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Kingdom of the Monarchs

Witness Mexico's Amazing Migration of Millions of Butterflies!
6 Days From $3795
One of the world's most astounding events occurs each year in Mexico's Central Highlands, featuring one of its most unlikely creatures, the delicate monarch butterfly. As we crest the ridge and enter a grove of fir trees on a remote mountaintop, the air is still. Could this be the butterfly sanctuary we seek? From a distance, the trunks and branches appear to be blanketed with rusty autumn leaves. A closer look reveals they’re quivering. And then, as the sun emerges from behind a cloud to warm the air, tens of thousands of monarchs take to the sky, fluttering over our heads—so many butterflies that we actually hear the beating of their gossamer wings, which glow translucent orange as they're backlit against the blue sky. Sometimes, the monarchs even float down to alight on our hats and shoulders. And on special photo journeys, you'll learn how to snap the best butterfly photographs, from intricate close-ups to panoramas of great clouds of airborne monarchs. Join our small group to experience this moving phenomenon, interpreted by Mexico’s premier naturalist guides.
  Click here to learn about our special photo departures.
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Trip Highlights

  • Visit Monarch Migration GrovesGuided by top naturalist Expedition Leaders, travel by horseback and on foot to remote forests where millions of brilliant monarchs congregate for the winter
  • Listen to Butterfly WingsAs the sun emerges, listen for the gentle hum of butterfly wings as tens of thousands of monarchs take flight, fluttering overhead in a cloud of orange
  • Encounter Local CultureExplore traditional Mexican mountain villages and visit an authentic market, witnessing the benefits of butterfly ecotourism for local people

See More Butterflies—and Experience Mexico’s Rural Mountain Culture

Visiting Mexico’s monarchs in their remote winter roosting sites is an unusual nature experience that few travelers have access to. We make sure you capitalize on your visit with extensive time among the butterflies, as well as a chance to enjoy authentic cultural encounters. Here are a host of reasons to choose Nat Hab for this rare adventure:

  1. Make Three Different Monarch Sanctuary Visits on an All-Inclusive Tour
    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, and a full package tour is rare indeed. Our comprehensive itinerary includes three separate experiences of this natural marvel, 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 our special photo departures are limited to just 12 guests in order to maximize personalized photography advice. Not only is this more ecologically sound—larger groups kick up more dust that can affect the butterflies’ respiration—but an intimate context is essential to enjoy a quiet, wondrous experience with the butterflies.
  3. Enjoy Captivating Cultural Encounters
    Unlike most butterfly tours, which are simply day trips into a single sanctuary, we also include several authentic cultural experiences. At Toluca, originally an indigenous settlement founded in the 13th century, we visit the Cosmovitral Botanic Gardens and stained glass panels, and in the lakeside resort town of Valle de Bravo, we'll wander through the busy market in the colonial old town.
  4. Authentically Mexican Lodgings & Cuisine
    From a cozy inn in the small mountain hamlet of Angangueo to a luxury resort situated in a lushly wooded region of the Sierra Madre Mountains, our accommodations are chosen for their authenticity, charm, natural environs and access to the butterflies. We also enjoy 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
    Our experience is enhanced by knowing that our presence may be essential to the butterflies' continued survival: visitors demonstrate to locals that ecotourism can be as viable a source of economic wellbeing as resource development.
  6. Our Traveler-to-Guide Ratio Equals Personalized Service and Attention
    At your side throughout your tour will be one or two Nat Hab Expedition Leaders. While the number of guides depends on the number in your travel 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. 
  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 average 19 years’ experience, with in-depth training as naturalists. And, they receive additional resources from WWF's top scientists. Photo tours are led by a guide who is not only a naturalist but also an expert photographer adept at helping you capture outstanding images of the butterflies. See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
  8. Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding 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 the Way You Travel
    We all care about the planet, and you can travel with us knowing that the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset. Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, a feature that is especially critical when considering that many of the species and habitats we visit are under substantial threat from our planet’s warming temperatures.
  10. Natural Habitat Adventures Is World Wildlife Fund’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 its worldwide travel partner—a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
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