February is one of the best months of the year to visit Mexico. Although mid-winter is considered the dry season, many places will have nice, warm weather. In addition to great weather, this is a great time to witness and experience one of the most beautiful gifts of nature, the awakening of monarch butterflies in their sanctuaries in Michoacan.
Soar beyond your imagination...
The monarch butterfly is the pride and symbol of the state of Michoacán. The high mountains on the eastern portion of Michoacán serve as the perfect winter retreat from the woods of southern Canada and the northern United States for this beautiful butterfly.
Approximately 100 million monarch butterflies conclude their long eastern migratory journey of more than 2,500 miles/4,000 kilometers in order to reproduce in the Michoacán forest, establishing with it the belief among the inhabitants of the region that each butterfly represents the soul of their deceased loved ones, who come to visit them every year. In this area, the monarch butterfly finds the required conditions in terms of vegetation with high trees, low wind and cool temperature to hibernate and reproduce from October through March. During these months, the pine and oyamel fir forests, located over 3,000 meters above sea level, turn bright orange with one of the most beautiful sounds of nature from the fluttering butterflies.
The brilliant orange, white and black colors of the monarchs provides a stark contrast with the deep green of the woods and the intense blue of the sky. It is estimated that over 10,000 butterflies clump together on each tree to stay warm and protect from the cold weather. Seeing the monarchs in this environment is one of the most wonderful phenomena that nature has to offer, truly not one to be missed.
There are five monarch butterfly sanctuaries in eastern Michoacán bordering on the state of Mexico. Of these, two are open for tourism: Sierra Chincua in the municipality of Angangueo and El Rosario in the municipality of Ocampo. They receive visitors in the autumn from mid-November until March 21st. The sites are open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. The route is well marked for the over 2 kilometers/1.25 miles from the entrance into the forest. Authorized residents of the local community serve as tourist guides for the groups that visit, supporting the local economy without harm to the environment.
In addition to the monarch sanctuaries, this region offers visitors many interesting and historic sites such as the Pueblo Magico of Angangueo, a traditional mining village, with colonial churches and unique architecture. There are mines dating from the 19th century, forests and lakes, campgrounds, caves, hot springs, festivals, celebrations and crafts for the visitor to enjoy.
The monarch butterfly is part of our universal heritage, and it is our responsibility to protect it. Visitors to the sanctuaries are asked to respect it by following the rules of the reserve: walking only on the marked tourist trails, keep silent, do not bring food, drink or eat within the monarch butterfly biosphere reserve, don’t touch or throw objects to the butterflies,and when taking pictures don’t use flash. This allows everyone to continue to enjoy this magical experience without disturbing the butterflies. Visit Michoacan, and experience this amazing gift of nature!
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Driving to Angangueo from Nuevo Laredo (1068 km, approx 12 hours from the border) #DriveMexico #VisitMexico
Directions are for planning only. You might find weather or road conditions changes and should plan accordingly prior to your trip and modify your route as needed.