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Monarch Butterflies

Valle de Bravo

Each year, millions of monarch butterflies migrate over 2,700 miles from southern Canada to spend the winter in the sanctuaries contained within the Butterfly Biosphere Reserve shared by the Estado de México and Michoacán.

Valle de Bravo is fortunate enough to be located in very close proximity to Piedra Herrada and El Capulín, two of the three sanctuaries on the Estado de México's side of the reserve. The season to visit them begins at the end of November and lasts until March. During these months, you can see millions of monarch butterflies huddled together in clusters that hang from the trees. The clusters are often large enough to bend the branches.

In February, the butterflies break away from their clusters and begin flying around, looking for food and preparing for their return to Canada. They mate in March, shortly before departing. If you wish to witness this phenomenon, arrive to the sanctuaries very early in the morning, since the concentration of butterflies is highest between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

One of the most popular activities is the hike up to the observation points. It's a 1.5 hour hike uphill so, if you'd rather avoid the fatigue, feel free to rent a horse. You can also hire a guided tour to either of the two sanctuaries in Valle de Bravo's town square. The service is also available to travelers staying in cabins in the forest.

The following are some rules set by the sanctuaries in order ensure that your visit doesn't damage the ecosystem: pictures can only be taken without a flash and you may not smoke, bring pets, touch the butterflies, or make excessive noise.
Each year, millions of monarch butterflies migrate over 2,700 miles from southern Canada to spend the winter in the sanctuaries contained within the Butterfly Biosphere Reserve shared by the Estado de México and Michoacán.

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Valle de Bravo is fortunate enough to be located in very close proximity to Piedra Herrada and El Capulín, two of the three sanctuaries on the Estado de México's side of the reserve. The season to visit them begins at the end of November and lasts until March. During these months, you can see millions of monarch butterflies huddled together in clusters that hang from the trees. The clusters are often large enough to bend the branches.

In February, the butterflies break away from their clusters and begin flying around, looking for food and preparing for their return to Canada. They mate in March, shortly before departing. If you wish to witness this phenomenon, arrive to the sanctuaries very early in the morning, since the concentration of butterflies is highest between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

One of the most popular activities is the hike up to the observation points. It's a 1.5 hour hike uphill so, if you'd rather avoid the fatigue, feel free to rent a horse. You can also hire a guided tour to either of the two sanctuaries in Valle de Bravo's town square. The service is also available to travelers staying in cabins in the forest.

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