A Unique Encounter With Mexico’s Monarch Butterflies

by  Richard Scotti and Traudel Schottenloher

Our vision for our recent adventure travels with Journey Mexico was to explore spectacular creatures of Mexico and the mysteries of ancient cultures, centered in and around Mexico City. Our travels during 6 days in February 2016 were more than perfect; they were transformational! We both developed new perspectives on nature and deepened our understanding of these mysteries in exciting ways. Last year’s travel with Journey Mexico showed us the differences between travels where adventure is created by well organized travel plans directed towards what we really want to do and see, and travels where adventure is created by unexpected difficulties and disappointments. Journey Mexico’s organization and teamwork for our trip was immaculate and everything went so well that we were able to focus fully on why we were on this trip: To experience Monarch Butterflies in their winter habitat in the state of Michoacan, to learn more about their yearly 3000 mile migration between the USA and Mexico, and to witness the mystery and marvel of the Aztec and Mayan cultures first hand.

We were taken to off-track, old world restaurants that served exotic Mexican dishes that were beyond our taste-imaginations; and we were graciously, lovingly served as we have never been served before. We spent several wonder-filled days & nights at a resort just outside of Zitácuro named Hotel Rancho San Cayetano, which was utterly charming, immaculately furnished, with outstanding service and never-to-be-forgotten food. It was such a relaxing joy to extend our discussions over another cup of breakfast coffee, along with home cooked breads, pastries, fresh fruits and traditional Mexican dishes, or over another glass of excellent wine, on Rancho San Cayetano’s restaurant terrace, on the porch of our apartment or on the grass by the pool.

The Monarch Butterfly preserve at Mariposa is absolutely amazing. How can anyone describe what it feels like to hike 1000 vertical feet through beautiful, solitary forests where each step higher brings ever more butterflies, until near the top of the preserve, visitors are astonished by the sight and sound (yes, sound) of (literally) millions of Monarchs “doing their thing”. Even one butterfly brings a smile to most faces. Just imagine the smiles produced by countless beautiful Monarchs in a moving tapestry from the grass to the treetops. This joy was also reflected in all the faces we met, no matter what country or culture they were from.


There are probably many ways to explore the Aztec and Mayan cultures, but one of the best, especially at the start, was for us at the world-famous National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Our knowledgeable Journey Mexico guide made our visit entirely productive and enjoyable. He took us to the right places, showed us many special features, and was able to describe what we were seeing and to answer all of our questions. We were continuously fascinated by what we saw and amazed by what we learned about these ancient civilizations of Mexico and Central America.

In Mexico City we also enjoyed staying at the luxurious 4 Seasons Hotel and eating at several wonderful restaurants. Our final days in the city were a fitting ending for a really great trip and relaxing vacation. The only thing we now feel that could be improved upon would be to have doubled the length of our visit. Thank you, Journey Mexico, for your help and excellent service in creating and actualizing a wonderful, unforgettable adventure travel experience for us.


Want to visit the MONARCH BUTTERFLIES reservers in MEXICO? Browse the following sample itineraries:

Morelia and the Monarch Butterfly Migration – Discover Morelia and witness the natural phenomenon of the Monarch Butterfly migration while also getting to visit several charming nearby towns.

Magical Mexican Migrations: Pacific Whales and Highland Butterflies – An awarded tour by National Geographic, encounter  both of these extraordinary congregations of wildlife by first visiting Morelia and continuing on to the coast of the Sea of Cortez.

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