A MONTH IN MEXICO
HIGHLANDS AND FORESTS
Mexico Wildlife Holiday, Monarch Roost, Butterfly & Birdwatching with Greentours
The Monarch Butterfly creates a spectacle that can be matched by few other phenomena in the natural world. Each spring millions leave the beautiful landscapes of the Central Mexican Highlands and head north over much of North America. Five generations and eight months later they are back, several hundred million of them cramming into just a few mountain top firs!
Gathered together in millions they are transformed into a swirling carnival of colour. Fir needles disappear under a deep blanket of orange and peach wings. Sometimes the sheer weight of butterflies brings branches crashing to the ground, the butterflies erupting upwards like a strontium-powered firework! Speaking of eruptions, the perfect 12,400 feet cone of Volcan de Fuego does so regularly. Our viewing of Vermilion Flycatchers, black and red Swallowtails or Nine-banded Armadillos, may be interrupted by the spectacle!
Mexico’s unique highland pine and oak forests are festooned with bromeliads and on flowery banks are draped with Penstemons, Dahlias and scarlet Salvias. We’ll see lurid Red Warblers, endemic Blue Mockingbirds, Mountain Trogons, and tiny Bumblebee Hummingbirds. Down by the Pacific we’ll see Turtle hatchlings meeting the ocean for the first time, and in mountain streams we’ll find the weird Axolotl. We'll see more than a hundred butterfly species including Elfstreaks, Anna’s Eighty-eight, turquoise-infused Teal Beamer, the Malachite, Blackened Bluewing, Blomfield’s Beauty, and the spectacular endemic White Morpho. Morelia is one of the loveliest cities you’ll ever see. The arcaded plazas lined with 17th century mansions are still so perfect that the whole city-centre has been declared a World Heritage Site!
The beauty of the landscapes of the southernmost reaches of Mexico cannot be overstated. Aquamarine rivers cut through the rainforests of Lacandonia, where the white-robed locals are as exotic as the Toucans, Oropendulas and Scarlet Macaws, the latter abundant in the giant Reserva de Montes Azul. Butterflies are everywhere, among 250 or more species are beauties such as Splendid Mapwing, half a dozen Kite-Swallowtails, Emerald-patched Cattleheart, Cloud-forest Monarch, various Clearwings, and the elegantly sculpted Black-veined Leafwing.
Guacamayas is quite simply one of the best wildlife lodges in the World. Superbly comfortable, you can just sit on your balcony and watch Great Currasows and Yucatan Howler Monkeys in trees beside the great Rio Lacantun. Squadrons of noisy parrots fly over as the sun rises and later the riverbanks become a magnet for butterflies with hundreds of Sulphurs and Kite-Swallowtails forming tight congregations that allow one within a few centimetres. The colourful Indian populace of cultured San Cristóbal mingle with tourists amid shops selling rustic crafts and restaurants serving sophisticated cuisines from around the world! Mountain Trogons and Pink-headed Warblers inhabit pine-oak forests festooned with all manner of Bromeliads and orchids. Myriad butterflies gather on the sandy banks of multi-hued Lagos de Montebello - rare Yellow Kite-Swallowtail, Daggerwings, and the stunning red, blue, black and white Anna’s Eight-eight. Elegant White-throated Magpie-Jays and Spider Monkeys frequent yellow-blossomed Tabebuias in the kilometre deep Sumidero Canyon. Vibrant red Salvias are visited by many hummingbirds including Long-billed Starthroats and iridescent Green-throated Mountain-gems. At Palenque we’ll take time out to learn about this most beautiful of all Mayan sites, though we’ll spend much time enjoying one of the richest wildlife sites in Central America – manakins, stubtails, trogons and motmots and so much more
Butterflies, Birds, Flowers, Mountain Landscapes and Morelia. Mayan and Aztec ancient sites and San Cristobal. Mexican Cuisine.
Relaxed and fairly easy. Up to three or four miles a day and always at a slow pace, perfectly suited to flower and butterfly photographers. Some quite steep but well-made paths. Please note that though the Monarch roosts are at nine to ten thousand feet above sea level, we take a whole week to gradually acclimatise you to the altitude, moving up steadily during the week.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Mexico. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 15. Only two leaders will accompany a group of 9 or less.
After a night at the excellent Gran Prix Hotel close by Mexico City’s Airport we have a three night stay at the plain but welcoming Laguna Maria, close by spectacular Volcan Fuego, and just a short walk from a beautiful lagoon set in an extinct volcano crater and surrounded by forest. Then, after a night at the pleasant Hacienda Hotel in Zapotlan, we have three nights in the elegantly furnished rooms of the charming Misión Pátzcuaro, on the edge of the beautiful old town of Patzcuaro. Close-by the Monarch sanctuaries we stay in the warm and homely Hotel Mineral in pretty Tlalpujahua for three nights. Lastly we have three nights in the Hotel Rancho Las Margaritas’ spacious modern rooms in fine countryside near Valle de Bravo.
In the second half of the trip we have a night at the Gran Prix Hotel close by Mexico City’s airport before we move to lovely San Cristóbal in the highlands of Chiapas for a two night stay at the lovely Diego de Mazariegos Hotel. Next are two nights in the Parador Museo Santa Maria a converted Hacienda whose gorgeous rooms overlook bird-filled gardens. An elegant restaurant, sublime views and the whole is an art museum too – you’ll love this place. After two nights in the comfortable cabana-style rooms by the cascading green waters at Las Nubes we’ll arrive at one of the finest wildlife lodges we’ve ever come across, the Centro Ecoturistico las Guacamayas. Like Las Nubes this is a locally owned and run lodge funded by the Mexican government. The semi-detached cabana rooms have large comfortable beds and they are fully screened and very cool. You can watch toucans, howler monkeys and macaws from the armchairs and hammocks on your verandah. A stunning place. The Hotel Misión in Palenque feels like it is in the middle of the rainforest for the grounds are extensive and largely natural and, of course, are full of monkeys and birds. After three nights enjoying the hospitality and excellent cuisine of the Misión we’ll have the final night of the tour in the Hotel Misión Zona Rosa close by ancient Teotihuacan and handy for the airport. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.
UK return flights are direct from Heathrow to Mexico City. An Internal flight then takes us on to Colima. A second Internal flight then takes us on to Tuxtla-Gutierrez returning from Villahermosa to Mexico City at the end of the tour. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Warm and sunny with only occasional showers. Sometimes quite cool at higher altitudes especially where the Monarchs winter. In the second half of the trip it will be pleasantly warm for the most part though it can become quite hot in the middle of the day so relaxing siestas are certainly in order in the Lacandon Rainforests! Occasional showers can be expected.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health news. Flower, bird, mammal and butterfly checklists are available.