Mexico Operation Mariposa: Heading to the high forests of Michoacán, Mexico to witness the legendary Monarch butterfly migration.

Published on February 11th, 2017


Operation “Mariposas”

Woo-hoo!  Just a couple more days and I’ll be (hopefully) surrounded by a bazillion Monarch butterflies fluttering amid the forests of Michoacán, Mexico (or at least huddled together in clumps on tree branches).

Indeed, apparently weather is a critical factor in just how magnificent the spectacle might prove to be, because on wet cloudy days those dainty fluffs of orange ‘n black fold up their wings and cluster together for warmth.  But the good news is – I just checked the weather prediction for the days I’ll be up there (13 February through the 16th) and it’s looking like plenty of sunshine – yay!

Sunshine forecast for my visit to the Monarch butterfly migration!

Also, while plenty of folks visit the El Rosario sanctuary on but a day trip from either Mexico City or Morelia (each about a 3-4 hr. ride to the sanctuary), my entire raison d’etre for this whiz to Mexico is first and foremost to witness those butterflies.  Thus for added insurance that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has the best possible outcome, I’ve deliberately planned on a 3 night stay in Angangueo – to give me a wider window of hope for sunny skies.

Then again… those near-freezing nights noted above loom a bit daunting – as apparently none of the (few) hotels up there at 9,000+ feet are HEATED!  The word on the street (read: TripAdvisor reviews) is that it gets miiighty cold at night.  So trust that I shall be toting my beloved wool long-underwear, along with wool socks and bountiful LAYERS to keep warm both on the mountain and in my hotel bedroom.

I’m also hoping to visit at least two different mariposa sanctuaries (there’s at least four in the general vicinity) so as to gain a different perspective from variant terrains (e.g. I understand that Cerro Pelon may offer closer proximity to low-hanging branches laden with roosting butterflies than at the El Rosario sanctuary).

As I arrive at 10 pm tomorrow night (Sunday, 12 February), I’ve reserved a private room at a hostel practically ON TOP OF the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City (the largest cathedral in the Americas).  I’ve also reserved a room in the mountain village of Angangueo for 3 nights as prices were rising and there’s few hotels there (indeed, my hotel is now SOLD OUT!)  I’ll be hopping on a public bus from Mexico City to Angangueo Monday morning, and on the return I’ll have but 2 final nights in Mexico City.  Just enough time to do a (free) tour of the Central Historic District through my hostal, and…

Obviously I can’t possibly leave CDMX without some serious sampling of the city’s famous sips and eats.  Though I rarely pre-book any activities when I travel, this trip is so tight (with but 1.5 days for playing in the renowned city of CDMX), I’ve already booked an evening of “Mariachi and Mezcal Tasting” the day I return from the forests back to Mexico City.

There also seems to be a boatload of CDMX food tours to choose from, and for my final (and only full) day, I’m presently favoring either the “Roma Foodie Walking Tour or “Historic Center Food Tour” offered by Sabores Mexico Food Tours (ranked #2 on TripAdvisor).  Both tours are offered on my final day in Mexico City (whew!)  The latter seems to feature more in the way of food markets and traditional Mexican fare, while the former leans more towards the more contemporary “New” Mexican cuisine popular in the trendy Ramo district (apparently a.k.a. “Foodie Heaven”).  Decisions, decisions.  Such delicious decisions.

Clearly I’ll be busy playing in Mexico next week (and likely catching up the week after, editing what I hope will be some half-way decent butterfly pics and videos, etc.)  So don’t be surprised if the lights here at TravelnLass HQ lie dimmed awhile.

But meanwhile – here’s a little something to keep you spell-bound (leastwise for 6 minutes!)  😉

vimeo full-screen-icon - watch this Monarch butterfly video full-screen - it's spectacular!btw – if you’re ever going to watch a video full-screen, NOW would be the time to click that little white arrow icon at the base of the video,and enjoy this honey nice and “bigly”!

Now I ask you – does that not convince you to likewise hop on a plane to see this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle?


I'm finally going to see the legendary Monarch butterfly migration amid the forests of Mexico! Taking (my own) Travel Advice: I'm off to see the Monarch butterly migration in Mexico!


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About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

6 Responses to Operation “Mariposas”

  1. Such an adventure, Dyanne and I’m more than a little tinged in green! 😉 Looking forward to reading about your adventure, the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing so many of the Monarch butterflies and your food tour. What amazing fun!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Cordoba and Once Upon a TimeMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      My dash to see those mariposas turned out to be amazing on all counts, Anita. And I do hope you too can one day see the spectacle yourself.

      Not only were the butterflies dripping from the branches of the forest and fluttering like orange and black confetti, but my time in Mexico City proved a most amazing blur of delish sips and eats!

      Trust, pics and details coming to your neighborhood TravelnLass theater soon. 😉

  2. Steve C says:

    Why in the world are you doing this trip on such a tight schedule? In a hurry to make some other deadline? You keep saying slow travel is best travel; remember your last trip to Eastern Europe? You keep say’n one thing and doing another. Got ants in yer pants? 🙂
    Gimme one good reason yer in such a hurry.

    • Dyanne says:

      ​​Well g​eez Steve, ​give-a-girl-a-break, no?

      “Gimme one good reason…”? How ’bout I give you THREE?

      1. First of all – I think we can both agree that be it fast- or slow-travel – every extra day on the trail costs $$, yes? And as you (and all here that read TL) well know, I am not exactly a wealthy woman with a 6-figure/year trust fund. But rather – a humble lass on but a paltry pension, who… but a few months ago spent a BOATLOAD of rubles skipping around the Balkans for SIX.FULL.WEEKS. (including dropping more than a c-note on a spectacular balloon ride over Cappadocia in Turkey). Thus… as I thought I’d made clear in my recent post: “Taking My Own (Travel) Advice” – ruble-wise I had no business whatsoever even CONSIDERING another adventure so soon.

      But – those mariposas are only there for a few months each year, so I couldn’t help but drop yet a(nother) grand to go see them. And to keep from going bankrupt, I simply couldn’t afford to go gallivanting for a month or two around Mexico (which I’ve actually already seen much of over the years). In short, it necessarily had to be but a super-quick trip – with but ONE SINGULAR FOCUS:

      2. Indeed (re: your remark about “slow travel”), while many/most visit the Monarch butterfly sanctuaries on but a day-trip from Mexico City – I deliberately opted to spend 3 nights up there amid the mountains. And actually, one of my fellow “slow-travel” pals thought I was CRAZY to spend SO MUCH TIME there. But of course, as the butterflies were my one-and-only reason for heading to Mexico, I wanted to ensure I had plenty of time (and sunshine) to see the mariposas in all their splendor.

      And 3. re: “…say’n one thing and doing another…”? Clearly each person’s definition of “slow travel” is different. And for me – my choice of moving lock, stock ‘n barrel from my native land, and expating in several different foreign countries for years on end (teaching English, intimately participating with the local culture, trying my derdest to learn the language, et al), most certainly qualifies as “slow travel” in most anybody’s book. That I intermittently dash off to other lands for a week or six, surely isn’t symptomatic of having “ants in [my] pants”. Just one person’s way of exploring the globe.

      As it turned out – 3 nights for the butterflies was perfect as I got to hike two different sanctuaries, plus I made excellent use of my short time in Mexico City including an evening of Mezcal Tasting and THE most amazing CDMX Food Tour ever!

  3. Matea says:

    Greetings from Croatia ☺Take care and have fun

    • Dyanne says:

      Well hey there Matea – good to hear from you! I miss Croatia – especially Zadar and Motovun. Such a beautiful and diverse world we live in – so many unique corners to explore!

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