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Author: Subject: Not Baja - Mexico Monarch Butterfly Trip
wilderone
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 07:01 AM
Not Baja - Mexico Monarch Butterfly Trip


I've been working on details for a 16-day Jan-Feb trip to the Monarch butterly santuaries near Toluca, Valle de Bravo, Ocampo area. I've always wanted to see the incomparable monarch migration end-of-the road. I'll go on this trip regardless. But just thought it would be a fun trip for 3 or 4 people - split expenses, some company, share driving, etc. (or 6 people - rent a van?) I checked airfare last night - Tijuana to Mex. City on Volaris is only $137 RT. I've already got a rough itinerary planned out. Go to 2 of the sanctuaries; there's a hotsprings resort near a canyon that would add diversity, maybe a little hiking; a 9-room small, charming place in Valle de Bravo. I've researched the top tourist attractions in Toluca (first night after DF, get out of DF, rest, tour, rent a car) and elsewhere. See Zitacuaro, a museum in Acambaro. Then add a trip south to Zihuantenejo beaches. And ? Plenty of time to get acquainted before the trip; but to snag low air fare and make a few pertinent hotel reservations during high season monarch viewing, it would be best to lock in dates soon. I've done research on hotels too, and it appears hotels are filling up. FYI- I did a 16-day camping trip in Yucatan last year by myself - had a blast. U2U me
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soulpatch
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 07:39 AM


Looks like a blast. Enjoy!
Have you posted on "On the road in Mexico" on Facebook?
You might really generate some interest there.
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wilderone
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 07:54 AM


No - do not want to cast that wide a net. This forum has many mexico travelers with similar interests as me, whom I've met from time to time over the years. I feel comfortable extending the idea here. I once went on a bus trip to Copper Canyon organized by a teacher. He was responsible for a few initial logistics (we took a chartered bus out of Tijuana, had hotel reservations), but after that our trip was by popular vote. "Shall we continue to __, or stay here for the night?" Was so much fun. We'd scatter in a small town to see/do what we wanted, within the "bus is leaving, 8:00 am" schedule. I don't mind traveling by myself, but being able to split expenses allows spending on upgrades that I wouldn't otherwise choose as within my budget.
BTW, just found out Superbowl is Feb. 5. Maybe a Feb. 6 departure date (?). Although I did watch Superbowl last year at a hostel in Valladolid with a couple German guys - learned all the penalty calls in Spanish!
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David K
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 08:27 AM


Cindi, is there a way to predict when or where the monarchs migrate? I remember there were a couple times traveling in Baja and here in San Diego County when they were thick as they flew north. 2006 was one of those years I recall.



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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 08:51 AM


Sounds like an adventure. Have a blast!
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wilderone
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 09:23 AM


The monarchs migrate annually across North America, and end up in the hills of Michoacan - there are millions of them. Visitors are not watching a migration, but rather, seeing them at the end of the migration route. Like gray whales, this is the only place in the world that you will see such a display of nature. They arrive over a few months, but Jan. and Feb. are the best months. Branches of trees hang with the weight of butterflies. There are four sanctuaries that service tourists with guides, transportation, bathrooms, trails. They are at an elevation of about 10,000; horses are available to make the 1 mi. trek up the hill where the butterflies are. You can walk too of course, walk back down. I understand tourists must stay on a trail, nevertheless, the ground is covered in dead butterflies who have migrated, breeded and expired. When the sun comes out and they warm up, they take flight - literally millions of them in glorious orange and gold. I want to see this. Could be the sun will not come out on a particular day, so some flexibility needed to pick a good day.
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David K
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 10:06 AM


Thanks... so, no website on the migration routes predicted you know of?
I only noticed it a couple times as I recall, but around here they were thick for several days and once driving to L.A. Bay to visit with the Humfreville's they were heavy between Chapala and Punta Prieta.




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Frigatebird
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 10:08 AM


Quote: Originally posted by wilderone  
...there are millions of them...

Absolutely true, and overwhelming.

Quote: Originally posted by wilderone  
...Branches of trees hang with the weight of butterflies...

The trees almost appear to be broadleaf, not conifer, because of them. Look for beams of sunlight hitting small patches on the trees. Be there early, and dressed for the chill.

Quote: Originally posted by wilderone  
...When the sun comes out and they warm up, they take flight - literally millions of them in glorious orange and gold...

Get ready to enter the snow globe!

Quote: Originally posted by wilderone  
...Could be the sun will not come out on a particular day, so some flexibility needed to pick a good day.

That's a good idea. It will make the colors explode, and maybe get more mariposas aloft.




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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 01:06 PM


Quote: Originally posted by wilderone  
I've been working on details for a 16-day Jan-Feb trip to the Monarch butterly santuaries near Toluca, Valle de Bravo, Ocampo area. I've always wanted to see the incomparable monarch migration end-of-the road. I'll go on this trip regardless. But just thought it would be a fun trip for 3 or 4 people - split expenses, some company, share driving, etc. (or 6 people - rent a van?) I checked airfare last night - Tijuana to Mex. City on Volaris is only $137 RT. I've already got a rough itinerary planned out. Go to 2 of the sanctuaries; there's a hotsprings resort near a canyon that would add diversity, maybe a little hiking; a 9-room small, charming place in Valle de Bravo. I've researched the top tourist attractions in Toluca (first night after DF, get out of DF, rest, tour, rent a car) and elsewhere. See Zitacuaro, a museum in Acambaro. Then add a trip south to Zihuantenejo beaches. And ? Plenty of time to get acquainted before the trip; but to snag low air fare and make a few pertinent hotel reservations during high season monarch viewing, it would be best to lock in dates soon. I've done research on hotels too, and it appears hotels are filling up. FYI- I did a 16-day camping trip in Yucatan last year by myself - had a blast. U2U me

Best area to see the butterflies is in the state of Michoacán near the town of Angangueo, north of Zitácuaro. Sounds like an ambitious trip. Too bad I've been to most of the areas. There's a great artisan named Saulo Morena in the mountain town of Tlalpujahua further north. I went to his house and have one of his small pieces.

The trees the butterflies hang on are mostly the white fir, Abies concolor, called oyamel in Spanish. The white fir is also found in the higher mountains of Baja (San Pedro Mártir) and from San Diego County northward into the Sierras.

[Edited on 7-27-2016 by gsbotanico]
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 02:02 PM


sounds absolutely magical.



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wilderone
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[*] posted on 7-27-2016 at 03:14 PM


gsbotanico - thank you for the artisan recommendation. I added it to my notes.

David, it's not a specific route that happens all at once. It happens, from Canada to Mexico over 4 months or so. Possibly those Baja butterflies you saw ended up in Michoacan. There are many factors that influence their annual migration. One being the diminished milkweed (their food staple) in the US due to development, and pesticides. Anyway, here is some info, and a link to a website that has a map.

UNESCO declares Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve World Heritige site!

The 56,259 hectare (139,020 acres) biosphere lies within rugged forested mountains about 100 km northwest of Mexico City. Every autumn, millions, perhaps a billion, butterflies from wide areas of North America return to the site and cluster on small areas of the forest reserve, colouring its trees orange and literally bending their branches under their collective weight. In the spring, these butterflies begin an 8 month migration that takes them all the way to Eastern Canada and back, during which time four successive generations are born and die. How they find their way back to their overwintering site remains a mystery

http://www.flightofthebutterflies.com/epic-migrations/
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