We have just recently returned from Mexico where we visited the Piedra Herrada Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. I have to say without a doubt this was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. To see this in person is mesmerizing and breath taking.
To begin the journey you can either hike up the mountain or ride a horse; we opted for the horses. It is about a hour and a half ride up the mountain and once you arrive you will see butterflies here and there flying around. Am I here? Is this it? No. You then walk a short distance and literally you turn the corner and it stops you in your tracks. Butterflies are everywhere. Everywhere.
There are hundreds of Oyamel Fir trees and they are literally covered in the Monarch butterflies. Covered. The photos – though I took several- do not even begin to capture how remarkable and amazing this place is.
The butterflies are hanging in mass on the trees clinging to each other not only for warmth but it also makes them look like dead leaves to prey/ birds. I thought this was fascinating.
It was captivating, to be surrounded by a sky filled with butterflies. We were silent, enveloped in the hum of thousands of butterfly wings. You are not allowed to use a flash with the cameras while visiting the Sanctuary. As a result, sadly some of my photos did not come out very well, but I did manage to get a few good captures.
Our guide explained to us that this was a banner year for the Monarchs and that they had not had numbers this large in years. We would like to think that our efforts have helped make this happen along with the efforts of so many that have been focusing on pollinator plants and host plants for the butterflies. There are several locations throughout Mexico you can go to visit the butterflies. We researched the different locations and decided upon Piedra Herrada; you can find links to here and other sanctuaries along with other information at Ruta Monarca.
If you are looking for more information and photos of butterflies, you can read a previous article titled Butterflies at the Nursery.