amphibian expedition

The Alta Verapaz spikethumb frog

amphibian expedition

The Alta Verapaz spikethumb frog

The Alta Verapaz spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla teuchestes) is one of the most endangered frogs in Central America.

Join this amphibian expedition to contribute to the conservation of critically endangered amphibians in Guatemala, and develop a deeper appreciation for wildlife, and connect with your true nature.

Found nowhere else in the world, this enigmatic frog is endemic to the Xucaneb mountains of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. First recorded in the 1960s, it was more recently discovered by the Indigo Field Team in 2015.

Critically endangered, the survival of the spikethumb frog is threatened by habitat loss and disease.

Saving the spikethumb frog

amphibian Expedition

Explore with Indigo and discover the mysterious cloud forests of Alta Verapaz

This amphibian expedition offers you the opportunity to get involved with wildlife surveying and practical habitat conservation activities.

You’ll spend time experiencing the mysterious cloud forests first hand, connecting with the nature around you.

You’ll get involved with hands-on conservation activities such as improving amphibian breeding opportunities in the agro-ecology areas.

From surveying for rare amphibians, to keeping an eye out for tree vipers, each day offers an opportunity to experience conservation in action.


Your questions answered


Our Amphibian Expedition is open to anyone with an interest in the natural world, who wants to make a positive contribution to conservation.

Which Species?

The area is highly biodiverse with over 50 species of amphibians and reptiles. 100’s of birds from eagles and hawks, to hummingbirds and trogons – even the quetzal has been heard here!

Other striking species

Since 2014 Indigo Field Teams have recorded a total of 36 species of reptiles and amphibians. Among some of the most striking are alligator lizards, helmeted iguanas, and palm pitvipers.

Expedition Location

Our amphibian expedition visits the educational and research facility of Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC) located in a secluded valley a few kilometres east of Coban, in the region of Alta Verapaz.


A comfortable shared dorm awaits you, with its own bathroom and even hot water heated by the wood burning stoves in the kitchen. Wake up each morning to a stunning sunrise over the Xucaneb Mountains as the morning mist rises revealing the breath-taking cloud forest.

Cost Includes

From the time you are picked up by the Indigo Team in Guatemala, all in-country transport, accommodation, food, water & field training is provided! All you need to do is cover your flight to Guatemala City, grab your travel insurance, and cover any extra sundries.

Expedition Cost

11 Days £1,099

amphibian expedition 2023 Dates

18 Sept to 28 Sept.


Small group travel. Places limited to 12. 

Why explore with Indigo?

Discover what we have to say!

Rob Cahill talks about crucial amphibian research by Indigo Expeditions at CCFC

Rowland Griffin talks about saving the spikethumb frog of Alta Verapaz.



The Quecchi are the largest of the contemporary Mayan groups in Guatemala. While they like to keep to themselves, they are also very welcoming and you will leave having made many new friends. Typical of Mayans, the Quecchi of Alta Verapaz are renowned for their rich and beautiful weavings, which often depict animals such as deer and of course the quetzal, Guatemala’s national bird.

Outside of the bigs towns, like Cobán and Santa Cruz, most Quecchi still live in small villages high in the mountains, and rely on subsistence farming as a way of providing for their families.


Since 2014 we have surveyed the populations of amphibians and reptiles at Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC), an organisation committed to alleviating poverty and protecting forests through education, and reforestation.

We have found 53 species of amphibians and reptiles during our conservation surveys, as part of our amphibian project to support ecological improvements to agriculture.

Many of the amphibians and reptiles at CCFC are endemic to the mountains of the Central Highlands and are considered in danger of extinction.


The mountains have a pleasant climate for most of the year, with temperatures generally reaching a maximum of 28 degrees centigrade on warm days. Most mornings start wrapped in clouds, something well worth getting out of bed to witness. Usually it rains for about an hour in the afternoons, especially in the rainy season, but expect the clouds to come in at any time of day.

The combination of regular rain followed by sun make for a spectacularly green and luscious forest, and a paradise for biodiversity.

Discover Alta Verapaz

The heart of the cloud forest region of the Central Highlands, and home to Guatemala’s national bird, the resplendent quetzal. 40% of the amphibian species in Alta Verapaz are found nowhere else in the world.

Alta Verapaz is the heart of the cloud forest region of the Central Highlands of Guatemala. The forests of Alta Verapaz are unique and not only home to the country’s national bird, the resplendent quetzal, but also to many species of endangered amphibians. About 40% of amphibians in Alta Verapaz are found nowhere else on the planet.

Over the last few decades much of the forest in Alta Verapaz has been lost to ever expanding agriculture. This expansion has been driven in part by the highest population growth rates in Guatemala and Central America. As the forest is lost, the tree’s no longer form the clouds from which the habitat gets its name. This means the land tends to dry out and crops fail, causing more deforestation.

Indigo Expeditions work closely with Community Cloud Forest Conservation to help better understand how agroecology practices can be used to both alleviate poverty and provide viable habitat for endangered wildlife. We believe that be working in partnership with nature we can provide for this, and future, generations.


I want to thank you very much for this amazing (I hope not once in a lifetime) experience. I am also very grateful for your patience and teaching me and sharing so much invaluable knowledge with me.

This adventure will certainly have a huge positive effect in my career for a herpetologist. I still can’t believe how many wonderful and unique species we were able to see and how much did I learn from them.

I wish you all the best in your current and future projects, and as a Guatemalan, thank you very much for what you are doing for this country and its unique nature.

Dani Gygax

This is the third time I have out to this amazing country and spent it not only with a good friend, but a great teacher in fieldwork and practical herpetology.

The accommodation and food at CCFC was amazing and to absorb the essence of this part of the world has seriously made my year.

This trip in particular was important for me to learn the techniques of amphibian disease sampling and the continuing and “vital” conservation work Rowland is achieving.

I couldn’t recommend this experience more!


My expectations have been blown out of the water in every respect. To be able to be part of such important work is a truly gratifying experience.

I have learnt new skills in terms of the chytrid and biometric work as well as brushing up on  my field survey skills.

The whole experience has been one of inspiration and personal enrichment, truly, truly unique.

I cannot wait to return to Alta Verapaz.


amphibian expedition