Migration of monarch butterflies

Experience a unique natural phenomenon in the mountains of Mexico

Every year the monarch butterflies migrate from the US to the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve in Mexico. The creatures spend their winters here on the steep hills of the Sierra Madre.

Every autumn millions of monarch butterflies fly south covering more than 4.000 kilometres to spend the winter in the pine and spruce forests in the state Michoacán in Mexico. This annual migration of the monarch butterflies is one of the largest natural phenomena in the world.

The colourful creatures return every year to specific locations on the south-west slopes of the Sierra Madre. They get more sun than the northern hills.

Location of the monarch butterflies

One of the best places to see the butterflies is Ocampo, which is at 3.000 metres altitude. And the best time to see them is in December, January and February. They rest in the trees in what seem like bunches, quite an unusual sight.

See millions of monarch butterflies in Mexico.

The numbers of butterflies are declining

In recent years, it’s been difficult for the butterflies to complete their migration, scientists have noticed a decline in the number of butterflies that make it all the way to Mexico.

The butterflies have to overcome several challenges on their journey, such as lack of food in the US, logging of natural forests in Mexico and climate change, which causes many other issues.

To protect these animals, the US, Canada and Mexico have joined forces to ensure the preservation of the monarch butterflies. Thankfully, the population is slowly gaining numbers again.

A beautiful monarch butterfly.

Visiting the migration of monarch butterflies

The best time to see Mexico's colourful monarch butterflies is December, January, and February. They hang in clusters from the trees, which is a wonderful sight.

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