Mexico: El Triunfo: Mar 08—18, 2018

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Departs: Tuxtla Gutierrez
Ends: Tapachula
Tour Limit: 12
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (154.2 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Brian Gibbons

Brian Gibbons grew up in suburban Dallas where he began exploring the wild world in local cr...

Local Leader

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Horned Guan

Horned Guan— Photo: Ted Eubanks

An extraordinary wilderness experience in the greatest cloud forest reserve in Mexico. Enjoy untrammeled wilderness, Horned Guans, and numerous other birds while gaining total immersion in the natural riches of El Triunfo. Numerous endemic species and spectacular scenery.

In the high mountains of southern Mexico, there is a valley that many naturalists describe as the most beautiful they have ever seen. The plentiful rainfall and fertile soil of this region have produced one of the world’s most remarkable cloud forests. Here, huge trees laden with orchids and other epiphytes tower above the forest floor; ferns the size of trees reach heights of 40 feet. And as spectacular as the plant life is, the birds are equally marvelous. Aldo Leopold, the great conservationist, believed that for every place there was one characteristic bird sound. For El Triunfo, at least three stand out in a superb chorus: the explosive song of the Brown-backed Solitaire, a thrush that nests in crevices right beside the trail; the haunting, plaintive song of the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the world’s most spectacular birds; and the extremely low-pitched humming that is the mating call of the Horned Guan, a bird so bizarre as to seem not of this world.

The hike from Finca Prusia (a large coffee plantation located at an elevation of about 4,300 feet) up and over the ridge to El Triunfo, will take us about six hours with ample stops along the way for birding. Beginning the hike at Finca Prusia means that we start hiking at a much higher elevation than if we had started from the Pacific side; we therefore have a much less arduous hike, and enjoy cooler temperatures as we journey up to Triunfo. As in the past, we’ll have three full days to enjoy the wonderful El Triunfo valley and trails.

Our hike out will take us down the south side of the Sierra Madre with stops at Canada Honda to seek the rare Azure-rumped Tanager, and at Paval, an extremely rich location at the base of the mountain. The entire transect from north to south will take us from a large coffee plantation shaded by numerous inga trees, up through pine, oak, and sweet gum forests to montane cloud forest, down through dry open pine forest, into a lush subtropical canyon, then through a beautiful uncut forest of huge oaks, and finally down into lowland tropical evergreen forest and tropical deciduous forest. It is truly one of the great hikes in the world for anyone who loves nature. Pack animals will carry our gear, leaving us free to walk at a leisurely pace and to enjoy the sights and sounds of the trail including the haunting “toledo” call of the Long-tailed Manakin; the soft hoots of Tody, Lesson’s, and Blue-throated motmots; and the pure flute-like notes of the Rufous-and-white Wren. Come with us to El Triunfo and experience the best of wild Mexico.

Excellent trails; birding on foot with light packs; tented camping; cool mornings and warm days.