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Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries

Photo credit: Joel Olives / Foter / CC BY
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries
  • (worth a detour)
  • NA
  • Easy
  • Free
  • half day
  • 2 2

From November to March, this forest gets filled up by butterflies

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Michoacán, México
Traditional Mexico food is offered in several local restaurants around the area.

Every year, during September and October, Canadian Monarch butterflies embark on a journey all the way down to central Mexico to escape the winter cold – their destination is always the same place: Michoacán and the outskirts of the State of Mexico.


The butterflies start arriving in late October and by November, the butterflies’ temporary home turns from green into orange due to the amount of butterflies resting on the trees, the ground and flying over the sky.


And you can witness this phenomena by visiting one of the three sanctuaries, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of Mexicos’ natural wonders.


All the sanctuaries offer walking tours, horse rides and zip lining and the entrance cost is of $35 pesos (around $2 USD).


List of sanctuaries:


Ejido El Capulín

Located in a Valley near Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico, visitors must hike four kilometers to get to Cerro Pelón, where the butterflies are.


The site offers cabins to spend the night in, restaurants and picnic tables.


Piedra Herrada

Located near Nevado De Toluca volcano in Toluca, State of Mexico. This site offers an incredible view of the volcano. To get in, you must hire a local guide.


Santuario La Mesa

Located at the foot of the mountains that separate the State of Mexico and Michoacan. This site offers cabins, restaurants, special viewpoints and bike lanes.






Opening hours

9:00 - 17:00 / November through March only.