Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

monarch butterfly sanctuary

Looking for information about the monarch butterfly sanctuary? Our website is mainly focused on everything related to monarch butterflies, as well as their respective sanctuaries.

The sanctuaries of the monarch butterfly are considered one of the four natural beauties and have even been recognized as world heritage by UNESCO, you can find them in the east of Michoacan and covers the municipalities of: Villa de Allende, Contepec, San Felipe del progreso, Ocampo, Donato Guerra, Zitácuaro and Aporo.

Guide for tourists visiting the sanctuary

If you plan to visit the monarch butterfly sanctuary and spend an unforgettable moment alone or with your family, you should keep in mind the following code of conduct:

  • Follow the established paths
  • Remain silent on the tour
  • Follow the instructions and recommendations of the sanctuary guides
  • No smoking, no lighting fires
  • Do not disturb, take or carry away monarch butterflies
  • Do not introduce food, drinks, sharp objects, pets or firearms
  • Do not use flash when taking pictures
  • Do not take or take away other elements that are part of the forest such as plants, mushrooms or animals.
  • Respect the access limits established in the monarch butterfly sanctuary

When is the monarch butterfly season in Michoacán?

The season takes place every year, starting in November until March, although the best date to go to the monarch butterfly sanctuary is undoubtedly February and March. Therefore, if you visit Michoacán on those dates, do not hesitate to enjoy this wonderful spectacle.

How many monarch butterflies can there be in a sanctuary?

It is estimated that approximately 12 colonies make up the sanctuary of the monarch butterfly, which travel 400 km from the United States to Michoacán.

How much does the monarch butterfly sanctuary cost?

The access has a price of 80 pesos with a guide. There is also the option of riding a horse in a round trip which costs between 100 and 150 pesos.

Relevant information about the monarch butterfly sanctuary

Did you know that monarch butterflies in Mexico are very important insects? Here are the reasons for this and other relevant details that will help you better understand about these royalty.

Monarch butterflies are a species with a high migratory volume; we know that they are capable of migrating up to 5 thousand kilometers, traveling from the forests of Canada to Mexico.

It is considered a species of vital importance to the ecosystem and mother nature, as well as a Mexican tradition.

The generations of monarch butterflies capable of performing the migration phenomenon have the capacity to live between 7 and 8 months; very characteristic and amazing since compared to other flying insects their life span is much longer.

Mariposas monarca en México

The main importance of monarch butterflies in Mexico is due to the fact that even though in their evolutionary caterpillar form they feed on the shells and plants of the place they inhabit, in their adult or imago form they also produce pollination. And currently it has been described that around 20 million of this species are housed in the sanctuaries. Can you imagine the large number of plants that are pollinated by the monarchs? That’s right, millions of flowers do it thanks to the migratory path of this butterfly species achieving the promotion of genetic variety of the existing flora.

Monitoring Monarch Butterflies in Mexico

The monarch butterflies have been so fundamental that many national and international organizations, as well as companies and government agencies, have implemented mechanisms and strategies for the entire migration process. The fundamental goal is to achieve the recovery of all the areas where the asclepias or cottons develop; because they grow on the weeds in the agricultural fields and can harm the production of fruits, cereals or vegetables; but they are the main reservoir for the females to deposit their eggs.

On the other hand, the abundance of these butterflies is indicative of stable environmental quality and the possibility of maintaining the ecosystem. In addition, they are part of the food chain for certain birds and mammals, thus maintaining the environmental balance. And, apart from pollination, they serve as food for parasites.

It is said that where there are large numbers of these insects, other species that provide greater pollination and diversity of insects can also be attracted.

From the scientific point of view, they have been considered as model species for many centuries, because, from them, it is possible to investigate areas of biology; it even includes branches of migration, control of plagues, genetic evolution, biological development, dynamics of colonies, preservation of nature, among others.

Thanks to all the studies that have been carried out, the necessary information has been provided on how this class of insects are unsurpassed in geographical migration processes, and on a temporary basis throughout the world. Adding important contributions to the continuous research on climate changes.

Finally, the great cultural importance of monarch butterflies in Mexico for the indigenous peoples in the areas where they live is highlighted, since they are indicative of the beginning of corn cultivation. Farmers already know when they see them that the coming weather conditions will be suitable for their crops. And for this reason, many institutions protect the sanctuaries where monarch butterflies take refuge.

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in México

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a territorial space that covers part of the State of Mexico and Michoacán in the Aztec country. This place occupies an extension of 56259 hectares of land in the middle of wonderful mountains with thick vegetation where trees and other vegetable species of great value abound.

Reserva de la biosfera

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is located just 100 kilometers northeast of Mexico City. A place so valuable that today it is considered and was declared World Heritage by UNESCO. This reserve is a clear example of how varied nature is in Mexico; even in the mountains surrounding it you can find different microclimates that give the environment a more incredible touch. Added to the flora, the fauna of the place is not left behind; especially the important amount of oyamels that grow and develop in the place having it as their main habitat.

It was on July 8, 2008 when this place in Mexico was declared a natural property or world heritage site by UNESCO. The criteria used for the reserve was the exceptional aesthetics of its natural beauty; even before that designation, the monarch butterfly biosphere reserve was an excellent attraction for those who are passionate about ecotourism.

It is also known as the region of the monarch butterfly, located in the transversal neovolcanic axis of Mexico; it is a protected area through certain government programs that seek to conserve the species found there as well as those that arrive each year, the monarch butterflies.

Main characteristics of the Biosphere Reserve in Mexico

Despite the fact that the lower parts of the monarch butterfly biosphere reserve have suffered modifications as a result of the agriculture practiced by the population in rural and surrounding urban areas, an exceptional environment is still maintained in the place.

The region is covered by mountains that contain a dense layer of forests formed mainly by oak, pine and oyamel. Likewise, although in smaller proportion, small portions containing juniper, cedar and beautiful meadows are also found.

This ecosystem provided by the oyamel pine forests has a direct influence on the conservation status of the reserve; it has also managed so far to be the main attraction of millions of butterflies each fall who travel in groups around 4500 kilometers from the United States and Canada fleeing from the winter climates that threaten their lives.

For a period of 5 months these insects form congregations or colonies that become a natural spectacle worthy of admiration; and what both locals and tourists call the migratory phenomenon of the Monarch. The preference of this butterfly for Mexico’s biosphere reserve is the microclimate and shelter provided by the aforementioned trees, which they take advantage of to shelter from frost and winter rains.

Because the conservation of the ecosystem is so essential in this site, over the years different decrees have been promulgated by the Mexican government; which aim to maintain the forests in optimal conditions for the butterflies. So much so that only the areas surrounding the three main nuclei are allowed to be logged, as in the latter it is totally prohibited.

 Threats to the Biosphere Reserve in Mexico

Reserva de la biosfera

The biosphere reserve in Mexico, or Monarch Butterfly Region as it is also known, is dangerously threatened by a series of activities whose impacts are merely negative for the ecosystem. This in turn is so complex that it diminishes the population of monarch butterflies.

Among the main causes of these situations, human beings are the number one, since the use of herbicides and deforestation are some of the threats that endanger the biosphere reserve. However, the extreme climate also helps to endanger the efforts being made to conserve the place.

Protecting the area that has been called a world heritage site and that attracts thousands of tourists every year is no longer an easy task; this is evident only by looking at the core of the reserve. Illegal logging is rare, but it still causes havoc and the number of butterflies arriving is dwindling.

Many experts in the field argue that the big problem lies in the fact that the conservation projects being implemented are focused only on monarch butterflies and not on conserving the entire ecosystem.

Colonies or Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico

From 2007 to 2009, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve already had 8 of the 12 colonies in Mexico where butterflies flying from Canada and the United States arrive to spend the winter.

These 8 colonies or sanctuaries are not entirely open to the public, but only 4 of them; which have been accommodated with adequate infrastructure so that tourist visits do not hinder the butterflies’ rest. These sanctuaries have the following names:

  • Sierra Chincua
  • La Mesa
  • El Capulín
  • El Rosario

The other 8 colonies are not in a position to serve as a tourist attraction, as the presence of humans in the area puts the butterfly colonies in serious danger.

Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico

Did you know that the monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Mexico are very important areas for these insects? Here we show you all the details about these sites.