Monarchs of Mexico: The Great Butterfly Gathering
Bask in the singular beauty of Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, soak up the cultural heritage of pink-hued Morelia, and relax in the sun on the Ixtapan coast.
- Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine and learn how to make tamales
- Take to the skies with an early-morning hot air balloon ride
- Encounter thousands of migrating monarchs in the forests of Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
- Set your heart aflutter with a canopy zipline amid the winged creatures
- Discover the golden sands, turquoise waters, and world-class snorkeling of the unspoiled Ixtapan coast
Experience the breathtaking magic of Michoacán’s monarch butterflies during this immersive 11-day trip through west-central Mexico. The adventure starts in Mexico City, where you’ll explore the rich culture and cuisine during a culinary tour, before soaring above the ancient Aztec site of Teotihuacan in a hot air balloon. Come face to face with millions of dazzling butterflies at a duo of magical biosphere reserves, then bask in the pink hues and colonial architecture of Morelia. Finally, spend two blissful days at leisure in the beachside idyll of Ixtapa, where you can bask on the golden shores, explore the Sierra Madre foothills on horseback, or scuba dive the pristine waters. At the end of each day, indulge in the luxurious comfort of authentic hotels, hand-selected to complement your encounters with Mexico’s unique natural and cultural treasures.
When to go: November to March
Length: 11 days / 10 nights
Itinerary at a Glance:
Day 1- 4: Mexico City
Day 4- 7: Zitacuaro
Day 7- 8: Morelia
Day 8- 11: Ixtapa
Day 1. Arrival in Mexico City and transfer to your luxurious family-friendly hotel
On arrival in Mexico City Airport, you will be greeted by your driver and transferred to your family-friendly hotel. From fun children’s amenities like a daily Cotton Candy Hour and dedicated Kid’s Club, your young adventurers will be in heaven. Let them loose on the Bentley push cars or a miniature battery-powered Tesla, or ramp up the fun with an en-suite glamping experience. While in the capital, you may be able to attend a lucha libre Mexican wrestling match.
Located in the heart of the Mexican capital, St Regis Mexico City is the perfect spot to enjoy exquisite, fresh cuisine from the selection of restaurants or indulgent treatment at the spa and wellness center.
Day 2: Mexico City food tour and chocolate tasting
Cultivate your foodie side during a walking culinary tour of the historic center, sampling food that showcases the diversity of Mexican cuisine, from authentic street style bites to the fresh produce of the bustling Aztec Market. Then, at the Mucho Mundo Chocolate Museum, learn the history and cultural importance of the cacao bean, and sample some sweet, chocolatey treats.
Day 3: Hot air balloon ride over the Teotihuacan Pyramids
In the early hours of the morning, embark on a hot air balloon ride over the Teotihuacan Pyramids, a cherished historical site and cornerstone of Aztec culture. After you land, your expert guide will reveal the history and power behind what the Aztecs referred to as the “Birthplace of the Gods”. You will even have the opportunity to climb the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon to bask in panoramic views of the ancient settlement.
Day 4: Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and onwards to Zitacuaro
Today’s experience at Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve will have set your heart aflutter. In one of Mexico’s largest nature reserves, walk through a forest that’s home to millions of migrating butterflies. Your private guide will teach you the history and ecological importance of the monarch, a captivating creature revered as one of the world’s most beautiful butterflies. After your tour, you’ll be driven to your ranch hotel, located in the quiet and serene edge of bustling Zitacuaro. Lounge at the pool or simply soak in the panorama and enjoy the authentic ambiance.
Offering comfortable accommodation close to nature, the rustic Rancho San Cayetano boasts spectacular views across beautiful gardens and imposing volcanoes beyond.
Day 6: Join the great monarch gathering at Sierra Chincua
In the early morning, your private driver and guide will take you to the heart of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve at Sierra Chincua. Once you enter the reserve, opt to travel for three miles on foot or horseback to the great butterfly gathering, located deep in the forest. Gaze in pure awe at the majesty of the monarchs as they flutter around the trees in a harmonious testament to the power and beauty of nature. The site also includes a zipline and climbing wall, as well as a few restaurants. At the end of the afternoon, return to your ranch hotel to reflect on your magical experience.
Day 7: Morelia city tour and learn to cook Tamales
Your day begins with a three-hour transfer to Morelia, a charming state capital of imposing colonial buildings made from the region’s distinctive pink stone. In the company of an expert guide, wander the atmospheric streets and discover Morelia’s tumultuous history, an important location in the Mexican War of Independence which culminated in a victory against the Spanish 200 years ago. Visit the House of Morelos, a museum set in the home of José Maria Morelos, a hero of the country’s fight for freedom, as well as other highlights like the Music Conservatory, the Bishop’s Palace, and the College of Saint Nicolás. Afterwards, learn the intricacies of authentic Morelian tamales in a special cooking course at the illustrious San Miguelito restaurant. This is a hands-on, family-friendly experience for all ages. Savor a lunch of authentic Morelian cuisine, including your own tamales, before transferring to your hotel for the evening.
Harking back to the days of colonial architecture, the Casa Grande is a chic, stylish hotel featuring a luxurious onsite restaurant and authentic, relaxing aura.
Day 8: Discover the Ixtapan coast
Today, take a private four-hour transfer through Michoacán’s lush, hilly landscape to Ixtapa, where the sky and water are in nonstop competition to appear the bluest, and the golden shores are as inviting as any in the world.
Nestled between Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and surrounded by tropical forests, lies Cala de Mar, a luxury beach resort offering three restaurants, an indulgent spa, and chic, terracotta-hued suites with private plunge pools.
Day 9 & 10: Days at leisure on the Ixtapan coast
The next two days are all yours. Bask in the rays, dine on fresh fish in the hotel’s Seafood Market Restaurant, or lounge in the Cala De Mar spa and wellness center. Get your bearings with a guided tour of the area, from the quaint fishing village of Zihuatanejo to Ixtapa’s luxury marina. Cycle through an ecological and wildlife reserve while looking out for crocodiles and iguanas, saddle up and discover the endless sands and lush mountain backdrop of Playa Larga, or charter a crewed yacht and sail around the bay of Zihuatanejo at sunset. Learn to surf at Playa Linda or uncover the secrets of the deep with a private scuba diving lesson.
Day 11: Departure
Today, transfer to Ixtapa Airport, only a 25-minute drive away. Embark on your homeward journey full of memories of your time among Mexico’s natural wonders.
Price: USD 4,589 per person*
- Meet and greet airport service
- Private transfers and tours
- Accommodation with breakfast
- Meals where stated
- 24/7 ground support
- All amenities included in a bespoke Terracotta Travel luxury trip
*Rate calculated based on two people traveling