The Magic of Monarchs

StartsFeb 23rd 2022
EndsFeb 27th 2022
LeaderSteve Gettle & Nicole Sudduth
Participants12 (Already half full!)

Our world is blessed with many unique and amazing natural splendors. One of those is the magical and mysterious migration of the Monarch butterfly where virtually the entire world’s population flies to one tiny mountain area deep in the heart of Mexico to roost among the mighty Oyamel Fir trees. Join us as we experience this incredible wildlife spectacle and stand witness to this amazing cycle of life.

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Our home base for the first part of this trip will be the small town of Angangueo. Walking through this town, you will notice subtle nods to the Monarch butterfly through murals, stone patterns in cobblestone walkways, and other artwork built into the landscape. Our lodge in Angangueo is a family owned establishment that is centrally located, allowing us to easily travel to the different sanctuaries within this UNESCO World Heritage site.

We will then transfer to another lodge located in Zitacuaro for our last night. This lodge is closer to our third sanctuary and closer to Mexico City, making it very convenient. This is a gorgeous lodge where you no doubt will want to relax and reflect before our departure the next day.

Note: Some of our clients have come in to Mexico City either a few days early or stayed a few days later in order to explore some of the museums, pyramids and other attractions that are found in and around Mexico City. You may want to consider that too.


Day 1

February 23 – Arrive in Mexico City

This first day is focused on travel: getting quickly out of Mexico City and off to Angangueo. This tiny town is located out in the country, in the very heart of the Monarch Biosphere Reserve. This will be our home base for the first part of the trip.

Day 2

February 24 – El Rosario

This is it! Our first trip up into the Monarch Sanctuaries where we will be in the midst of millions of Monarchs! El Rosario is the easiest of the sanctuaries to visit. We will walk up the dirt trail to the Monarch clusters. Along the walk, we may photograph hummingbirds and warblers that are often found feeding along the trail. We will spend the morning and afternoon photographing the butterflies and other wildlife we see.

Day 3

February 25 – Sierra Chincua

The next sanctuary we will explore is Sierra Chincua. The Monarchs roost in different areas of the biosphere reserve each year. Sometimes they are high up on the mountain and other times they are lower. At Sierra Chincua we likely need to ride horses to get to and from the roosts.

Day 4

February 26 – Cerro Pelon

This morning, we will check out and head to Cerro Pelon. Cerro Pelon is the least developed of the sanctuary areas but often yields some of the most spectacular photographic and personal experiences with the Monarchs. We will ride horses up the trail and enjoy the Monarchs at their roosts and flying through the trees.

In the afternoon, we will check in to our lodge, a gorgeous location that sits on 13 acres of Mexican countryside. We will spend the rest of the day relaxing and reflecting on the amazing encounters that you had with Monarchs, enjoying walks in the gardens, do some birding along the river. It is a beautiful spot to wrap up our adventure.

Day 5

February 27 – Transfer to Mexico City airport for flight home

We will be about an hour outside of Mexico City, and will plan our departure from the lodge to allow enough time for late afternoon or evening flights home.


Payment schedule

Deposit of $750 due with your reservation
Balance of $1,700 due January 5, 2021

  • Included

  • – All lodging while in Mexico
  • – All meals
  • – All ground transportation, including horses LOL!!
  • – Cost of all field trips/entrance fees to locations
  • – *Pricing based on double occupancy
  • – *Single Supplement (if available) $550/person
Not included
  • – Roundtrip airfare from your home to Mexico City
  • – gratuities
  • -any alcoholic beverages
  • -travel insurance
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Join us for a truly magical adventure as we experience one of nature’s many wonders: being in the midst of millions of Monarch butterflies. The patterns and colors will excite your eyes and the gentle whisper of wings will catch you by surprise.

Only discovered in 1976, this tiny mountain area, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is where millions of Monarchs, almost the entire population on the planet, migrates as many as 3,000 miles to to overwinter. The mystery and magic of the Monarch is strong here, with questions still unanswered about how this tiny creature, weighing less than a paper clip, knows to fly to this one location, a place it has never been before. These are the ancestral forests of the Monarchs.

Photograph huge clusters of Monarchs at rest as they hang heavy on the limbs of Oyamel fir trees. Capture the eruption of orange as the sun hits their wings and thousands of Monarchs fly at once from tree limbs. The future of the entire population lies with these Monarchs and we have timed this trip to coincide with their peak activity as they get ready for their epic journey north.

Over the course of this tour, we will visit three locations, each with a different flavor and offering different photographic opportunities. We will visit the Monarch colonies at different times of the day to photograph in different light and see the different behaviors.

In addition to Steve and Nicole who have been to the sanctuaries multiple times, we are fortunate to have Estella Romero, an Angangueo native and Monarch coordinator from Journey North to join us for this special trip and share her decades of insights and knowledge of the Monarch colonies.