Mexico’s Magical Monarch Butterflies – 2020 Trip Report

Every fall, the longest known migration of any insect results in blankets of orange covering oyamel fir forests in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the butterfly sanctuaries provide overwintering habitat for millions of monarchs that have traveled 2800 miles from Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in Mexico. 

It’s still a mystery on how this generation of monarch butterflies finds their way to Mexico. These southern-bound monarchs are four to five generations removed from the pregnant females that started the northward migration the previous year.  

This stunning transformation of this Mexican Forest with the monarchs’ arrival is one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles.  Here are some highlights from our recent trip to two reserves (Piedra Herrada and El Capulin) in Mexico State.  

As temperatures start to warm later in the season, the feeding and mating behavior of the monarchs increases.
Cluster of monarchs on an oyamel fir at Piedra Herrada Sanctuary.
Mud puddling of monarchs in search of water and salt.
Lone monarch butterfly at El Capulin Sanctuary.
El Capulin Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary.
We had the best viewing of monarch clusters during our visit at El Capulin.

If you’re considering a trip to Mexico’s monarch reserves, feel free to contact us for more information.  We’re offering two small group departures in February 2021.  We can also create a custom itinerary for you anytime during the season.