By Nat Hab Expedition Leader Jimmy Nguyen

El Rosario in the Afternoon — A Warm Welcome

Welcome sign to butterfly sanctuary in Mexico

© Jimmy Nguyen

Even before clambering out of our open-topped truck, our Nat Hab group was greeted by butterflies as they streamed down from El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, one of several sanctuaries within the 129,000-acre Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.

Walking to the terrace to get a better look at butterfly’s

© Jimmy Nguyen

World Wildlife Fund sponsors tree nurseries at El Rosario, and the monarchs show their appreciation by providing our travelers with photo opportunities of them perching on oyamel fir seedlings!

Millions of butterflies nesting in trees

© Jimmy Nguyen

This afternoon visit to El Rosario allows travelers to witness the butterfly colony in the afternoon light and establish a baseline for butterfly activity.

Sierra Chincua in the Morning — Etheral Encounters

Monarchs fly into the blue sky

© Jimmy Nguyen

A trip to Sierra Chincua splits our two visits to El Rosario. In the cooler morning hours, the butterflies rest on tree trunks. As the sun and temperature rise, so do the butterflies as they flit and flutter across a bluebird sky.

Monarchs resting on tree trunks

© Jimmy Nguyen

The monarchs were attracted to the sunlight on this tree and slowly filled in the available trunk space as the sun climbed higher in the sky.

Group of hikers in Mexico’s monarch forest

© Jimmy Nguyen

The way to and from the butterfly colony at Sierra Chincua features a shorter horseback ride and hike than at El Rosario. Pictured here, Expedition Leader Fernando Romo takes a moment to share his wealth of birding knowledge with the group.

A Magic Morning at El Rosario

Monarchs flying and roosting in forest

© Jimmy Nguyen

If our first visit to El Rosario featured streams of butterflies, this second visit had an ocean. Monarchs surrounded our group, swarming in every direction, flying and landing wherever they pleased.

Monarch butterfly lands on woman’s blonde hair

© Jimmy Nguyen

Although you wouldn’t think it, you can feel the monarchs when they land or bump into you. They are especially attracted to bright colors, such as blonde hair.