the observation of flora and fauna, sailing among the mangroves, are the Protected Area of Flora and Fauna of Laguna de Terminos, the Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve and the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve. These are some of the Campeche sites waiting to be discovered by you.

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Map of Ecotourism in CAMPECHE

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Adventure in CAMPECHE

Sport Fishing in Campeche

The natural reserve of the “Petenes” is known as the sanctuary for the baby tarpons, which are found year-round. The best season is between March and September, although sport fishing can be done throughout the entire year.

Punta Varadero is another good spot, this is a very relaxing location. Try your hand at catching the croaker, the sábalo, the jack mackerel, barracuda, and red porgy. It is very important that fishermen bring their own equipment, whether it is spinning or flyfishing.

Bird Watching in Campeche

Campeche provides unique possibilities for bird watching, there have been identified approximately 489 different species of birds. Among the best places are: Isla de Pajaros (Bird Island), Palizada, the protected natural area of Petenes, and the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. Some of the most common species are: the kingfishers, white heron, ibis, flamingos, grays, pelicans, egrets, cormorants, and many others.

Xtacumbilxunaan Grotto
Xtacumbilxunaan Grotto
Speleology in Campeche

The Xtacumbilxunaán Cave, very close to the town of Bolonchén, constitutes an impressive system of cavities created approximately seven million years ago, and they are considered the most important caves in the peninsula due to the almost vertical arrangement of some of their chambers.

The first chamber that can be visited without a guide and along a path offers interesting scenes of calcareous formations, stalactites and stalagmites. Other secondary chambers whose route requires some practice and experience, have stairs. It is located approximately two hours from the city of Campeche.

Sport Hunting in Campeche

Campeche has the densest rainforest of the Yucatan Peninsula with a great diversity of fauna, like: cougar, red and brown temazate, white tail deer, wild boar, old head, tereque, tepezcuintle and badger; as well as ocellated Turkey, hocofaisan, cojolite, mancolo, type of guan (chachalaca), partridge, and scaly pigeon. This is the perfect place to practice this activity.

Underwater Archeology in Campeche

There have been located 23 different shipwrecks in the coast of Campeche. The sites correspond to different time periods, ranging from the 17th to 20th centuries. There are three visiting sectors:

Sector A, the sites can be visited by beginner divers. It is located no more than 15 km from the Campeche coast. In the “Bahía” (Bay) and “Vapor” (Steam), there are 20th Century objects. While in “Dársena Cannon” there are objects from the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Sector B, the wreck sites lie in deep water and they are not very near the coast, so the sites are only recommended for experience divers. Today most of these wrecks have become coral reefs in their own right. The sites are: Perla Blanca (White Pearl), Rey Mar (King of the Sea), Emilio Manuel, and Don Lin.

Sector C, named “La Barcaza” (The Barge), is 80 km from Seybaplaya, and it is only for experienced divers.

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Ecotourism in CAMPECHE

Campeche is great for adventure seekers, you can practice trekking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, photo torus and camping. Campeche has six protected, natural areas:
  • Calakmul
  • Terminos Lagoon
  • Ria Celestun
  • Los Petenes
  • Balam Kin
  • Balam Kú.
The total protected area represents the 40% of the state’s area, 22,300 square miles is natural reserve.

Calakmul

Calakmul Biosphere Reserve
Calakmul Biosphere Reserve

It is the largest tropical reserve in Mexico. It has an area of 1,800,000 acres. Its dense vegetation includes “guayacan”, mahogany and “palo de dye”. It is the habitat for species like the jaguar, the cougar, the ocelot, the howler monkey and the little spotted cat. It has around 300 species of birds and some orchids endemic to the Yucatan peninsula. Together with the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, it forms a large protected area with a unique area of biodiversity on the planet.

In the Calakmul reserve there are more than 500 animal species, many of them in danger of extinction, and more than 1,500 species of flora. It conserves, for example, one of the largest populations of jaguars and felines such as puma, ocelot or ocelot coexist; or, it has more than seventy different species of orchids.

It is a great natural junction point between the Caribbean Sea, the Lacandona jungle, and the Petén forests. It is considered to be the second most important lung in the continent.

Here you will enjoy the best of rural tourism, since you will meet the local communities that promote respect and love for the nature that surrounds them, through guided activities. You can also hike through the jungle or cycle through it, in addition to visiting the ancient great Mayan metropolis of Calakmul.

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Terminos Lagoon

Terminos Lagoon
Terminos Lagoon

It is the largest tidal lagoon located entirely on the east coast of Mexico. There have been identified 279 bird species and is the habitat for crocodiles, “pejelagartos” (large freshwater gar), and different kinds of crabs. It is a known breeding and nursery area for dolphins, turtles and the manatees. The Candelaria and Palizada Rivers are excellent options for kayak tours.

Candelaria: In this town is one of the largest rivers in the state of Campeche, excellent for tours either upstream or downstream. In this last direction, about 16 km ahead of the town, there is a place called Salto Grande, where you can see a beautiful waterfall surrounded by wide grasslands, tropical vegetation and mangrove populations.

The walk is also rewarded by magnificent views of herons, wild parakeets and howler monkeys. In the waters of the river it is possible to fish good specimens of sea bass and mojarra.

Palizada River: Important flow that is one of the branches of the Usumacinta. The river has been an important commercial enclave since the end of the 17th century, since the famous dyewood that was exploited in the region was transported through its channel.

A walk along the river, starting from the town of Palizada and ending in the Laguna de Terminos, will allow the visitor to discover an interesting aquatic world full of landscapes and abundant flora and fauna, particularly due to the occasional appearance of some manatees and dolphins.

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Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve

Ria Celestun
Ria Celestun

Celestún is an old fishing village in the west of the State of Yucatán. A few kilometers to the south begins the territory of the State of Campeche. Celestún is known worldwide for its rich animal life, especially for the pink flamingos that have become the icons of this Biosphere Reserve.

Ría Celestún was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2000, comprising territories of the states of Yucatán and Campeche and the municipalities of Calkini, Celestun, Maxcanu, Hunucma, Halacho. Celestún Nature Reserve is home to 18,000 pink flamingos and is considered the cradle of ecotourism when that word didn’t even exist.

The full name is Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve. Celestún means in Mayan: fear of stone or painted stones, although the reason why it was given the curious name is not known. The area encompasses different habitats, such as mangroves, petenes, dunes and coastal savannahs, and an area of floodable forest. In the 81,482 hectares of protected area, 304 species of animals find refuge.

The Celestún estuary covers a space of 27 kilometers of salt water in which the waters of the Mexican Caribbean merge with those of the forty freshwater springs that emanate from the subsoil. The mixture of fresh and salt water that mixes in a wide mouth to the sea is ideal for the proliferation of bird species, both sedentary and migratory.

The metamorphosis of the waters of the reserve is constant. The intense red of the mangrove dye mixes with the turquoise green of the springs.

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Los Petenes Biosphere

The Los Petenes Biosphere in Campeche has a wide variety of natural settings, perfect for ecotourism. The Los Petenes Biosphere is an extensive area of wetlands of 300,000 hectares, forming islands and islets of mangroves on the coast of Campeche.The name “Petenes” is of Mayan origin, and is used to designate those circular formations of nature, present in the swamps of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Los Petenes Biosphere
Los Petenes Biosphere

This is one of the most important biosphere reserves in the Americas in the region due to the large amount of fauna and flora that make it up. In the Los Petenes Biosphere in Campeche, you will find a great diversity of ecotourism activities to do, in incredible natural landscapes. One of the main ones is bird watching, thanks to the fact that the reserve is an important nesting place for various species of seabirds.

Another favorite ecotourism activity is kayaking or boating through the mangroves. In the latter, the tour is complemented by important talks about care and respect for the environment. You can also take a tour to Jaina Island, for which a permit from INAH is required. The tour through the natural landscapes of the reserve should not be missing from your visit

In the Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve you can also camp and enjoy visits to the old haciendas in the area, such as Tankuché, Sodzil, Santa Cruz and Chunkanan. There are also tours to the ecotourism centers of Ich Haa Lol Shaan and El Remate.

The Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve is located north of the state capital and southeast of the Gulf of Mexico, very close to Celestún. It covers the coastal municipalities of Campeche, Tenabo, Hecelchakán and Calkiní.

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Balam Kin

It is a conservation zone in Campeche, which includes the municipalities of Hopelchén and Calakmul, the area is a mosaic of natural landscape units, where it is possible to observe from low floodplains to hills.

Its climatic characteristics, its types of soil and the presence of bodies of water are known as aguadas, which are very basic for the subsistence of fauna, they make up particular ecosystems that allow the existence of the dominant types of vegetation such as the low evergreen forest. (34.71%), the low deciduous forest (48.57%) and the deciduous forest (16.72%).

Balam Kin
Balam Kin

The flora of the region includes species such as jabín, guayacán, disheveled, cedar, mahogany, redwood, ramón, sapodilla, orchids, bromeliads, xiat, granadillo, chechén, jobo, pucté, blackberry and tzalam among others.

Many specimens have a risk and protection status. Almost 20% of the flora has been impacted by human activities such as the furtive logging of precious species, such as mahogany, cedar, guayacán, granadillo and ciricote; however, most species have a long growth process.

The access and interior roads are only gaps opened in previous years by logs and chicleros. Its fauna is made up of a large number of species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, many of them reported under some risk status, whether threatened, endemic, rare or in danger of extinction.

Here you will find five of the six felines that live in Mexico, represented by the jaguar, the ocelot, the ounce, the tigrillo and the puma. Species such as the howler and spider monkeys, the ocellated turkey, the toucan, the hocofaisan, the king vulture, the cinnamon partridge, the gray hawk and the jungle falcon, among others, also inhabit.

In addition, some endemic species such as the dwarf woodpecker, the flycatcher and the blue magpie are present in the area.

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Balam Kú

Nestled in the jungle of southern Campeche, and whose name means “Jaguar Temple”, Balamkú probably had its heyday between 500 and 650 AD. It consists of three architectural groups that occupy an approximate area of one square kilometer, the most important being the Central and the South.

Balam Ku
Balam Ku

In the first, Structure I stands out, with a substructure that has a magnificent frieze made of stucco, with masks of the monster of the earth and aquatic animals. The South Group is very small, with four squares and a pyramid whose upper part has a temple with the remains of stucco images. The architecture shows interesting features of the Río Bec style and artistic influences of the Petén style.

In Balam Kú, where you can admire the frieze of Substructure I-A that shows a crocodile accompanied by aquatic plants, emblems of the humid and fertile land and that represent the transition between two worlds.

Here is the famous bat sanctuary that is known as “Volcano”, since it was formed by a landslide and has a depth of 40 m. The cave has a 120 m wide entrance and the most impressive thing is that around 5 or 6 in the afternoon, you can see between three and four million bats coming out, as if they were floating lava.

This phenomenon can only be compared to another similar place in Malaysia. The bats spiral through the air into a compact group heading south. There is a huge buzz that is caused by the flapping of wings, which complements a unique experience.

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