A few years ago, I did a six-week road trip through Mexico. I visited a lot of great parts of the country, but one of the highlights was the monarch butterfly sanctuaries near Valle de Bravo and Patzcuaro, Michoacan.
My memory was jogged by a story in The New York Times that reported a large decline in population, primarily due to climate and the increased use of pesticides in the U.S. Read the full story here.
Called one of the “earth’s great migrations”, the monarchs in Mexico is an amazing in experience. You can hike into the hills to see them, or you can ride a horse uphill to their sleeping “quarters”. Clustered in pine trees in the mountains, the butterflies awaken every morning as the sun warms their bodies and glide to lower elevations for water. There are so many, you can HEAR them as they fly overhead.
I have seen the great wildebeest and zebra migration on the Serengeti in Africa and the monarchs are just as impressive. You still have time to go see them this month before they begin their trek back to the U.S. Hopefully, they will have a better summer than last year.
The Reserva Mariposa Monarca is in eastern Michoacán, although there is a small reserve also in the state of Mexico east of Valle de Bravo. We loved staying at the Rancho San Cayetano near the Cerro Pellón. A truly great hotel with an outstanding restaurant and homemade jam from local fruits. Don’t miss this if you are in the area around Zitácuaro.