Monarchs and the Mazahua

Monarchs and the Mazahua

Private & Group Departures Available (Mid November to 1st week of March)

From previous traveler, “The trip was fantastic – really, a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Of course our initial intention was to see the butterflies, and we did. And it was spectacular! However, the cultural part of the tour was such a wonderful surprise. We saw the people, their way of life, and their generous hospitality at a level we would never had been able to experience if we hadn’t taken your tour. Having the opportunity to be up close with the artisans,  especially the women weavers of Zitacuaro,  THAT is the difference between your tours and others we had checked into when we first decided to see the monarchs.”


Choose your Date for a Custom Tour or Join us on a Small Group Departure, Date Pending.


Trip Summary

Embark on a journey to learn about and witness one of nature’s wonders–the monarch butterfly migration. Here, in the fir trees of Michoacan at between 8,000-12,000 feet, the monarch butterflies take rest for the winter months after flying over 3,000 miles. Here, they cluster in groups on the fir trees to stay warm. During the day, they enjoy the sunshine and can be seen flying in massive groups. In addition to seeing this display of nature, our trip includes a fascinating guided tour of Morelia, a colonial gem, and we travel to the shores of Lake Patzcuaro to learn about the ancient and present day Purepecha people. Arts and crafts abound in this region. This trip is available anytime within the monarch migration season beginning November 15 and ending March 1.




  • Explore colonial jewel and capital of Michoacan, Morelia, a city of pink quarried stone with deep roots in education, music and the arts
  • Travel to Zitacuaro and Angangueo, butterfly country, to witness a marvel of nature: monarch butterflies in their winter habitat, where they’ve been migrating to for thousands of years
  • Meet Mazahua women and artisans in Cresencio Morales and other communities
  • Learn about the Migration Path and Life Cycle of monarch butterflies
  • Visit the charming town of Patzcuaro, on the shores of the lake that shares its name
  • Enjoy regional cuisine of Michoacan, such as Ochepos and Corundas
  • Visit the Casa de Artesanias to see the finest crafts of Michoacan

Trip includes:

  • Accommodations
  • Expert Guides and/or Academics
  • Comfortable / Secure Transportation
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • Breakfasts
  • Meals according to itinerary
  • Water on Van/Coach
  • Airport Transfers
  • Entry Fees


Itinerary Overview


Day 1: Arrive Mexico City, where you’ll be met and transferred to your charming hotel. You will enjoy a welcome dinner in a Mexico City favorite restaurant!  Overnight in Mexico City (D)


Day 2: Transfer to Zitacuaro, Michoacan. Today you will visit with Mazahua communities and artisans in the region, in towns such as Cresencio Morales. Few people make this visit, but it is one of the most special, as it links the monarch migration phenomenon to the Mazahua people who live in this region. The Mazahua women are master weavers and embroiderers, who embroider the monarch imagery into their lovely pieces. Overnight in Monarch Region (B, L, D)


Day 3:   Angangueo, Today you embark on a journey to witness one of the Western Hemisphere’s great natural wonders: the winter home of the monarch butterflies. At El Rosario, you’ll see where these magnificent insects migrate to each year, in the transvolcanic mountains of central Mexico.  It wasn’t until 1975 that the scientific community finally tracked down the wintering sites of the monarchs in Mexico. Until then, the butterflies’ winter hideouts had been a secret known only to local villagers and landowners. The unique conditions for survival are found in oyamel fir forests, which are located in a very small area of mountain tops in central Mexico. Overnight in Monarch Region. (B, D)


Day 4:  Today, you will visit a second monarch sanctuary, Sierra Chincua to visit with these amazing creatures one more time, before departing to Morelia.  Sierra Chincua also has some fun eateries, where you can sit and enjoy a small bite, while taking in the mountian air. Arriving in Morelia, you’ll settle into your charming hotel to rest and relax, before going to dinner at a favorite restaurant. Overnight in Morelia (B, D)


Day 5:  Explore Morelia! Today after breakfast at the hotel, you will enjoy a wonderful  guided walking tour of Morelia, the capital of Michoacan and a colonial gem! Morelia is a conservative city with deep traditions in higher education, music and the arts. Highlights include: The Government Palace and Alfredo Zalce Murals, Palace of Justice, Cathedral, Temple of the Roses, the former Aqueduct, and the outstanding House of “Artesanias”.  Overnight Morelia (B, L)


Day 6:  Today, you travel to the charming town of Patzcuaro, known for its charming cobblestone streets, ancient architecture, and home to crafts from the Purepecha communities surrounding Lake Patzcuaro.  You will explore the highlights of this community, including the main plazas, churches and an important library. Lunch is at a local favorite! Your Evening is at leisure. Overnight Patzcuaro  (B, L)


Day 7:   Tzintzuntzan and Santa Fe de La Laguna  After breakfast, you’ll travel to the lakeside ruins of the Prehispanic Purepecha empire in Tzintzuntzan. Little is known about the early Purepecha people, but it is believed that they are descendants of peoples from northwestern Mexico, known as the Chichimecas. You’ll spend time visiting the present day village and artisans of Tzintzuntzan. From here, you travel to the first community founded in the region, by Vasco de Quiroga: Santa Fe de la Laguna. Here, you’ll explore the temple and “hospital” community center of this small town that looks like it stopped in time. You will enjoy a lunch of regional cuisine, prepared by one of the great regional cooks of Michoacan. Overnight Morelia (B, L)


Day 8:  Today you will transfer to the Morelia airport (MLM) for your return flight home. Or, you can extend a few days to continue enjoying beautiful Morelia!  (B)


Note: This tour is designed beginning in Mexico City (MEX) and ending in Morelia (MLM). We are able to customize this trip to include Mexico City, or to stay longer in certain regions, depending on your time, interests and travel preferences.



Photos from this trip





















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