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El Refugio de Potosí
A Center for Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Education
Home Welcome Your Visit Exhibits Biodiversity Our Whale Story Guide to Local Common Birds Guide to the Common Butterflies Links Contact Us Honor Roll & Memorials Wind Telephone Español
Panoramic Vista - Observation Tower
View from Observation Tower

See the view the birds see. Climb 50 feet to our safe and shady observation platform. Catch a cool breeze as you enjoy the magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean. Visually explore the nearby lagoons, forest and mountains.

Tropical Promenade

Regard many species of our native plants while strolling along the trail. The plants are labeled with scientific and common names. This foot path is not easily accessible to wheel chairs or strollers.


They are as ancient as the dinosaurs. Though once abundant in Mexico, iguanas are now threatened from loss of habitat and human predators. Visit our iguanario; see black and green iguanas at all stages of development.


MacawsAbundantly cheeky, gloriously colored, with intelligent behavior, sensitive personalities, and innate curiosity, New World Parrots enchant us. They are known to be long lived, uniquely monogamous and mate for life. Sadly, they are endangered in the wild due to poaching and habitat destruction. At El Refugio you have the opportunity to enjoy the macaws in our new Guacamayario. This grand aviary allows the birds to fly, soar, play and destroy the toys we have provided for their amusement.

Hummingbird Commons

HummingbirdFound only in the Americas, these tiny birds hover in mid-air by rapid wing flapping which creates the humming sound for which they are named. Of metallic iridescence and bright colors, we are captivated by their beauty and fascinated with their territorial aggression. Enjoy them as they sip the nectar of their favorite plants and from our many feeders.

Our Own Cachalote

Sperm Whale SkeletonSperm whales are toothed whales found in all oceans. They have the largest brains of any animal known to have lived on earth. The head is one third of the length of the body. We collected our cachalote bones during the summer of 2009 from the rocks below Huamilule Hill. It was a heavy, hot and stinky process to lug enormous bones over the rocks, while avoiding the waves. The 18-meter skeleton we prepared can truly be considered "awesome".


We provide sanctuary to a limited number of local wild animals for rescue and rehabilitation. Our goal always is to release these animals back into the wild. Occasionally, animals will not survive release and remain in El Refugio as ambassador animals. You may have an opportunity to visit and interact with them.

School group with Lala, a tree porcupine

Wildlife Ponds Bring Birds & Butterflies

To date, 285 species of birds have been registered in the region of Barra de Potosí and El Refugio. Many of these are birds that migrate south for the winter. Notably 14 of the species seen here are endemic; found only in Mexico! Our lily-filled wildlife ponds attract birds for bathing, drinking, perching, and hunting. Sit in the respite of the shade and enjoy the birds that visit. Along with birds, our region hosts a rich array of butterflies. 188 species of diurnal butterflies have been recorded locally. Their brightly colored wings with unique patterns deserve a pause of appreciation. Revel in their brightly colored wings and delicate flight as they visit flowers to sip nectar. Linger for a moment, life is short for a butterfly; they are the breakfast bar for a wide range of animals.

Coatimundi aka Tejón

Yellow-Headed Amazon aka Tres Marias Amazon Parrot


Boy with baby deer


Laurel with scorpion and tarantula


Marbe eating fruit with Lala