When we discovered that we were going to be in Mexico at the same time vast numbers of Monarchs would be there overwintering, we immediately added ‘Reserva Monarca Mariposa’ to our itinerary. We made it there March 10th–very late in the season as the butterflies leave by March 21st (the spring Equinox).
Our first glimpse of the Monarchs was at Sierra Chincua, part of the forested highlands of Michoacán. A really high part. The parking lot elevation is over 10,000 feet. Then you hike, mostly up, then back down a long way, until you have to go up again. They have horses that will take you up, almost to the top, for 100 pesos ($5 U.S.) . But we are hardy people from Washington State. We hike at Mt. Rainier. We laughed at the thought of taking a horse. Hah!
We arrived (huffing and puffing) at the end of the season, so the great masses of butterflies were gone from the Sierra Chincua reserve. But we found them at the top of El Rosario and it was a glorious sight such a glorious sight that Bruce made a video of our photos.
Our advice after we came and went: the Monarchs are amazing, but it’s worth every peso–take the horse!