I was part of a group of four seniors led by Joel to visit the Cerro Pelon reserve in March. It was an awesome experience. We had arrived in Zitacaro intending to try to find our way to a butterfly reserve on our own. I became concerned about our ability to get the most out of the experience on our own and began to surf the internet to see if I couldn't find a guide, when Joel's name appeared in a respected travel commentator's website review. Since my US cell wasn't working, I e-mailed him about the possibility of a tour the following day. His cell doesn't always work in his small village, so he had a Los Angeles friend call me at the hotel to make the arrangements. He picked us up at the hotel and drove us to his small town. We wanted to hike rather than use the horses, but he had men on horses follow us anyway. Ten minutes into the hike, two members of the party decided to use the horses. 20 minutes into the walk, my partner also decided to ride, so, despite never having been on a horse before, I agreed to do the same. There were men who guided the horses so it was not a problem. We saw thousands of butterflies; a wondrous and magical experience. Joel provided us with a delicious lunch while we sat on rocks, surrounded by flying butterflies. On our return, his mother prepared a simple, delicious meal of grilled trout; the trout were very fresh as they had been taken from his father's trout pond on the property. Joel, a very personable and knowledgeable young man speaks excellent English; he was an exceptional guide. My friends who now live in Mexico are planning a return visit next February when Joel indicated that butterflies were even more plentiful at that time of the year. I can't comment on his B & B because we found him after we were already in a hotel in Zitacuaro. However, it is located in a charming little village and I would likely stay there on a return visit as Zitacuero isn't a particularly attractive city. In summary, a wonderful guide and an awesome experience that I would highly recommend.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- JM's Butterfly B&B is 5 min from the entry of the Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Reserve. We are located in Macheros, a sleepy, bucolic town nestled in a valley with stupendous views of the sunset and surrounding Sierra Madres. The B&B has excellent views, wood floors, comfy beds and a communal fireplace. The restaurant next door offers fresh trout, homemade Mexican food and pulque in season. We are a locally-owned and family-run business. Staying with us combines the best of private lodging with as much of a family-homestay as you want. Tours of the butterflies are available Nov-March, or come by in the off season to relax and hike in a small farming community/internet free zone. We are only two hours from both Mexico City and Morelia. ... more less