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What to Pack for Mexico's Monarchs

The following packing list contains general recommendations for a trip to see monarch butterflies in Mexico. If you are currently booked on a monarch butterfly adventure with Nat Hab, please consult your pre-departure materials for the most up-to-date packing list specific to your trip. You will receive these pre-departure materials 60-90 days before your departure.

Simplify your packing—shop at Nat Hab’s online Gear Store for some of the key items recommended for your adventure. Look for this icon in the list below, then go to the Nat Hab Gear Store to start shopping.


  • We will primarily be traveling in a mountainous, cool environment (yet close to the sun). Weather is typically windy and cool. 
  •  Temperatures will vary during the day, depending on the time of year. Bring warm, windproof clothing to wear while in mountainous areas. You will want to dress in layers that you can remove as temperatures rise throughout the day (i.e. T-shirt, fleece, etc.).
  • Temperatures will be warmer at lower elevations and may require lighter clothing.


  • Lightweight, waterproof rain jacket  (Rain is always possible, so it is best to be prepared. Your rain jacket should have a hood and be fully waterproof, not just water-resistant.)
  • Windproof fleece
  •  Lightweight, water-resistant hiking shoes (Ankle-high boots are helpful in the Chincua Butterfly Reserve, as you may otherwise pick up burrs on your socks. Make sure your shoes/boots have good tread and are broken-in ahead of time to prevent blisters.)
  • Comfortable shoes (for evenings and walking around town)
  • Warm sleepwear (The hotels in Angangueo have no central heat and can get very cold at night. We recommend sleeping in thermal underwear, a sweatshirt or fleece pullover, and wool socks.)
  •  Socks (Look for wool or other moisture-wicking material. Cotton socks are not recommended for hikes.)
  •  Hat & gloves  (Mornings can be chilly.)
  • Water- and dust-resistant daypack   (to carry gear during hikes)
  • Battery-operated alarm clock or wristwatch (Clocks/phones for wake-up calls are not available at all hotels.)
  • Water bottle


  •  Polypropylene base layer
  •  3–4 pairs of comfortable pants (We recommend you bring woven and zip-off pants. Woven pants are less likely to attract burrs in the reserves, while zip-off pants are a good option for variable temperatures.)
  •  3 long-sleeved cotton shirts
  •  3 T-shirts or polo shirts
  • 1 pair of shorts (Appropriate if you are spending additional time in Mexico City, where temperatures are generally warmer.)
  •  Undergarments
  •  Swimsuit (Optional—there are swimming pools at some of our accommodations.)


  •  Outlet adapter
  •  Binoculars
  •  Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  •  Sunglasses (with U.V. filter and secure strap)
  •  Headlamp or small flashlight
  • Earplugs
  • Toiletries (Optional—soap, shampoo and conditioner are available at all our accommodations.)
  • Eye drops and/or nose spray (The reserves and the ride to El Rosario Butterfly Reserve can be quite dusty. This can dry out lenses and/or irritate the eyes and even make it more difficult to breathe. If you wear contact lenses, consider bringing prescription glasses as well. Protective sunglasses worn over your contact lenses may also help.)
  •  Insect repellent
  •  Sun hat (with brim for protection)
  •  Sunscreen (As we will be at high altitudes while visiting the reserves, you will be more susceptible to sunburn. Please bring a hat with a brim to shield your face from the sun, as well as sunblock and lip protection with an SPF of at least 15.)
  •  Small medical kit
  • Reusable waterproof bags  (Great for wet or dirty clothing and to protect camera equipment.)
  • Tissue mini packs (Helpful to have in smaller villages where toilet paper is not always available.)
  •  Washcloth (not provided at all hotels)
  •  Hiking poles (optional)
    — Walking sticks will be provided at all of the butterfly sanctuaries for those travelers who require them.
    — If you are bringing poles, make sure they fit in your checked baggage, as you generally will not be allowed to carry them on the plane. 
  • Spanish/English dictionary
  • Luggage lock (Locks can be helpful to secure your belongings when you are away from your luggage.)
  •  Donations (Optional—some of our guests like to bring useful items for the local community. We suggest school supplies such as pencils, crayons and notebooks for children. Gently used clothing for men, women or children is also welcomed.)
View Mexico's Monarch Butterflys on These Trips
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Kingdom of the Monarchs
New Itinerary!

Kingdom of the Monarchs

Each winter, millions of monarch butterflies migrate to the fir forests of Mexico's Central Highlands—walk among them, take photos, and listen to the air hum with the vibration of their wings!

  Photo departures available
6 Days / Jan – Mar, From $3795
New Itinerary!
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