Monarch Butterflies Migration in Mexico

In February I traveled to Mexico visiting the historic city of Morelia, observed the tremendous monarch butterfly migration, and pyramids outside Mexico City.

Monarch Butterflies Migration in Mexico

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Norman on August 12, 2007

I traveled from Miami, Florida via Mexicana Airlines to Mexico City, then a connecting flight to Morelia, Mexico. I spent a wonderful day in Morelia, then I was two days visiting butterfly preserves, then I took a bus ride to Mexico City and a last day visiting the pyramids before my flight home. Rocamar Tours planned an excellent itinerary in order to experience the thousands of monarch butterflies. Paul and Warna Justice are the owners and the tour guides for the excursion. The hotels were nice, all meals were delicious, the additional tour guide was great, and the most important part, the trip centered on viewing the butterflies.
My group consisted of 22 people using 2 comfortable vans. They picked up individual participants at the airport as they arrived, making several ‘special’ trips.
Paul was an excellent guide, quite knowledgeable of the area and the sights. The drives during the day were reasonable and always interesting. We traveled over country side and through small towns.
The tour was at a leisurely pace, never feeling hurried.
Rocamar Tours${QuickSuggestions} Use ATM machines to get Mexican Pesos. The machines are readily available and reliable. There you will receive the best exchange rate.

${BestWay} In Morelia, walking is the way to go. I was on a tour that provided transportation.
From Zitcatcuaro we rode a bus (several available) to Mexico City. It would compare to an American tour bus, comfortable enough for the three-hour ride.
In Mexico City we hired a private tour guide, Aviamex, so we could see the most we could in our limited time. We were picked up at our hotel and dropped off at the airport.

Hotel Soledad

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Norman on August 12, 2007

This 300 year old hotel is conveniently located in the middle of historic downtown, within walking distance of many buildings, churches, parks, restaurants, and shopping. The hotel is beautiful with an open courtyard with vine covered walls. Our room was spacious with a simple bathroom. The walls had hand painted trim with old wood furnishings and Mexican decorations, quite nice.

The breakfast buffet had a variety of foods to choose from, something for everyone’s taste, with many Mexican dishes. A nice selection of fresh fruit was available. The food was good, though be aware that some of the recipes are a bit spicy. Of course, you serve yourself so first take a taste of what interests you. Breakfast is included with the room rate.

Contact Outside Mexico (800) 716-0189
In Mexico (443) 3121888
Fax for USA and Canada (800) 423-4106
Hotel Soledad

Hotel de la Soledad
Ignacio Zaragoza # 90
Morelia, Mexico, 58000


Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Norman on August 12, 2007

Morelia is an important colonial city and the birthplace of Mexico’s independence from Spain. In the historic district you will see buildings that are similar to 16th-century Spanish architecture. This area is very clean and a wonderful area to explore and shop. There are many stores and several marketplaces, including the candy market, where you can purchase cultural crafts, food, and souvenirs at reasonable prices.
Take the time to tour the historic buildings and the churches. On Saturday nights, the largest church has the lighting of the cathedral and its surrounding buildings. It is accompanied by dramatic music and is a sight worth experiencing. The main street is closed and quickly becomes crowded with many spectators to watch the event.
The people are friendly and it is well patrolled by police. I always felt safe and at ease while walking around the city, both day and night.

Monarch Butterflies Day 1

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Norman on August 12, 2007

You must travel to a reserve to view the butterflies. During our tour we visited two reserves in two days. The reserves were the less visited by tourists of the several reserves. At both reserves you have the option of renting a horse, an additional 200 or so pesos, or hiking to the area where the butterflies are congregated. Unless you are quite physically fit and used to high altitudes, you should ride the horse. Both reserves were near 8,000 feet elevation at the base, and then about a 45-minute ride including another 1,000 feet of elevation to see the butterflies.
At the first preserve’s base there was a few souvenir stands and places to buy snacks, all quite reasonably priced. We bought nice T-shirts for about $5.

The horses and the ride up were nice. Every horse had a guide on its reins. The climb up was moderate and we traveled through a beautiful forest. After the ride we had to walk about the last half mile to see the butterflies. This walk was easy, though I did need to catch my breath a few times because I live at sea level and now was at 9,000 feet.

The drive, the ride, and the walk were all worth it when I saw the butterflies. We walked to an open area where a reserve guide was stationed to be sure we stayed within their boundary. Ahead of us were thousands of monarch butterflies. It was truly a tremendous sight. Here we were on flat ground and the butterflies were ahead of us, and surrounding us, in the trees. There are so many that leaves, limbs, and tree trunks disappear being completely covered with butterflies. About every 10 minutes many butterflies would release from the branches and fly. What a wonderful sight. Since there were so many, you can hear the wings making a sound like a quiet rain. Some would fly among us, sometimes landing on us.

We were allowed to remain there around 45 minutes, during this time only our group and a few other visitors were watching. When the next group was coming, then it was time for us to leave. While we were there, we had to keep quiet. The only sounds I heard were the butterflies' wings, a few whispers, and lots of cameras.

Monarch Butterflies Day 2

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Norman on August 12, 2007

On the second day we visited Chincun Reserve, and this experience was even better. Once again most people rode horses for the almost one-hour trek to the butterflies from the base area. This time, the horses were not led individually, so the horses did sometimes move out of line to pass each other. This was not a problem. The ride up took a little longer than the previous day because it was a steeper climb. Those who hiked the trail had a formidable task.

Soon after we left the base we started to see butterflies. There were small groups along the trail, and at times you rode through them. It was quite a special experience. Once we made it to the ‘top’ it was a short walk to the viewing area. However, this walk was on a path along the side of the mountain. We then sat comfortably with thousands of monarchs in front and above us. We could also see into the valley and watch as others fluttered by. This afforded us great views and perspectives for pictures. The butterflies covered many branches and tree trunks less than 20 feet in front of us. I could have sat there all day.

The ride down was great, with butterflies around us much of the way. At one point, an open ‘trail’ crossed our path and thousands of monarchs flew across our path. It turns out they were coming down from the higher elevation to get water down below. This once-in-a-lifetime experience was better than anticipated, quite worth the effort of the journey. In two days I gained a lifetime of memories.

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