Natural Habitat Adventures

Kingdom of the Monarchs

Witness Mexico's Amazing Migration of Millions of Butterflies!
One of the world's most astounding wildlife events occurs each year in the forested Central Highlands of Mexico, featuring the most delicate of creatures. As we enter a grove of fir trees on a remote mountaintop, the trunks and branches appear to be blanketed with rusty autumn leaves. A closer look reveals they’re quivering. Then, as the sun emerges from behind a cloud to warm them, hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies take to the sky—so many that we actually hear the beating of their wings, which glow translucent orange against the blue sky. Sometimes, the monarchs float down to alight on our hats and shoulders. On special photography departures, learn to capture inspiring butterfly images, from intricate close-ups to great clouds of airborne monarchs. Experience this moving phenomenon with expert interpretation from Mexico’s premier naturalist guides.
    Close-up of a monarch butterfly perched on a yellow flower in El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, Angangueo, MexicoA traveler smiles with a monarch butterfly on her shoulder, Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary, MexicoLandscape of the town of Angangueo, MexicoA monarch butterfly sits on a traveler's hand, El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, Angangueo, MexicoThree travelers smile while visiting El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, Angangueo, MexicoClose-up of dozens of monarch butterflies resting on a tree in Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary, MexicoTravelers view the flowers and stained glass windows in Cosmovitral Botanical Garden, Toluca, MexicoClose-up of a monarch butterfly perched on a yellow flower, Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary, MexicoHundreds of monarch butterflies flying in El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary during their annual migration, MexicoA Natural Habitat Adventures traveler stands in front of a tree covered in monarch butterflies, El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, MexicoMonarch butterflies rest on a fir tree in El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, MexicoA group of Natural Habitat Adventures travelers visiting El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, MexicoThousands of monarch butterflies rest on a fir tree in Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary, MexicoTwo Natural Habitat Adventures travelers smile in front of trees covered in monarch butterflies in El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, Mexico

Trip Highlights

  • Visit Monarch Migration GrovesOn foot and horseback, enter the remote fir forests of Mexico's Central Highlands, where millions of monarchs roost and breed each winter
  • Listen to the Sound of Butterfly WingsWhen the sun emerges, hear the hum of gossamer butterfly wings as tens of thousands of monarchs take flight, fluttering overhead in a cloud of orange
  • Discover Local Culture with Local GuidesExplore traditional Mexican mountain villages and visit an authentic market, witnessing the benefits of butterfly ecotourism for local people
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Endangered Migration
A Monarch Butterfly Story

See More Butterflies on Our All-Inclusive, In-Depth Journey

Visiting Mexico’s monarchs in their remote winter roosting sites is an unusual nature experience that few travelers have access to. Our all-encompassing itinerary gives you extensive time among the butterflies, as well as a chance to enjoy authentic cultural encounters in the remote mountain communities we visit. Only Nat Hab offers this rare full-package adventure!

  1. Make Three Different Monarch Sanctuary Visits
    Very few companies offer tours to see the migration phenomenon of Mexico’s monarch butterflies. Of those that do, typically just a day trip is provided to one sanctuary. Our full package features a comprehensive itinerary including three separate monarch sanctuary visits, with all accommodations, meals and round-trip transportation from Mexico City.
  2. Our Small Groups Tread Lightly
    We limit our groups to approximately 16 guests. And photo tours are limited to 12, to ensure personalized photography guidance. Small groups reduce our ecological impact, and an intimate context is essential for a quiet, wondrous experience with the butterflies.
  3. Enjoy Authentic Cultural Encounters
    Unlike most butterfly tours, which are simply day trips to a single sanctuary, we also include several cultural encounters to enhance your authentic Mexico experience. At Toluca, originally an Indigenous settlement founded in the 13th century, we tour the Cosmovitral Botanic Gardens and stained glass panels, and in the lakeside resort town of Valle de Bravo, we visit the lively market in the colonial old town.
  4. Mexican Lodgings & Cuisine with Local Color
    From a cozy inn in the small mountain hamlet of Angangueo to a luxury resort in a forested region of the Sierra Madre Mountains, our accommodations are chosen for their authenticity, charm, natural environs and access to the butterflies. We also savor home-cooked dishes sourced from fresh local food, reflecting the region's cultural heritage.
  5. Your Presence Makes a Difference for the Future of Monarchs
    Your experience is enhanced by knowing that our presence is essential to the butterflies' continued survival: visitors demonstrate to locals that ecotourism can be a more viable and sustainable source of economic well-being than resource exploitation.
  6. Our Guide-to-Traveler Ratio Ensures Personalized Service and Attention
    While the number of guides leading your trip depends on the number in the group (usually not more than 16, and just 12 on photo trips), the maximum guest-to-guide ratio will never be more than 8:1, ensuring a quiet, low-impact experience with the butterflies.
  7. Outstanding Expedition Leaders with Unsurpassed Experience
    Nat Hab has a well-deserved international reputation for employing the highest-quality Expedition Leaders in the industry. Our monarch guides have years of experience, with in-depth training as naturalists. And, they receive additional resources from WWF's top scientists. Photo tours are led by a naturalist guide who is also an expert butterfly photographer adept at helping you capture outstanding images of the monarchs. See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
  8. Our Quality-Value Guarantee Promises a Superlative Butterfly Adventure
    With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee that clearly states that we will meet the high expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
  9. Feel Good About Your Carbon-Neutral Journey
    We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset—including your round-trip flights from home. Natural Habitat Adventures has been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007.
  10. Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel Partner
    Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our small-group nature adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the planet’s leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat Adventures its worldwide travel partner—a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!

Read what travelers are saying about our Mexico monarch butterfly tour:

5.0 average rating out of 63 reviews
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