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  • Writer's pictureAkriti Kapoor

Monarch Mariposa Migration - A Mexican Miracle

Hi guys,

How are you all doing ? I know It’s been a while I posted something new but this one is something that will blow your minds away.

We all love butterflies, don’t we? Well, most among the prettier gender certainly do. And how would you feel about witnessing millions of them in one place? Maybe stunned or overwhelmed or thrilled or mesmerised or spellbound or all at the same time, like I was.

Imagine looking up at the sky and finding it to be orange and black (the colors of the Monarch Butterflies)rather than blue. Just to give you a sense of how numerous they are, when they fly en masse from time to time during the day, the sound that's created feels more like a distant waterfall or heavy rainfall slowly approaching you from the other side of the forest. Their flight feels more like a synchronised dance to some heavenly music we mere mortals can't hear.

By this time I suppose the obvious question occupying most of your head is but why such a congregation of these beautiful creations in one place? Well, have you heard about the Monarch butterfly migration? I came to know of it only after coming to Mexico and it had been on my bucket list ever since.

Millions of Monarch butterflies (a species of butterflies) migrate from the northeastern United States and Canada to southwestern Mexico covering a distance of almost 3000 miles every year. When the chill starts settling in the air up north, the butterflies start migrating to Mexico. It starts around the month of October and they start their journey back up north around March when the temperatures are bearable for them. The most intriguing fact is that no single butterfly ever completes the entire round trip. The ones that came to Mexico will never make it back, but they mate and reproduce and their offsprings continue the journey.

They take shelter in the Oyamel fir trees in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. A drive of approximately three hours from Mexico City will take you to the state of Michoacán where this natural reserve is located. The butterflies will fly and flutter around when it’s hot and they’ll go back and bunch up on the branches when it’s cold. So the best time to visit, in order to get the best views is during the noon when the sun shines the brightest.

There are four places where you can witness this butterfly spectacle within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. It stretches across Michoacán and the state of Mexico.

1. El Rosario, Michoacan

2. Sierra Chincua, Michoacan

3. Cerro Pelon, Michoacan

4. Piedra Herrada, Valle de Bravo (State of Mexico) The one that we visited was El Rosario - the one most visited by tourists. There are tour buses from Mexico City that can take you there for a day trip, meals included. We, however rented a car and drove down. Once there, it is a steep hike of around an hour, after walking past a beautiful local market selling food, refreshments and crafts. Expectedly, most of the crafts are themed around the butterflies - ranging from butterfly wings for children to butterfly emblazoned beer mugs for adults, with clothes, jewellery and multiple other items completing the range.

The hike was tiring but fun. You also have the option to rent a horse that can take you all the way up and then back down.

As we kept hiking up we saw millions of these beautiful creations - most clinging to trees in clusters, a lot of them flying around, some sitting on flowers and sadly many lying dead along the pathway. I was lucky enough that one came and sat on my hand for a few seconds and I got a picture with it. I was brimming with childish joy when that happened.

I am extremely happy that I could experience this wonderous phenomenon in my lifetime. I would strongly recommend you to plan your trip to Mexico around the time when you can also experience the Monarch Mariposa Migration, because this is something most places won't be able to provide you with an alternate for.


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