The Monarch Miracle Migration to Michoacán

When asked about my favorite places, I can confidently list Mexico City as one. It is one reason I am leading a tour to the city with Stay AdvenTours. And one weekend when still discovering the city, I left by bus for Zitácuaro, Michoacán and a weekend in the woods.  I left to discover and experience a miracle, the miracle migration of the monarch butterfly.

At the Butterfly Reserve El Rosario in Ocampo, there is a hike up to get to the elevation to see the butterflies. The trail is fairly easy and takes about forty-five minutes to an hour depending on your speed.  I recall walking it and wondering when I’d see butterflies. When I noticed the first one, I decided to begin counting. From 1,2,3 to counting by 10s, then 100s, and then 1000s I quickly became impressed and amazed. Butterflies filled the sky, but then someone told me to keep hiking up the trail a little further and suddenly 1000s became millions of monarch butterflies. The forest turned a brilliant orange in the late morning sun. Incredible to believe generations of these butterflies reached my hometown in New York (and Canada) then returned here.

the monarch butterflies in the mountains of Mexico at El Rosario Butterfly Reserve in Michoacan,

I took in the moment with all my possible senses. I listened to the fluttering of flying, I smelled the forest, and saw the golden orange above in the sky and draping the trees and forest canopy. It’s incredible and one of the most magical moments I experienced in Mexico (or anywhere). A must do in Mexico.

Best Mexico Travel Tips: Things to do in Michoacán

The first butterflies start arriving in November and the “season” lasts until March with celebrations and festivals in February (often considered the best month to visit) A visit is one the best things to do in Michoacan, if not best things to do in Mexico. But there is more to see and do in the state of Michoacán than the monarch butterfly.

The state was branded the “Soul of Mexico” (el Alma de Mexico) and has its capital city Morelia listed as a UNESCO heritage site based on its colonial architecture. It is also home to pre-hispanic culinary traditions awarded distinction by UNESCO too (one of only two cuisines in the world).

Also, the towns and villages of Michoacan are some of the best places to experience the “Dia de los Muertos”  or Day of the Dead celebrations and festivals. A visit to Janitzio, when Lake Patzcuaro becomes filled with the light of candles, is on my bucket list.

Mexico Location: where is Michoacán

Michoacán, located in western Mexico, borders states Colima and Jalisco; to the west and northwest, Guanajuato; to the north, Querétaro; to the northeast, the State of México; to the east, and Guerrero; Also, Michoacán reaches the Pacific coast and its offers beautiful sunsets and surf in Rio Nexpa

Stay adventurous, Craig

This post is part of the Mexican March Madness 2015, a look at the 31 United States of Mexico in the 31 days of March. Don’t miss a state, sign up for email updates > here.

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  • Bill Kaliher

    This is something I’ve long wanted to see–thanks for covering the mariposas

    • craig zabransky

      Bill, this is a MUST see. I don’t often use the word miracle, but this was so impressive, it truly is a miracle, a true wonder of the world… wow. Really WOW. Make it happen.
      stay adventurous, Craig

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