The Monarchs of Michoacan

Travel Idea:

The Monarchs of Michoacan

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Length of trip:

8 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 2650

Best travel dates to go:

Any time.

Detailed Description of this trip:

Join a small group for this special journey to Mexico's state of Michoacan, (MEECH-wa-cahn), where you will witness the Palm Sunday arts and crafts festival in Uruapan before visiting the wintering home of the monarch butterflies in the oyamel forests of the region. The trip begins in colonial Morelia, and continues to Uruapan where the Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) festivities include one of the most important and revered arts and crafts fairs in Mexico. Visit the villages of the Meseta Purepecha, and the artisan communities on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro. Finally, you’ll visit the winter home of millions of monarch butterflies that migrate to exactly the same region, year after year. It was not discovered until the 1970’s that the annual southern migration path of the monarchs, east of the Rockies, was to the oyamel fir forests of Michoacan where the butterflies cluster in trees to stay warm and protected from the cold air. In 2006, Journeys first Michoacan group was accompanied by Joan Weber and led by Mexico expert Stephanie Schneiderman (also known as Tia Stephanie). Our travelers were charmed by the beauty and lack of pretension in Michoacan, by the sincerity and welcome offered by the guides and hosts, and by Stephanie’s enthusiasm and insight.

Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Morelia

    Arrive Morelia.

    Upon your arrival in Morelia, you will be met and transferred to your lovely, centrally located suites-hotel.

    Food and Dining

    Enjoy Mexican hot chocolate or other refreshments of your choosing, served local-style, at the open-air portales located across from the Cathedral. This is a perfect setting for receiving your orientation to Michoacan.


    Overnight at the Suites Galeria or similar.
    Lodging: Suites Galeria.

  • Day 2 - Morelia


    After breakfast, your Michoacan guide will lead you on on a walking tour of Morelia, the capital of the state and a place where traditions in music, arts and higher education run deep.


    The city is a colonial architectural gem with stone streets and plazas, and one exquisite building after another designed around central courtyards and gardens. On the walls of the the inner courtyard of the Government Palace, you’ll find larger-than-life paintings by the famous muralist, Alfredo Zalce, which tell a vibrant story of the people of Michoacan. Today you'll also visit the Cathedral, Temple of the Roses, the former Aqueduct, and the outstanding House of “Artesanias”.

    Food and Dining

    This special evening will begin with the viewing of the illuminated Cathedral followed by an impressive welcome dinner at one of Morelia’s top rated restaurants. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner.


    Lodging: Suites Galeria.

  • Day 3 - El Rosario

    El Rosario Butterfly Reserve.

    Leave the world of art and history behind as you embark on a one of a kind nature trek to witness one of the greatest natural phenomena: the winter migration of the monarch butterfly to the transvolcanic mountains of central Mexico.


    Every winter, millions of butterflies migrate south to the oyamel fir forests which are found in a very small area of the mountain tops in this region. The nearby trees, streams, underbrush and fog all form an intricate ecosystem which enables the monarch’s survival. It wasn’t until 1975 that scientists first tracked down the monarch’s winter site in Mexico. Before this discovery, the monarch’s winter hideout had been a secret known only to the local villagers. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

  • Day 4 - Mexico


    In the morning, you will visit one more sanctuary before departing for Patzcuaro. This quaint town lies along the shores of the lake that shares its name.


    After settling into your hotel, you will have the opportunity to walk around the town, exploring its plazas, churches, and charming cobblestone streets. Meals: Breakfast.

  • Day 5 - Mexico


    After breakfast, we will visit the ruins of the pre-Hispanic Purepecha empire in Tzintzuntzan, which means “Place of the Hummingbirds.” Little is known about the early Purepecha people, but it is believed that they are descendants of nomadic peoples from northwestern Mexico, known as the Chichimecas.


    Spend time visiting the present day village and artisans of Tzintzuntzan. From here, we’ll continue with a drive around the lake, stopping at important artisan communities along the way, such as Santa Fe de la Laguna and Erongaricuaro, the first towns established by Vasco de Quiroga, and Tocuaro, known for its traditional wooden mask carvings.
    Meals: Breakfast.

  • Day 6 - Mexico

    Arts, Crafts and Antiques

    Today you’ll travel to the eastern shores of Lake Patzcuaro to visit the master wood mask carvers of Tocuaro, whose masks are renowned throughout Mexico. Jaguars and mythical creatures are depicted in these decorative, ceremonial masks.

    Arts, Crafts and Antiques

    From here, you’ll travel to the bohemian, colonial town of Erongaricuaro, which has become a hub for area poets, writers, and artists.


    You’ll walk in its charming plaza and absorb the creative atmosphere before returning to your home base in Patzcuaro, where you’ll have time to roam the cobblestone streets and alleyways. Meals: Breakfast.

  • Day 7 - Morelia

    Private Car Service

    After a leisurely breakfast you’ll say good by to charming Patzcuaro for your return journey to the capital city, Morelia.

    Arts, Crafts and Antiques

    Today you can spend more time visiting places that captured your attention on the city tour. The Music Conservatory, Regional History Museum, and Arts and Crafts market are favorite stops. Morelia often has temporary art exhibits to explore as well. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 8 - Morelia

    Morelia / Onward.

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Meals: Breakfast.

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