Piedra Herrada Sanctuary

Piedra Herrada Sanctuary, Valle de Bravo: Address, Phone Number, Piedra Herrada Sanctuary Reviews: 4.5/5

Piedra Herrada Sanctuary
4.5
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A sanctuary for viewing Monarch Butterflies in central Mexico.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
313 reviews
Excellent
202
Very good
77
Average
18
Poor
10
Terrible
6

Janet A
Chicago, IL17 contributions
Couples
This was a magical experience!

That said I found there was a lot of confusing information about the costs and details of the guides if you drive up yourself so I thought I’d address those issues here because we found the experience amazing. Here are the things I wish I had clarity on before I went.

1. Although you can absolutely see swarms of butterflies as you drive up and can park on the roadside and walk amongst them, seeing the millions of them up on the mountain in the sanctuary is next-level amazing. Go all the way up! Also you should be prepared to drive VERY slowly for a few miles to avoid smashing the swarms as you drive through them.
2. Parking cost $50 MX when we were there.
3. Entrance cost $100 MX which included a guide that took a group of people up. We were a couple but the guide gathered a group of 8 people before we departed. Horses are available although our group all decided to walk.
4. The hike up was fine for us, we went slow and took breaks, even still some in our group really struggled with the elevation.
5. Even if you ride a horse up, you have to walk the last bit and it is quite steep, with plenty of uneven ground. It is not for the unsure footed.
6. The guide does not speak English and is mostly there as a conservation ambassador to make sure people are respectful of the rules, stay on the trail, don’t litter, are quiet in the nesting area, or go outside of the boundaries. This is a good thing.
6. As always, you should tip your guide.

This experience is a true natural wonder and I highly recommend it to people that enjoy and respect nature and have the physical ability to handle the elevation and terrain.
Written January 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ariel F
3 contributions
Ride the horses to the top of the trail to see the monarch butterfly migration up close! You must be quiet so that you don't disturb them. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring hand sanitizer, the water in the public bathrooms does not work well and bring your own roll of toilet paper or pesos to pay for toilet paper. You will be out in nature so expect to be in the head space that you are going on an adventurous hike. It is very rewarding! Bring an empty bag to fill it up with the most beautiful souvenirs! There is plenty of amazing items to shop. Some of the most beautiful fabrics and hand made items made by the local people of the area.
Written April 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Deborah W
Glasgow, UK7 contributions
Friends
Absolutely amazing x
I totally recommend that you combine this trip with getting a horse up the hill.
It is a steep climb and to be quite honest I think with the altitude (and my lack of fitness) I would have struggled to get to the top where the Butterflies were just literally breath taking x
You don't need to be proficient in horse riding to enjoy the hack to the sanctuary and back. It was about 250 pesos for the horses each (very roughly £12.50) and worth every penny 🐴.
This was one of the reasons we came to Mexico, and it did not disappoint. Perfect time to see millions of beautiful monarch butterflies 🦋🦋🦋
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Meike_Ka_9
Zurich, Switzerland134 contributions
Friends
We came with four people early in March (so late in season to see the butterflies).

Still it one of the most beautiful and unique experiences we had on our trip. The butterflies in the forest create a special and calm atmosphere. It is very impressive how they come all the way from Canada.

How to get there:
We rented a car in Mexico City and navigated with google maps. That worked out very well for us.

When to come:
Whenever you have time during season from December to mid March. Most people will appreciate if it is not rainy.
We came on a week day in late season so there were almost no other people around. For the tour they want groups of at least 5 people which should be no problem in high season. We were lucky since we were four people, the people that were already there waited a bit for us to arrive.

Costs:
30 pesos for car parking and 80 pesos for park entrance per person. This included the local guide. We tipped her in addition.

How much time:
It was a 2 1/2 hour ride from Mexico City. Hiking up and down and spending some time at the site took about 2 1/2 hours too.
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

annminky
United States1,483 contributions
Solo
I’m so relaxed to take this trip. The beauty of the countryside and the friendly people just made up more of how beautiful this place is . I got there early and hardly anyone except the local people. Had time to enjoy the local coffee, mushroom omelette and bread made by this kind lady, before I head up to the mountain. Cowboys waiting for people to depart. My guide, Santiago and my horse, Carla, took me up to this amazing trail. I loved the trees and the beauty of nature. Once you’re up, you need to take a few more steps to hike, to view the fluttering butterflies 🦋. The coppered color butterflies will amaze you. The park ranger will tell you to speak quietly and to move slowly as to not to bother the butterflies. Some of them would just fall on the ground and die. What a sight to witness. Another trip travelers should include in their must see in Mexico.
Written January 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

stabreim
Sheffield63 contributions
The butterflies arrive late November and leave early March. You could miss out if you arrive at the very beginning or end of that time. I was there January 6, which is 'El Dia de Reyes', the day the Mexicans remember the three kings visiting Jesus in his crib. I happened to see a king standing by the roadside and might have been startled had I not known.

If the weather is warm and sunny, as it was when I visited, you will see some thousands of butterflies airborne. You may not be able to go right up to the trees where millions are roosting but you get within about ten or twenty yards.

The trip from the car park to the top of the hill takes you from just under 9,000 feet to almost 10,500 feet. I am 72 and weigh about forty pounds more than I should, at 220 pounds. It would not be fair to inflict my weight on a horse so I walked. Most of the horses looked rather small. As others say, the last two or three hundred feet of the climb has to be on foot.

For a fit young acclimatised person it would be no big deal. For me it was right on the limit of my capabilities, especially as I had arrived from England the day before.

It was a genuine lifetime experience and was worth pushing myself to the limit. But if you can, get some time to acclimatise. I was with a tour guide from Llama travel as part of a package so I can't speak to the normal prices and arrangements.

Can't attach photo as only shot videos. There is at least one link to a site which encourages you to take along a professional photographer - at a price. This is worth considering. He will likely have a better camera than you, and will probably be prepared to spend a lot of time at the top. And you will not have to carry a big heavy camera on a tiring trip.
Written February 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Florecita
4 contributions
If it is a nice sunny day, the monarchs will fly down the mountain by the thousands in search of water. It is an amazing sight. I saw this a year ago. This year we were not so lucky. It was chilly and partly cloudy so we did not see as many butterflies.
It is best to start the ascent around noon. If you go too early, the butterflies will still be resting in the trees. There are two parts to the ascent to the area where the butterflies roost in the trees. We chose to make the first part of the trip on horseback (250 pesos plus tip). A guide leads you and the horse up the trail. The guide holds the reins as he walks ahead of you. It takes about a half hour. The second part of the trail can only be done on foot. It is a very steep walk of about a half hour. You need to be in excellent physical condition to make the ascent. I am in good condition - I walk every day - but I could not make it. My friend did.
I chose to walk down rather than go on horseback. Either way it is still 250 pesos for the round trip. But I wanted to walk slowly and enjoy the beauty of the forest. And it is beautiful!
At the parking lot there are various little shops where you can buy souvenirs, and a number of simple restaurants which will serve you quesadillas. The restaurant farthest from the entrance has the best selection.
To sum up: it can be a great experience if you are in excellent condition and it is a warm sunny day.
Written January 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Randy S
Victoria, Canada33 contributions
Starting from about 9000 feet of elevation made the hike up to where the butterflies were more challenging than I expected but it was so worthwhile. Luckily for me, one of my companions in the group was bilingual and translated the tour guide's explanations to English for me. I recommend going fairly early in the morning and bearing in mind that it's about a 45 minute cab ride from Valle de Bravo.
Written January 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

amesOregon
Oregon16 contributions
Beautiful and well run sanctuary. Knowledgeable local guides. What an amazing experience! The trail is steep and at high elevation. Keep that in mind. We took the horses, which in and of itself was a fun time, and much less effort than climbing up the whole way. I was assured by our hotel guide the workers there take turns going up with the tourists, and share the profits, so nobody (or horse) is over worked. Bought a beautiful hand woven basket that smells of pine needles from one of the vendors on the grounds. Go visit. You'll be happy you did. Also, we felt very safe, if you have any reservations about that...
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Camille M
1 contribution
While the drive from Valle de Bravo is beautiful as it climbs from 6,300 ft. to 7,800 ft. at the entrance gate to the butterfly sanctuary, it was disappointing to find the gates locked and no one there. Understandable, we are there in May and not at the butterfly migration time, BUT, the online information for this place states that it is open 7 days a week….and in particular, today, Monday , May 9th.
Written May 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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