Mexico Monarch Butterfly Country

Immersive Ecology & Social Studies

5 Day Tour

Expert & Bilingual Guide

Transfers Included

The Mexico Monarch Country Program enables teachers to witness the awesome gathering of tens of millions of Monarch butterflies in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Teachers will be given a Monarch Research Guide to help them observe key features of the Monarch’s overwintering habitat and take note of the measures local guides and Biosphere Reserve officials are taking to minimize the environmental impact of visitors.

Why Choose This Program:

This course is aligned with your curriculum, allowing you to enrich your life science, physical science, reading, writing and social studies lesson plans

This trip is accredited through Dominican University. Registration and payment for CEUs is separate and managed by Dominican University

Observe firsthand the awesome sight of millions of butterflies from Canada and the U.S. gathered where their great-grandparents had been a year before

Hike to reach the ‘inner sanctum of the ‘El Rosario’ butterfly sanctuary

Enjoy a walking tour of the Zócalo, Cathedral, National Palace (President’s office) and Templo Mayor

Learn from expert guides such as conservationist William Dent in Monarch Country

Trip Details:

Tour Duration

5 days


Availability

All our tours are individually customized to your interests. While we loved guiding this private tour, it is purely an example of what can be possible and we will tailor your day to day program to your interests. If you would like to go on this tour, or a similar trip, please get in touch.


Group Size

Min 9 | Max 18 people


How You’ll Travel

Private minibus and driver between sites in Mexico and shuttle service to and from the airport.

  • Professional General Liability and Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy ($10,000,000)
  • Private bus transportation and driver for long drives between San Jose and San Vito and Ujarras
  • Accommodations in shared facilities or homestays on site (6 nights total) – San Jose Casa del Parque (2 nights), San Vito (2 nights), Ujarras (3 nights)
  • Custom designed itinerary
  • Entrance fees to all program sites and activities listed on the itinerary
  • Demonstrations from LEAF International teaching artists and students
  • Site visits to LEAF International programs
  • Opportunities for free time on the beach (Dominical) and city exploration (San Jose)
  • Full time local interpreter and cultural guide (Member of Proyecto Jirondai)
  • Breakfast and dinner each day (lunches are on own)
  • All taxes
  • Complete tour participant accounting including an option to pay by credit card
  • “Cancel for Any Reason Insurance” (CFAR) – Cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a 75% refund minus the insurance premiums. This applies to all travelers (except New York residents) and is included in the trip price

Number/Type of Staff

Supporting you on your journey will be one of the most knowledgeable and engaging tour guides in Mexico City, as well as a full-time bilingual travel coordinator.

  • Airfare and baggage fees (to be purchased at the discretion and responsibility of each participant)
  • Customs and immigration fees at airports or border crossings
  • Airport transfer to first night hotel (we will try to collect flight information from each traveler in an effort to help you share taxis with similar arrival times
  • Various meals or drinks listed as “on own” in the itinerary when the group is dispersed for self-exploration
  • Additional nights lodging or any additional days if one chooses to remain in country longer

Detailed Itinerary

Please note that this is simply a sample itinerary to give you an idea of what we've done before and what we could create for you.

Day One: Departure Day!

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Touch down at Mexico City’s Benitez Juarez International Airport before meeting your English-speaking Mexican tour guide! The cultural, culinary and revamped Mexican capital promises an adventure on every corner, and so before heading to our hotel we will spend a couple of hours touring the centro historico of Mexico City – including the Zócalo (the world’s third largest city square), the main Cathedral, the National Palace and its Diego Rivera murals, and ruins of the Templo Mayor, dating back to Aztec times. After this colorful City Tour, we’ll refresh in our hotel before enjoying a welcome dinner at renowned Café Tacuba to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine and be serenaded by live musicians in a beautiful traditional setting frequented mainly by locals.

Day Two: Explore the Bustling Hub of Mexico City

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After a good night’s rest, we’ll enjoy a leisurely Mexican-style breakfast (so many options to choose from!) before departing for an excursion north of the city led by our guide. Our first stop is to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, where most of us will want to climb the Pyramid of the Sun, reportedly the third largest pyramid in the world, and touch its ‘power point’ at the top. In the early afternoon we’ll return to Mexico City to visit the famous National Museum of Anthropology, where we will have a late lunch or ‘Sunday dinner’ in the museum’s spacious outdoor patio. We’ll then embark on a two-hour tour of the Museum itself, highlighting the incredibly rich cultural history of Mexico’s pre-colonial civilizations. You will soon understand why the museum ranks as one of the 10 best in the world! After our inspiring tour, pause outside the museum to take in the atmosphere of the Chapultepec Park, the city’s huge green area. The rest of the evening is free to explore and do as you please – remember we will be rising early tomorrow to depart early in the morning for ‘Monarch Country’!

Day Three: Witness Monarch’s Forest Sanctuaries

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After cresting the high hills that separate Mexico City from the State of Mexico, take in the beautiful scenery on our way to Zitácuaro, ‘capital’ of Monarch Country and the place where we will stay for the next two days! After some time to explore this breathtakingly beautiful region, we’ll head off into the mountains to visit the ‘El Rosario’ Monarch butterfly sanctuary, which is managed and cared for the El Rosario community – it is also where the largest concentrations of Monarchs are found! Mid-afternoon we’ll head back down past the Visitors Center to check out the handicrafts of local artisans – it is difficult to resist buying something unique to this very special place. After a fascinating day of exploration and ecological wonders, we’ll make our way back to town to freshen up and enjoy a dinner, followed by a walking tour of this charming small Mexican town.

Day Four: Walking Tour & Afternoon Program

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After breakfast at our hotel we’ll drive up to the nearby highlands for two walking tours: (1) one of the Alternare Training Center that teaches local community leaders (within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve) how to manage their community forests and watersheds and produce more food on less land for a more sustainable future (amazing work!); and (2) a tour of Angangueo, an old gold mining town facing the challenges of building a greener future. We will enjoy a light almuerzo (lunch) before beginning our intense afternoon program in the community of Valle Verde (near Zitácuaro), involving:

  • Student presentation at the ‘Forestry’ Secondary School with youth leader Jésus Arriaga Vazquez
  • A visit to the ‘Carpinteros’ Secondary School and discussion of student reforestation projects
  • La Comida – Mid-afternoon we will partake of a typical Mexican ‘main meal of the day’ prepared by a well-known local chef at Hotel México
  • Opening ceremony of the Festival Nacional de la Mariposa Monarca (National Monarch Butterfly Festival) with:
  • Presentation by local artists from the schools
  • Presentation by the ‘Raices Otomies’ Folkloric Dance Group
  • Mexican-style dinner or “Cena” [Yes, it is true Mexicans eat four times a day … and the food is wonderful!]
Day Five: Final Day

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Unfortunately today marks the end of our tour. Enjoy one final Mexican breakfast before an early departure, via minibus, for Mexico City Airport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's Included?

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  • Custom-designed itinerary based on years of experience in Mexico
  • Top tour guide, one of the most knowledgeable and engaging in Mexico City
  • Full-time bilingual travel coordinator and professional guide accompanying the group during entire tour
  • Private minibus and driver between sites in Mexico and shuttle service to and from the airport
  • Entrance fees to all program sites and activities listed on the itinerary
  • Optional graduate credit from an accredited university, Dominican University
  • Recommended resources/teaching materials (age appropriate books, lesson plans, and online resources.)
  • Peer connections
  • All taxes and gratuities where the group is together (tour leader and driver included)
  • Complete tour participant accounting including option to pay by credit card
  • Comprehensive Accident, Medical, Liability, and Travel Protection/Cancellation/Interruption Insurance for the Land portion of the trip
  • Liability Insurance included – Professional General Liability and Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy ($10,000,000).
  • Optional Cancel for Any Reason Insurance – Cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a 75% refund
What's Not Included?

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  • Airfare and any baggage fees (to be purchased at the discretion and responsibility of each participant)
  • Customs and immigration fees at airports or border crossings
  • Any other meals, snacks, drinks, taxes, and gratuities when the group is dispersed for self-exploration
  • Additional nights lodging or additional touring days if one chooses to remain in country longer
What Should I Bring?

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Refillable water bottle, good walking shoes. You must have a valid U.S. passport (not expiring in the next 6 months)

Good to Know Before You Go

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• A full-time bilingual travel coordinator and professional guide will accompany the group during entire tour
• Remember to bring some cash/credit cards for lunches and additional food/drinks.
• Dietary requirements can be catered for – just let us know when booking.
• This itinerary is entirely flexible and customizable. Simply get in touch with a member of our staff to craft your ideal trip.