Every year, after traveling more than 5,000 kilometers from Canada to Mexico, the weary Monarchs descend upon the same Oyamel Woods located in the highest part of the Michoacán Mountains. This remote portion of Mexico has become a sanctuary for the majestic Monarch which hibernates here before traveling north to the United States and Canada. No other place in the world hosts these amazing and wonderful creatures.
Day 1 Mexico City
Arrive in Mexico City, the nation’s capital, where the contrast between the ancient and the modern is striking. You will be transferred from the airport to the hotel, where you will soon enjoy a welcome dinner and overnight. (D)
Day 2 Mexico City
This morning you will watch the city awaken over breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, we will visit two charming suburbs, San Angel and Coyoacan, with many quiet streets and lined with old and expensive mansions. Our first stop will be at the Bazaar del Sabado, a market with a festive atmosphere showcasing a great display of arts and crafts. Then to Coyoacan, a place with a great identity of narrow, colonial-era streets and plazas with a lively quality. Here we will visit the home of Freda Kahlo, now an art museum. Lunch in Coyoacan and then return to the hotel. Dinner at leisure. (B L)
Day 3 Tlalpujahua
Today we travel to Michoacán, a state where one can admire many native traditions as well as arts and crafts; a state full of natural beauty and our destination for the Monarch Butterflies. Our first stop will be the city of Toluca, capital of the State of Mexico. Toluca has the attributes of a large modern city, and yet, still maintains an element of colonial splendor. We will visit the botanical garden that contains thousands of different species of native plants and flowers. Besides being a former marketplace, the garden is located in a 19th century building with magnificent stained glass panels. You will also have the opportunity to walk to the Portales (arches) where you will find vendors selling the popular local candies and liquors. Plenty of time for lunch on your own and then continue to our hotel, Mision de San Antonio, near the town of Tlalpujahua in the State of Michoacán. Dinner and overnight. (B D)
Day 4 Tlalpujahua
Breakfast at the hotel and then visit the El Rosario Sanctuary for our first Monarch experience. Today we discover and experience the enchanting beauty and grace of the small but approachable Monarchs as they winter in the Oyamel forest courting and breeding. We will traverse mountain trails by foot and possibly horseback to witness the exposition in all of its grandeur among the forest streams, clouds, and fog of these mountain peaks which provide the ideal micro-climate and ecosystem to sustain these fascinating insects. We will picnic in the reserve. Then, we return to the hotel for a relaxing evening evaluating the local Mescal. (B L D)
Day 5 Tlalpujahua
Breakfast at the hotel and then explore the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary and our second encounter with the Monarchs. We will have a picnic lunch at the park and then visit the town of Tlalpujahua and learn about this historic mining town and its world-famous industry of Christmas ornaments. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
Day 6 Mexico City
Travel back to Mexico City and visit the Historical District, including the National Palace, the Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor. We also visit the new Plaza Garibaldi and the Tequila Museum. Enjoy our farewell dinner at a local landmark, Sanborns and the Casa de los Azulejos. Return to the hotel for overnight. (B D)
Day 7 Depart
Breakfast at hotel and then transfer to airport. (B)
This Tour Includes: Tour operates with 10 passengers minimum, tour includes strenuous hiking at 8,000 feet altitude, horseback riding is not required, however it is recommended, not recommended to those with walking difficulties, cold mountain temperatures – dress appropriately.