They were here long before the tourists, the hotels…even before the Mayans who called this place their home.
Who are they? They are the unbelievably colorful, beautiful and sometimes dangerous animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
While there are many, here we present seven animals to marvel your eyes, and maybe help your heart skip a beat…
To the Mayans he is Balam…The largest of the big cats in the Americas, the jaguar features prominently in the mythology of native cultures, including the Maya and the Aztec. Dense forest is his preferred habitat, and like the tiger, enjoys swimming. While they tend to stay far away from noise, you can see them in places like Xcaret Park.
They are the largest of the ctenosaura lizards, and can grow as long as 1.5 meters ( 4.9 ft.) Known for their large spiny crests (especially on males), you can find these lizard kings and queens sunning themselves all over Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and even sunning themselves on your favorite archaeological monument like the Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza or Tulum… After all, it is their home.
You’ll find these mischievous creatures throughout the Mayan World…their long, spider-like limbs give them their name. Often weighing as much as 20 lbs, their arms are much longer than their legs, and their tails can support their entire weight and can be used as an extra limb. You might just see them in the jungles of our area, especially if you are on a Xenotes Tour.
You’ll hear these monkeys before you see them, and their call is quite distinctive. Their characteristically deep howl will announce their presence to everyone and everything in the area. Mexican Howlers form large groups of up to 40 members or more, but due to loss of habitat, are on the endangered species list.
Mexican Red Rump or Black Velvet Tarantula
You can find this creature right here in the Mexican Caribbean and throughout Mexico, but they can also be found as far south as Belize, Yucatan, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Like most tarantulas, they’ll eat anything they can overpower, namely insects, lizards and even rodents, and are important for the control of those species’ populations.
Despite their scary appearance and reputation, tarantulas are not generally aggressive toward humans.
With colors much brighter than that character on your cereal box, the Keel-billed Toucan will blow you away with its beautiful and vivid beak and feathers. Rarely seen alone, you’ll see these beautiful tropical birds hopping through the trees in our jungle forests with six to twelve other friends.
If you take the Tulum Extreme Tour, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these vivid members of our animal kingdom!
The Whale Shark
Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, but fortunately for us they only eat planckton and krill! From May to mid-September, you can find pods of these gentle giants swimming in the waters off the coast of Isla Mujeres and Cancun!
Whale shark tours are always in HUGE demand during those months, so make sure to book your Whale Shark Tour well in advance!
Our Caribbean waters and jungles have some of the most interesting habitats for some of the world’s most spectacular animals. We know you came here first for the beaches and the turquoise blue waters off our coasts. But if you really want to be in your own Discovery Channel or NatGeo Animal special, take a tour and meet some of the spectacular animals of Cancun and the Riviera Maya!
At ecotourism-cancun.com, our mission is to find you the most exhilarating vacation tours and excursions experiences around, and to help you save time, money and effort doing it!