Millions of Monarch Butterflies make an epic journey every year from the USA and Canada to Central Mexico. I had seen this natural spectacle on one of Sir David Attenborough’s natural history documentaries for the BBC many years earlier and it had always fascinated me. Whilst investigating how to fill in a
Planning the trip
There are 4 main Reserves where the mass migration can be observed. Three of these are quite commercialised and used by day tours from Mexico City and Morelia. We were made aware of a more tranquil, eco-friendly option by a fellow house sitter friend Sharon (Nomadicwidow) and made the necessary arrangements. Word had spread amongst our group of fellow house sitters in Mexico about this option and our friends Dave and Sue (Whereverarewe) ended up booking a trip here ahead of us. This proved extremely valuable as they were able to report back the key information to us. They encountered challenging weather conditions and you can read Sue’s account of their trip here – Mixing with Royalty at 60
We arranged for a
Would the weather co-operate?
The one thing none of us can control is the weather and the Monarch Butterfly activity is purely dependent on the weather. If it’s cold and overcast then the butterflies just huddle together in the trees and do nothing. Should it be bright and sunny they warm up and fly about searching for nectar and dew. It took us a full day to travel from San Miguel de Allende to Macheros (two 4 hour bus rides and a 30 minute taxi ride) so we only had one day to visit the Butterfly sanctuary. If the weather had been unkind our plan B was to stay an extra day. Fortunately, the sun was shining as we rose for our big day.
An Amazing Day
The day starts with a short briefing from Ellen about the Butterflies around 10am as you walk through the village to get your horse. Jacqueline and I were the only guests doing the tour on this day so we had a private tour. Joel’s sister, Ana, would be our guide. The ride took just over an hour and each horse is lead up the mountain by a
Getting to the Monarch colony
As we ascended the mountain path I was amazed at the flowering plant life we were passing. Multiple varieties of flowering Salvia and other plants I didn’t expect to see at this altitude. But this is why the Monarchs come to this part of Mexico. As we gained altitude through the forest we started to see the odd butterfly feeding on these flowering plants. As we got closer to the colony the Monarch numbers increased until we finally arrived.
Words are difficult to come by to describe the sight of millions of Monarch Butterflies fluttering about in the sunshine. Please take a look at the video and you might get a small idea about how awesome this was.
Thousands were on the ground taking a drink of water from the dew attached to the grasses and weeds. The surprising thing was the number that
A journey of thousands of kilometres
We spent about two and a half hours mesmerised by the beauty of nature and this amazing phenomenon. To think that these delicate creatures had made a journey of thousands of kilometres to spend the winter in the same trees as their ancestors. More amazing is the fact that the ones here are a super generation that
The stillness and gentle sound of millions of butterfly wings flapping continuously is something we’ll never forget.
We highly recommend this once in a lifetime experience.