Mexico Birds & Blossoms Sketching Tour

Dates:  March 1-5, 2017
Tour Fee: $1,725 single / $1,425 double occupancy
Leaders: Christine Elder
Questions: Contact leader Christine Elder
How to Register: Click the button below to view and download the tour itinerary and registration form.


  • Art instruction, complimented with the natural history and ecology of this fascinating region.
  • A full day at the famous Vallarta Botanical Gardens, rated by Trip Advisor as one of the “Top 5 things to do in the Puerto Vallarta area.” Their beautifully landscaped grounds have extensive collections of native orchids, palms, tillandsia, tree ferns, tropical fruit trees and a butterfly garden. We will enjoy lunch at their excellent restaurant, with dining on the deck overlooking the Horcones River and cooled by Sierra Madrean mountain breezes.
  • Accommodations at Rancho Primavera, a lovely private estate nestled among the oak woodlands of the southern Sierra Madre and just outside the 16th century pueblo of El Tuito. Here we will sketch, stroll and birdwatch on this 200-acre ranch that supports over 215 species of birds, including parrots, trogons, cuckoos and several hummingbirds. Birds are easily viewed as they come to visit the many seed, fruit and nectar feeders right outside the veranda.
  • We donate $100 per person to support habitat conservation for locally endangered species.

Bonus #1: Your trip fee includes Christine’s new online course, Introduction to Nature Sketching, which comprises eight modules through which you can progress at your own pace, either before the retreat or anytime afterwards. It covers basic skills for sketching plants and birds in the field, taught using video tutorials and downloadable ebooks. This course normally sells for $125, but trip participants receive it for free!  

Bonus #2: You'll also get a field sketching kit like the one Christine uses; complete with pencils, pen, brush,watercolors, journal and sturdy recycled carrying bag (value $75) .



You’ll study with professional naturalist, teaching artist, and biological illustrator, Christine Elder. Her experience as a freelance illustrator includes projects for organizations such as the National Park Service and the Botanical Society of America. Christine has been teaching people of all ages and ability levels to draw and paint nature’s wonders for over twenty years. Christine has led bird sketching workshops at birding festivals in Jamaica and Mexico and is a frequent arts instructor in her home state of Oregon. Christine is also a frequent co-leader of other Paradise Birding tours, having traveled  from Alaska to Florida, and to international destinations such as Borneo, Italy, Honduras, and the Caribbean. In Mexico, she will share her best secrets and techniques for sketching birds and blossoms in pencil, pen and watercolor.


My every wish granted–from the racket of the dawn chorus to tasty home-cooked meals using local fare to Christine and Francisco’s professional guidance, fielding this newbie’s questions. Rancho Primavera– is a beautiful hideaway in rural Jalisco, hosted by Pat and Bonnie, a vivacious mother and daughter team who have lived at the Rancho for decades, I felt part of the family
— Marion Davidson, Oregon