Monarch Butterfly Migration in Mexico
Mexico: Monarch Butterflies, Colonial Cities, and Artisans of Michoacán
Where: Michoacán, Mexico
When: December to mid- March (peak monarch activity is from mid-January to mid-March)
Duration: 6 Nights
Accommodations: Luxury Hotels & Lodges
Why you should visit…
Every winter, the cloud forests in the mountains of central Mexico play host to millions and millions of over-wintering monarch butterflies. The annual migration of these monarchs from the Great Lakes region is one of nature’s greatest mysteries. Incredibly, four to five generations separate the monarch populations that make this long and dangerous migration. The monarchs creating the spectacle in Mexico are the great, great grandchildren of the generation that migrated there the year before. Seeing the sheer abundance of monarchs, bending fir branches with their weight and sounding like raindrops as they take to the air, is an encounter not to be missed. Add to this the colonial charms of Michoacán’s cities and artisans’ workshops and you have an unforgettable Mexico journey awaiting.
Day 1 – Arrival in Morelia
Upon arrival in Morelia, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for the evening. Morelia’s layout is a classic grid design with a central square. Shopping, museums, and historic attractions are within a few blocks of the square and your hotel. Overnight at Hotel de la Soledad.
Day 2 – Morelia
After a delicious breakfast at the hotel you will meet your private guide for a tour of the unique and historical city of Morelia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Morelia is known for its brilliant colonial structures and remarkable historical churches and boasts a perfect fusion of the Spanish Renaissance and a Mesoamerican experience. Each fragment of standing architecture celebrates the birthplace of many important players in Mexico’s rich history. Your tour will include a stop at Morelia’s famous candy museum and a local artisan’s workshop. Overnight at Hotel de la Soledad. (B)
Day 3 – El Rosario Monarch Sanctuary
This morning you will depart for the El Rosario Reserve. The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve spans almost 140,000 acres of rugged montane forests. Every fall, millions of monarchs arrive from North America to huddle in oyamel firs, painting the trees orange and bending branches with their weight. Witnessing this unique phenomenon is an exceptional experience of nature. Overnight at Hotel Don Bruno in Angangueo. (B)
Day 4 – Sierra Chincua Monarch Sanctuary and Patzcuaro
Today brings a visit to Sierra Chincua Monarch Sanctuary. Sierra Chincua Sanctuary isn’t as developed as El Rosario, but the monarch viewing is just as stunning. For those who prefer not to hike, an optional horse rental is available. Afternoon departure to Pátzcuaro and overnight at Posada Don Vasco. (B)
Day 5 – Janitzio Island, Yunuen Island, and Santa Clara del Cobre
After breakfast, you’ll have a boat tour of Pátzcuaro Lake with stops at Janitzio Island and Yunuen Island. You’ll also get to visit with community members on Yunuen to learn how they are living sustainably on the island. The day ends with a visit to Santa Clara del Cobre south of the lake. Cobre means “copper” and the area used to be a copper mining town. The mines are now closed, but copper crafting continues. Many stores have workshops at the back where you can see families, three to four generations side by side, crafting copper by hand. You can even purchase a one of a kind memento to take home. Overnight at Posada Don Vasco. (B)
Day 6 – Tocuaro, Tzintzuntzan, and Morelia
The town of Tocuaro, near Erongarícuaro on the western shore of Lake Pátzcuaro, is known for its mask carvers. These artisans do their work and their sales out of their own homes and today you will get an up close look at their artisanship. En route to Morelia, stop at Tzintzuntzan Archaeological Site. Tzintzuntzan, “The Place Where the Hummingbirds Are”, was the administrative, cultural and religious center of a far larger and older empire then the Aztecs ever held. Late afternoon arrival in Morelia where you have the rest of the evening to explore the city one last time. Overnight at Hotel de la Soledad. (B)
Day 7 – Departure or Optional Extension
Transfer to Morelia International Airport for flight back to the U.S or continue with optional beach extension on the Pacific Coast. (B)
Pricing for a group of four is $1525 per person based on double occupancy. For two travelers, price is $1955 per person based on double occupancy. Pricing for larger groups is available upon request.
Pricing is based on double occupancy and includes private transportation and tours, local bilingual guides, entrance fees, meals and activities as listed, lodging, and in-country airport transfers. A donation to local conservation efforts will be made on behalf of all clients.
Pricing does not include international airfare, optional horse rental at Sierra Chincua Monarch Reserve, passport/visa fees, travel insurance (highly recommended), items of a personal nature, or gratuities for the local guides.
Meals: B = Breakfast
Note: This itinerary provides a guideline of suggested activities, but daily schedules and lodging can be customized for each client.