Monarca Mariposa

Trip Start Feb 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 20, 2009

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Monday, March 9, 2009

We left Mexico city on the 9th of April and navigated the Metro to one of the bus terminals and found a first class bus to Zitacuaro which was leaving in 5 minutes (timing!) so we got on and watched Journey to the centre of the earth in spanish which was surprisingly entertaining. From Zitacuaro we found a local bus (also leaving in 5minutes) to Angangueo the closest little town to El Rosario Sanctuary. The local bus took about an hour and picked up every stray person along the way as we have since discovered most mexican buses seem to do. This was also our first experience of small children staring at Alex.
I have to say we spent a large part of that bus trip with fingers crossed that we were going the right way! It all worked out very smoothly though, and we jumped off when we started to see some hotels in Angangeuo. The first place we thought we would go to had police carrying semi automatic rifles so we decided not to stay there. We were pondering the alternatives when Hernan popped out and asked if we were looking for a barrato (cheap) hotel - of course we were. So we stayed at Hotel Alcatraz (no joke) with Hernan and his mother for $300 peso with our own bathroom and hot water at 7am for 2 nights.
Hernan offered to take us to see the Mariposa Monarcas for $500 peso the following day but we already knew that a combi was about 20 so we politely declined. Hernan directed us to Simonīs for some good food, a fried bread butterfly desert and a special viewing of Simonīs postcard collection which we promised to add to from NZ.
After several more extortionate offers for rides to El Rosario ranging between 100 and 500 peso we found a combi and jumped in, where of course another small child stared at Alex for most of the journey. Up a long windy and slightly dodgey dirt road in an ancient combi without a whole lot of suspension we were finally turfed out at a dirt landing and informed with a great deal of unintelligible spanish and pointing that the Sancutary was over there.
So we walked, entry to the sanctuary was sweet as, only about 35peso and we were given a guide to lead us. But now of course we were at 3100m (apparantly that is Mt cook-ish??) and altitude is a tough one for us sea level dwellers so we had to keep asking our guide to stop so were could catch our breath. (probably about 6 times in a 45min up hill walk)


ANYWAY So we got there and it was amazing. There were about 8million butterflies (Iīm quoting that from the info board) and they were mostly still sleeping when we arrive. There was a smallish roped off area of about a dozen trees - some sort of cedar. Which were all absolutely laden with butterflies. They looked like big beehives weighing down the braches it was just incredible. Heaps of the trees had broken branches from the weight of them all. After about an hour or so they started waking up as the sun hit them and started flying around - pretty much just filling the air - crashing into us and everything. Got some good pics, there was a fair bit of butterfly "relations" happening if you get my drift. I may or may not have taken a few snaps of that particular subject matter. Anyway if you look at the photos of the trees the big seedpod/beehive/flower looking type things in the trees are clumps of thousands of butterflies huddling together.


This was a bit of a mission to go see but it was sssooooo worth it. The butterflies migrate to this place and a couple of others from as far north as Canada over 5 generations. Apparently they are just born knowing to try and get here.   


So that was the butterflies. On the way out there were another few hundred or so drinking at a puddle on the road and our combi van driver got out to blow on them to make them fly away so we wouldnīt run over them. 
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