butterfly migration to mexico

Why Not Travel to See the Monarch Butterflies in Mexico?

Monarch butterflies in Mexico

Monarch Butterflies on tree branch in Michoacan, Mexico

Going to see the Monarch butterflies in Mexico has been an experience I’ve only until recently talked about. Like someday I will fly to the moon. Or explore the bottom of the ocean. Or find a unicorn in my back yard. The trip hasn’t been made a huge priority, although I considered it earlier this spring in March and then discovered it was way too late to make the journey. There is an optimum viewing time for the Monarch butterflies in Mexico, and March was not it. Early February seems to be the best.

Not to mention, the Monarch butterfly reserves are not easy destinations to reach. First, you have to fly to Mexico City from Sacramento. If you don’t mind flying on the red-eye, you can get tickets for less than $400 roundtrip with one stop via Aeromexico. On the other end of the spectrum, Delta offers morning flights with one stop, first class for about $800. Either way, it’s not outrageously expensive to fly to Mexico City. One could also stay a few days to tour the Frida Kahlo Museum or Museo Nacional de Antropologia.

The Monarch butterflies in Mexico are not found in Mexico City, though. Millions if not billions of the butterflies migrate to Mexico every year. What is unusual is the fact the butterflies who reach Mexico are not the butterflies who fly back home to the United States and Canada. Monarch butterflies live about 6 to 8 weeks. When the earliest colonies arrive in Mexico, the butterflies go through four generations before the last trek. Do they trade secret butterfly migration maps? Do they whisper: follow the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains, pass it on as they fly? How do they know the route back when they’ve never been here?

After you get to Mexico City, it is still another 3 hours or so to reach the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which was named in 2008 a Unesco World Heritage site. This is a huge area on the border of the states of Michoacán and Mexico. I have my sights set on several, including El Rosario. To visit most of the colonies, the trip will require another driver to take you into the mountains, then a journey by donkey or horse, followed by a hike on foot. And from what I read, a special time to view is early morning.

This means hauling my sorry ass outta bed at the crack of dawn, bundling in layers, and heading out to see the Monarch butterflies in Mexico. People say the millions of butterflies are so thick it’s like a blanket of orange covering the trees, making branches sag. Because it is chilly in the mountains, they are sleeping. But as the sun rises in the sky, the rays begin to warm the wings. When the wings are sufficiently warmed, they all take to the sky. They mate. They die. They fall to the forest floor. The butterflies land on your shoulders. Your hair. Your hands.

They say the experience will change you. I will probably cry. The Monarch butterflies in Mexico seems a good diversion from our new political climate in the United States. So far removed.

On the other hand, I probably won’t get cellphone reception in the mountains, but the good news is my cellphone works in Mexico. No roaming charges. If this Sacramento Realtor can list and sell a home from the Rangiroa Atoll in the South Pacific over Christmas, I can certainly take care of my sellers in early February from Mexico.

If you’re interested in talking about the coming 2017 spring housing market in Sacramento, please call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub's Blog via email