We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Which Morelia hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
posts: 49
reviews: 48
Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

Would appreciate some current info on visiting the Monarch Butterfly reserves.

We will be in Morelia for a few days in several weeks and would like to visit a reserve. The highly recommended guide Luis Miguel is no longer with Mich Mex Guides. So I wondered

1) Would you recommend MMG tours with other guides, any one in particular?

2) Is Luis Miguel is giving tours. If yes, how to contact him?

3) Any other tour companies that are good or to be avoided?

4) Or any other private guides? And approximate cost?

5) Do tours generally go ahead if rain is forecast? Is there much difference in the weather/temperatures in the reserves compared to Morelia (i.e is it colder?)

We will not have a car, so see a tour as an opportunity to see some of the region and hike in a natural area as well as see the butterflies.

Thanks for your help!

San Miguel de...
Destination Expert
for San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast
posts: 4,360
reviews: 97
1. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

No personal experience out of Morelia, but MMG has a good reputation. Once in the reserve you will be with a local guide, so you need to ensure the MMG guide has reasonable English and can translate if you don't speak Spanish. I would guess the tours go when they have the bookings, since the weather up there is very changeable. The clouds roll in by the middle of the day so the idea is usually to get there late morning in the hope that there will be enough sun to activate the butterflies. Morelia is around 2000m and the reserves are well over 2500m. When I went it started snowing!

posts: 35
2. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

Just got on the forum and see you've posted a similar question to mine.

Good to know about MMG. I am going to Morelia and will be there beginning of February. I'll be traveling alone and interested to go see Monarch Butterflies.

Does MMG provide services to both El Rosario Reserve and to Sierra Chincua Reserve?

Also there is an Audubon Society chapter in San Miguel Allende and they have a Monarch Butterfly trip planned in mid-February. It's too late for me, but here's the website if they have useful info for you: http://www.audubonmex.org/



San Miguel de...
Destination Expert
for San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast
posts: 4,360
reviews: 97
3. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

Friends of mine did the Audubon trip from San Miguel a couple of years ago, and did not consider it good value for money. There are others in town who can take you for the day.

posts: 49
reviews: 48
4. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

A followup to my questions now that we did the tour!

We went ahead and did the tour with Carlos at Mich Mex Guides, http://mmg.com.mx., current price for group tour is on their website.

I would recommend the tour with Carlos - he speaks English well. He had some set speeches about history and the monarchs. He was better at responding to questions than providing continuous commentary. Some of his comments were a bit cryptic and only when we ask more did we truly understand. He was a safe driver. We most respected him for his patience with an older couple who ascended the path to the monarchs very slowly because of the altitude. We were not sure that they would make it. The climb starts with steep steps. At the top as we neared the butterfly location of this year the path was more level. Carlos patiently accompanied the slow couple with many stops to rest at the frequent benches along the path. (They declined the option of horses for 80 pesos each way. We didn't see any horses on the path so there must have been an alternate trail for them). My husband and I went ahead with the local guide (who spoke no English and I very little Spanish). As a result we spent more than 30 min. in the magical area where the butterflies were congregated at the end of the path.

Despite my worries about the weather, the day was perfect. Cool in the shade (50-60's?) but sunlit so many butterflies were flitting about while others still coated the trees and branches. From the languages overheard most visitors were Mexican with maybe a quarter from USA and Europe. Signs request that people be silent so you mostly heard the fluttering sound of the wings of the butterflies....and an airplane when my husband tried to record it.

The tour is essentially the same as described the post

"Tour to Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary ”Feb 09, 2009 by txtomx

with following changes: lunch is NOT included. nearly everyone ordered lunch (about 50 pesos each with soft drink) since it was 3:30 pm and we hadn't lunched yet. We paid 10 pesos each for walking sticks. Restrooms (small fee) available at parking lot. On the way back to Morelia, Carlos offered option of clients paying an additional 120 pesos to use the toll road to Morelia and cut 45 min. from the trip. Since it was divided between 3 couples and dark (6:30pm), we took the option. Carlos was somewhat preoccupied with arranging future trips on the way home, but with the long day no one minded much. I think we were back in Morelia Centro at 7:30pm.

The widely, highly recommended guide,

Luis Miguel is no longer with Mich Mex Guides. The government tourist office did not have another contact address/phone number so assume that Carlos's statement that Luis was doing something else now meant he is not available as a tour guide.

The reservation process through the MMG website is not clear. I received an excel file with a form indicating that I had a reservation but no information about where/when to meet or answers to questions that I had asked nor that an additional confirmation in Morelia was expected. Not knowing where to meet the tour, the day before the tour we contacted Carlos with some effort via the Spanish only government tourist office (C.A.T.) at Plaza de Armas since we did not have access to a phone at our lodgings.The tour was delayed because another couple, also unaware of the need to reconfirm in Morelia and the time of the tour, were not expected by Carlos until minutes before the tour was to begin (8:30 am). We were actually lucky, since he then exchanged the car (which would have been an uncomfortable ride for 4) for a van that was quite comfortable for the 6.

All in all, the butterflies made it a marvelous day!

posts: 2
reviews: 70
5. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

Great report! We may take that tour next month. Exactly how did you contact Carlos when you were there and where did you meet to start the tour?

Edited: 4:32 pm, February 17, 2013
Patten, Maine
posts: 12
reviews: 9
6. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

My husband and I just went to see the monarchy butterflies last Friday at Cerro Pelon reserve. Macheros (it is about 20 minutes from Zitacuaro, and a two hour drive from Mexico City or Morelia) is the village at the trail head. The reserve is truly breathtaking and not touristy at all. We hiked up instead of riding the horse up and enjoyed watching the butterflies for hour and a half while we were eating our sandwisches. I would love to watch the butterflies again when I visit Mexico again.

We stayed at the recenlty opened B&B by Joel (http://jmbutterflybnb.com) and joined his tour to go up to see the butterflies. I do not speak Spainish and glad that Joel speaks good English because he lived in the US for 11 years.

At night time, we enjoyed our pulque collected by Jasmine (Joel's sister) and the fresh trout made by Rosa (Joel's mother). The delicious trouts are from Joel's father's trout farm nearby. I wished that I could post some photos here with the billions butterflies.

posts: 49
reviews: 48
7. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

The CAT office called Carlos for us. I think Carlos expected us to the call the phone number listed under contact us at

http://mmg.com.mx. Anther couple said that the small travel agency across the street from the Hotel de la Soledad arranged the tour with Carlos for them. We met him in front of the CAT office, and picked up another couple at the Hotel de la Soledad.

Alexandria, VA
posts: 4
reviews: 79
8. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

Just found this website for local tours to the sanctuaries. toursbylocals.com/TBL/…

Ithaca, New York
posts: 1
reviews: 6
9. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

I'd just like to second YeShanghai's post about Joel and the reserve at Cerro Pelon. We were there a week before him, on February 17, 2014. It is much less touristy than El Rosario and there are many butterflies, though surely fewer than previous years. We also hiked up - 900 meters to 3,300 meters (11,000 ft). Joel was very engaging and supportive. We could have gone horseback, but we preferred to walk. We stayed as long as we wanted by the site - about 2 hours. We watched as the butterflies became active when the sun came out, flyng around to the extent we could hear their wings. We saw large branches and trunks covered with them. It's magical to see them in this beautiful, mostly virgin tall forest.

Joel is someone from the local town trying to make an ecotourist business work. This is what people need to do there, since their livelihoods have been restricted for ecological concerns. They understand well the ecological needs of the area and the butterflies in particular. I might mention that this contrasts with US Midwestern farmers, whose right to plant every square foot and spray it with herbicide (thus killing all the milkweed that the Monarchs depend on) has not been challenged in the least. We are all complicit in this when we buy biofuels, with their government subsidies, which have doubled the price of corn. One wonders about the disparity.

Please support Joel in his family- and community-supported venture. Go to his website at jmbutterflybnb.com He can come pick you up in Zitacuaro. The bird-watching is great too. It's a wonderful place just to experience this pristine forested high mountain area.

Also, we traveled by bus from DF to Zitacuaro, (where we visited El Rosario and Cerro Pelon) then to Morelia and Patzcuaro. We saw no violence of any type, though we did see a police presence. Many Mexicans assured us there were no problems in this eastern region of Michoacán. We recommend a trip to the area for the butterflies, the colonial history, the modern high culture and the wonderful arts and crafts.

10. Re: Monarch Butterfly Tour Recommendations?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:19 am, March 11, 2015