Firefly Magic in Mexico (July 13-17, 2021)

Synchronous fireflies put on one of Mexico’s most beautiful lightshows in summer. For several weeks from June to August, hundreds of thousands of fireflies in forests near Mexico City join together in a synchronous pattern of flashing all at once. It’s mating season and showy flashes help males and females identify each other.  The light show is so consistent you can set your watch to it.

In addition to two nights in the heart of the firefly sanctuary, we’ll explore vibrant Mexico City and historic Tlaxcala. Join Butterfly Pavilion and Reefs to Rockies for this incredible nocturnal wildlife spectacle in Mexico. 


Day 1 (Tues, July 13): Arrival to Mexico City ~ Upon arrival to Mexico City, you’ll be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. If you arrive early enough, an optional tour of Chapultepec Castle is available. 

Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express – Reforma

Meals: None

Estimated drive time today: 45 mins to 1 hr from airport to hotel (depending on traffic).

Day 2 (Wed, July 14): Mexico City/Nanacamilpa ~ One of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, Mexico City is a fascinating capital that seamlessly blends old and new. The city is also world-renowned for its culinary scene. Your first full day in Mexico begins with an introduction to the city’s most beloved street foods. For locals working in the city, it’s just as cost-effective to go to a local vendor for a freshly prepared meal than to bring food from home. During our walking tour, we’ll meet popular vendors and learn their stories as we sample a variety of local favorites from cemitas to tlacoyos.

This afternoon, we’ll leave the city and head to the forests near Nanacamilpa where we’ll spend two nights in the heart of the firefly sanctuary. There’s no electricity here, but Quinta Valentina’s location is hard to beat.

As day turns to night, we’ll walk about a mile to the viewing area in the forest. As the light show begins, we’ll see a flash here and there.  Then, the number of flashes steadily rises into a swirling mass of light just out of reach.  At the show’s climax, thousands of fireflies are swirling and lighting up synchronously. It’s hard to describe what it feels like to be in the midst of this magical light display.

Accommodations: Quinta Valentina

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Estimated drive time today: Mexico City to Nanacamilpa is approximately 2-2.5 hrs.

Day 3 (Thurs, July 15): Nanacamilpa/ Tlaxcala ~ We’ll start the day with a nature walk to gain an appreciation of the surrounding forest by daylight. Nearby Tlaxcala, one of the oldest cities in the country, is home to some of Mexico’s most beautiful sites. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring Tlaxcala’s historic center. 

No two days in nature are the same. Our day ends with another spectacular firefly display.

Accommodations: Quinta Valentina

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Estimated drive times today: Nanacamilpa to Tlaxcala is approximately 1 hr each way.

Day 4 (Fri, July 16): Nanacamilpa/ Mexico City (Xochimilco and Zocalo) ~ Upon return to the city, we’ll visit Xochimilco Floating Gardens, Mexico City’s famous canals and the last remnants of a water transport system built by the AztecsWith its colorful trajineras (gondolas) and chinampas (traditional floating gardens), Xochimilco offers visitors an explosion of colors and festive experience. The chinampas are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are still used today for cultivation. 

Recap trip highlights during our Farewell Dinner this evening at a lovely restaurant overlooking the historic Zocalo, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accommodations: Zocalo Central

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Estimated drive times today: Nanacamilpa to Xochimilco is approx. 2.5 hrs; Xochimilco to Zocalo is approx. 45 mins to 1 hr (depending on traffic).

DAY 5 (Sat, July 17): Mexico City/ Departure ~ Transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Drive Time Today: 30-45 mins to airport (depending on traffic).


Price: $2295* per person based on two people sharing double occupancy accommodations. Surcharge for private accommodations on single occupancy basis: $375*

Includes accommodations, private transportation, full-time local bilingual guide, trip host from Butterfly Pavilion, local guide at firefly sanctuary, entrance fees, meals as listed, purified water in vehicle, gratuities for included meals and local guide at firefly sanctuary, and sales taxes. A donation to support local conservation efforts will be made on behalf of all participants. 

Excludes international airfare, passport fees, travel insurance, optional activities, taxis, optional gratuities (for full-time guide, driver and housekeeping staff), and personal expenses. 

Group size: 6-8 participants + guide + host from Butterfly Pavilion