Monarch Butterflies, Colonial Cities, and Artisans of Michoacán

Visit two monarch butterfly sanctuaries in the state of Michoacan, colonial cities, artisans’ workshops, and Tzintzuntzan Archaeological Site
When: December to mid- March (peak monarch activity is from mid-January to mid-March)
Duration: 7 Days/ 6 Nights



  • El Rosario and Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries
  • Morelia
  • Patzcuaro and Janitzio Island
  • Yunuen Island
  • Santa Clara del Cobre
  • Tzintzuntzan Archaeological Site
  • Tocuaro

Sample Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrival ~ 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 or similar.

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 or similar. (B)

DAY 3: El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary and Angangueo ~ 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 or similar. (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 or similar. (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 or similar. (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)



Meals: B=Breakfast

Pricing from $1900 per person based on double occupancy.

Package includes private transportation and tours, local bilingual guides, entrance fees, meals and activities as listed, lodging, and in-country airport transfers.  A donation to support local conservation efforts will be made on behalf of each participant.

Exclusions: international airfare, optional activities including horse rental at the monarch reserves, add-on extensions, gratuities, passport/visa fees, taxis, and travel insurance.

This sample itinerary is a suggested outline.  It can be customized to best suit your travel plans.

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