Mexico’s expansive beaches and historical sites are legendary, to be sure. But Mexico is also a surprisingly rewarding place to view wildlife, featuring an array of lesser-explored nature reserves, eco-conscious zoological foundations and other locales.

According to the Mexico Tourism Board, Mexico is home to some 1,500 species of reptiles, mammals and amphibians that inhabit protected areas. These reserves dot the landscape throughout the country, providing off-the-beaten-path ideas for travelers looking to add some wildlife excitement to their vacations. In Aguascalientes, nature lovers can camp at Ejido Eco Turistico El Ocote and spot wild animals, including lots of wild turkeys and white-tailed deer, as well as foxes, quails, rabbits, boars, coyotes, bobcats, snakes and pumas.

In the state of Veracruz, Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve is the UNESCO-recognized habitat of some 877 species of vertebrates, including 46 amphibians, 122 reptiles, 140 mammals and 569 birds — including sparrows, parrots, eagles, larks and toucans. Companies such as Discover Veracruz offer multiday tours that include hikes in the rainforest and boat rides to see monkeys and tropical birds.

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