Spirit of Butterflies Tour to Mexico:
The award winning, eco-educational THE SPIRIT OF BUTTERFLIES Tours, has been guiding clients to the majesty of the monarchs and more since 2001.
It is time to pass the baton.
I highly recommend staying at JM Butterfly Bed and Breakfast, in the tiny pueblo of Macheros, in the state of Mexico, on the border of Michoacan. This pueblo sits at about 9,000′ in the shadow of one of most beautiful overwintering monarch habitats, Cerro Pelon, where I first discovered about one hundred million monarchs in 1977.
I have known the proprietor, Joel Moreno, who grew up in Macheros, all his life. He is now in his mid thirties. He worked in the States for many years saving money to build his dream. What began as a four room B&B four years ago has evolved into a fourteen room beautifully appointed hotel. Elena, Joel’s wife, is from the States and has a Ph.D in anthropology. They met a few years ago when Joel guided her up to see the monarchs.
Joel and Elena are the bridge to the future for this little town, now with a population of almost five hundred.
I recommend Joel & Elena as knowledgeable guides who are involved in their community and involved in protecting the monarchs’ habitats. It is a special place.
For more information: visit: jmbutterflybnb.com
Visit the Magic of Monarchs in Mexico…renew yourself and help save the butterflies
There are some places on our beautiful planet that are deeply soul stirring and one of these is not so very far away. From Canada and the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, the seemingly fragile monarch butterflies fly as many as 3,000 miles to a place where they have never before been. They start out one by one, then scores, hundreds, soon thousands are seen flying together, devouring the nectar from favorite flowers they need as fuel for their long journey. They seem have their own built-in GPS, Global Positioning Satellite, system. The monarch butterflies navigate in part by magnetic signals. They have magnetite in their bodies, an iron oxide, which is attracted by the pull of distant iron rich mountains in Mexico. They also use the length and intensity of sunlight as well as ultraviolet light to guide their way, starting their migration in autumn when the sun is at a 56-degree angle to the horizon at noon. No other species of butterfly in the world has a similar, bird-like, annual migration.
Millions of monarch butterflies find valleys among the mountaintops at altitudes of 9,000 to 12,000 feet in the Transverse Neo-Volcanic Range in Central Mexico. They start arriving at the beginning of November, coinciding with the Mexican national holiday, Los Dias de Muertos, Days of the Dead. Legend says that the monarchs are special old souls returning to sacred mountains. They will remain here for over four months before mating and then making their return journey north in March. There are about thirteen mountaintops where the monarch butterflies cluster, at each site the population of butterflies varies from year to year, from 30 million to as many as 250 million or more in a few square miles. These isolated mountain tops provide the ideal microclimate to allow the monarchs to survive the winter.
An estimated 10,000 monarch butterflies roost on each tree for the warmth of their companions during the cold nights, mostly in Oyamel Fir trees. This type of tree grows only in the beautiful state of Michoacan, and the western part of the state of Mexico. The tree’s Latin name is Abies religiosa; its branches were used in ancient pre-Colombian sacred worship. In the light of the morning sun, the monarchs slowly leave the warmth of their companions in the trees and fly low, landing to drink the morning dew and dampened earth near natural springs. The males need the mineral salts from the earth to mate successfully. As the sun moves higher, the monarchs’ flights are more energetic, millions of golden fluttering wings rustling the air in the sound and beauty of ever changing patterns of light and movement.