Mexico Parks and Recreation
El Naranjo Area
Driving Tour: From Matamoros, go S on Hwy 101 193 miles to Cd. Victoria. Take the bypass around Cd. Victoria and turn SE on Hwy 85 to Cd. Mante. Head S 15 miles to the small town of Antiguo Morelos. Clear your trip odometer and turn W on Hwy 80. Nineteen miles W, as you approach the Valley of El Naranjo, turn N on KM 169 on a paved road marked El Salto (waterfall). Look for Altamira Yellowthroat, Green Parakeet, Red-crowned, Yellow-headed Parrots. Clear your trip odometer. At 3.6 miles turn W in the village of El Meco and W again at 6.3 miles until you reach the end of the road at the gate of the hydro-electric plant. Turn S and park. Hike the path to the base of the falls. Water flows May-Aug. Look for Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Blue Bunting, Tayra. Return to Hwy 80, turn W and continue into El Naranjo. Just before the bridge on the W side of town, turn S on a dirt road that runs along the river. Look for Aplomado Falcon, Muscovy Duck, White-tailed Kite, Short-tailed Hawk. Return to Hwy 80, turn W and continue to El Sabinito. Look for Fan-tailed and Golden-crowned Warblers, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Blue Bunting, Bronze-winged Woodpecker. From El Sabinito the road climbs into subtropical oak forest. From Las Abritas, continue about five miles as the road enters a clearing with fields just before El Platanito. Look for Singing Quail, Long-billed Thrasher, Gray Silky, Crescent-chested Warbler, Crimson-collared and Hooded Grosbeaks, Military Macaw. From El Platanito, about four miles, you enter open ranching on the E side of Agua Zarca. Look for Rufous-capped Brush-Finch, Black-headed Siskin, Azure-crowned Hummingbird. W of Agua Zarca continue until habitat opens. Look for Red-crowned Parrot (spring), Glay-collared Becard, Bronze-winged Woodpecker, Spotted Wren, Flame-colored Tanagers.
El Rancho Corona
El Rancho Corona consists of 1,000 acres of forest on both sides of the Rio Corona. Contact Information: Call Maggie and Ashley Taylor at 011-52-131-7-19-14 for reservations. Directions: From Matamoros, go S on Hwy 101 toward Cd. Victoria. After passing thru Santander Jimenez, proceed 30 miles thru the village of Nuevo Padilla (24 miles NE of Victoria). Cross the Rio Corona. Bird Species: Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Muscovy Duck, Gray Hawk, Red-billed Pigeon, Elegant Trogon, Spot-Breasted Wren, Clay-colored Robin, Tropical Parula, Golden-crowned Warbler.
Gomez Farias/El Cielo
Bat Falcons are known to roost here. Good birding starts about 2.5 miles to 7 miles from Hwy 85 along the road or by taking narrow trails into the woodlands. Look for Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Fork-tailed Emerald, Rufous-capped Warbler, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Melodious Blackbird. The best birding is found above the town in El Cielo (biological reserve), a subtropical cloud forest. The road changes to a broke stone surface about a mile W of town (passable by regular car). Take a L fork in the road at 1.5 miles and two miles. The R fork is a foot trail to the small ejido of Alta Cima. A high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended from Hotel El Pino to reach Casa de Piedra or San Jose. Look for Swinging Quail, Tamaulipas Pygmy-Owl, backed Solitaire, Blue Mockingbird, Gray Silky, Crescent-chested Warbler, yellow-winged Tanager. Directions: From Matamoros, go S on Hwy 101, 193 miles to Cd. Victoria. Take the bypass around Cd. Victoria and turn SE on Hwy 85 toward Cd. Mante. Continue 65 miles and turn W on the paved road signed Gomez Farias. The village is about seven miles up a winding road thru brushy woodland and thickets. Butterfly Species: Broad-banded Swallowtail, Victorine Swallowtail, Mexican Dartwhite, White Angled- Sulphur, Yellow Angled-Sulphur, Boisduval’s Yellow, Bassiania Hairstreak, Clytie Ministreak, Cyna Blue, Rounded Metalmark, Falcate Metalmark, Zebra, Cuban Crescent, Haustecan Crescent, Malachite, Common Banner, Florida Purplewing, Red Rim, Ruddy Daggerwing, Pavon Emperor, Zestos Skipper, Zilpa Longtail, Golden-banded Skipper, Potrillo Skipper, Sickle-winged Skipper, Mournful Duskywing.
Driving Tour: From Matamoros, go S on Hwy 101, 193 miles to Cd. Victoria. Take the bypass and the new Hwy 101 thru the mountains 28 miles S of Cd. Victoria. Continue 13 miles to Jaumave. Check the trees around the plazas. Continue to La Florida. Four miles S of La Florida, turn E at Km 93 to Salto (waterfall). Drive and/or hike to El Salto. If it has rained recently, it is best to hike down the road to El Salto. A walking stick is recommended when trails narrow. Bird Species: Ash-throated Flycatcher, Military Macaws, Vermilion Flycatcher, Spotted Wren.
The road starts out thru agricultural land and climbs over low hills with extensive areas of thorn forest before dropping down to an area of lagoons and marshes, ending at the coast. Directions: From Matamoros, head S on Hwy 101 toward Cd. Victoria. About 28 miles S of San Fernando (about 113 miles from Matamoros), turn E on Hwy 180, signed for Tampico or Soto la Marina. From this junction it is about 53 miles to Soto la Marina. Turn E at Soto la Marina on Hwy 70 and go 30 miles to La Pesca. Bird Species: Thicket Tinamous, Tawny-collared Nightjar, migrant Chuck-will’s-widow, Yellow headed Parrot, Piping Plover.
Parque Ecological Chipinque
This is a beautiful ecological private preserve in the Sierra Madre Mountains, with oak/pine forest from a 2,640-foot elevation at the entrance to a 7,260-foot elevation at the highest peak. A 4,191-foot elevation is reachable by car with scenic vistas. The 4,015-acre preserve offers a visitor center, hotel, gift shop, restrooms, camping, 15 miles of walking/biking trails, playgrounds, snack food store, paramedics, park rangers and guided tours in English with park naturalists available by appointment. Contact Information: (8)303-0000. https://www.chipinque.org.mx/. Hours: The preserve is open year-round from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission: $5/car. Directions: From Reynosa take the Monterrey Autopista (Excellent Toll Hwy-approximately $35 roundtrip) to Monterrey. As you enter Monterrey, continue SW on Av Constitucion along the Santa Catarina (dry) River. Continue thru town, turn S on Av Gomez Morin approximately 32 miles over the Mountain into Chipinque. Continue crossing Av Alfonso Reyes and Av Roberto Garza Sada. Continue to the slope of the Sierra Madre Oriental to the park entrance. Bird Species: Brown-backed Solitaire, Clay-colored Robing, Rufous-capped Brush-Finch, Rufous-capped Warbler, Yellow-eyes Junco, Crescent-chester Warbler, Bronze-winged Woodpecker, Elegant Trogon, Mexican Chickadee, Blue-throated Hummingbird. Butterfly Species: Ornythion Swallowtail, Broad-banded Swallowtail, Mexican Tiger Swallowtail, Aripa White, White Angled-Sulphur, Yellow Angeled-Sulphur, Orange-barred Sulphur, Mimosa Yellow, Clench’s Greenstreak, Longula Greenstreak, White M Hairstreak, Blue Metalmark, Curve-winged Metalmark, Falcate Metalmark, Mexican Silverspot, Banded Peacock, Common Banner, Florida Purplewing, Red Rim, Silver Emperor, Rainbow Skipper, Mercurial Skipper, Zestos Skipper, Silver-drop Skipper, Tailed Aguna, Gilbert’s Flasher, Stalling’s Flat, Mottled Bolla, East-Mexican White-Skipper, Fawn-spotted Skipper, Osca Skipper, Purple-washed Skipper.
Playa Lauro Villar
No facilities. Directions: From Matamoros, drive E on Hwy 2, 23 miles to Playa Lauro Villar (the beach). At the salt marshes, a few miles before you reach the beach, look for nesting Mottled Ducks, Willets, Forster’s Terns. Drive onto the beach and turn N for 10 miles. Walk inland thru the salt marsh along the S side of the river. Bird Species: Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer and Long-billed Curlew, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Reddish Egret, Wilson’s Plover, Gull-billed and Least Terms, Seaside, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow.
Rancho Rincon de Anacahuitas
A privately owned, 30,000-acre ranch encompasses a variety of habitats including native brushlands, salty prairie grasslands, freshwater wetlands and extensive tidal flats with over 300 species of birds. The ranch conducts daily trips for groups of 10-24 with lunch and refreshments provided. Trips include a boat ride to view colonial bird nestling islands in the Laguna Madre. Contact Information: Call Jorge Martinez at 956-541-2777 or fax 956-544-7888 to schedule an appointment. Directions: 40 miles S of Matamoros along the Laguna Madre. Bird Species: White-tailed Kite, White-tailed Hawk, Reddish Egret, Green Jay, Botteri’s Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Olive Sparrow, Altamira and Hooded Orioles, Least Grebe, Roseate Spoonbill, Crested Caracara, Groove-billed Ani, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Wood Stork, Great Kiskadee, Chihuahuan raven, Common Pauraque, Peregrine Falcon.