Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Spanish: Reserva de Biosfera de la Mariposa Monarca) is a World Heritage Site containing most of the over-wintering sites of the eastern population of the monarch butterfly. The reserve is located in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forests ecoregion on the border of Michoacán and State of Mexico, 100 km (62 miles), northwest of Mexico City. Millions of butterflies arrive in the reserve annually. Butterflies only inhabit a fraction of the 56,000 hectares of the reserve from October–March. The biosphere’s mission is to protect the butterfly species and its habitat.

Most of the over-wintering monarchs from eastern North America are found here. Western researchers discovered these areas in 1975. Presidential decrees in the 1980s and 2000 designated these still privately held areas as a federal reserve. The Reserve was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 2008. The reserve remains predominantly rural. Reserve administrators continue to be concerned with deleterious effects of illegal logging and tourism. Conservation efforts sometimes conflict with the interests of local farmers, community-based landowners, private land owners and indigenous people.
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Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
67 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • So many butterflies you can HEAR them fluttering! Imagine a full-grown tree, with limbs so heavy with buterflies that they touch the ground! NOTE - The reserve is at 11,000 ft in elevation. Strongly.....  more »
  • The butterflies migrate in this forest 4 hours from San Miguel de Allende. It's a long trip, and can be done in one day, but I recommend staying overnight to break up the drive. We had a fantastic...  more »
Google
  • We take a small group to see the wintering Monarchs every Valentines. It’s a fabulous experience! One of Nature’s wonders not to be missed. Very safe area.
  • absolutely wonderful. My 6 year old son has been raising monarchs in the u.s. since he was 4 years old. we took him here for his birthday. He was amazed at how many millions of monarch are here. The horse ride up with also fantastic. The hike up to the horses also neat with all the local vendors.

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