Tailor-Made Holiday

Mexico - Grey Whales and Monarch Butterflies

15 days

from £4,595pp (excluding flights)

During February and March a holiday to Mexico can incorporate two of the most incredible wildlife migrations in one trip.

  • Visit the butterfly sanctuaries, home to millions of migrating Monarch Butterflies
  • Cruise the Sea of Cortez for amazing whale watching opportunities
  • Swim with sea lions
  • Spot for rays and dolphins
  • Close-up interaction with grey whales

Travel to Mexico and experience two of the most fascinating wildlife events. Only two hours from Mexico City in the Michoacán state is the Monarch Biosphere Reserve. The reserve is the winter home of the Monarch Butterfly and they arrive in their millions. Visit the reserves daily and walk the trails through high altitude forests. Observe the butterflies hanging in such vast numbers they have been known to break branches. With a little luck, witness the amazing display as the butterflies lift in clouds to begin their journey to Canada and USA in time for spring. 

This holiday continues to the west coast of Mexico and to Baja California for another special wildlife spectacle. The Pacific Grey Whales undertake one of the longest migrations in the world, travelling some 5,000 miles from Mexico to Alaska. Like the monarch butterfly the whales make Mexico their winter home to give birth and nurse their young before they make the long journey north. Their behaviour here is quite astonishing and their curiosity with the boats often affords incredible personal encounters.

Stay on-board the Safari Endeavour. Visit Magdelena Bay to observe the grey whales and their calves and explore the Sea of Cortez for more marine encounters. Snorkelling, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding are also available, as well as island hikes.  

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 4595 £ 800
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation and meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Voyage gratuities
  • All transfers


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Mexico City

When the Aztec observed an eagle perched on a cactus devouring a snake, they believed this was a sign to stop their wanderings and build an empire. Today Mexico City is one of the largest capitals in the world, a city of contrasts and one that encapsulates all that is Mexican - it is vibrant, overwhelming, captivating and bursting with energy.

You will be staying at Las Alcobas, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Drive from Mexico City to Zitácuaro

Drive to the rugged and verdant winter home of the brilliantly coloured Monarch Butterfly. A journey time of approximately 2.5 hours (165km). Comfort breaks will be made along the route.

Located in the Michoacán's north-east corner, the unglamorous - but pleasant - city of Zitácuaro has a decidedly rural feel. Renowned for its proximity to the unique El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, the city is perfectly positioned for visiting this fascinating reserve, as well as the surrounding area.

Afternoon Visit to the Butterfly Sanctuary
This afternoon visit one of the sanctuaries for the first time. Watch as these strikingly colourful butterflies coat the trees turning them flame-orange.

You will be staying at Rancho San Cayetano, Full board

Day 3

Day Trip to El Rosario Sanctuary
Full day visit to the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, which is around 30 minutes away. Each year millions of monarchs migrate south from the US and Canada to the select area of the highlands of Michoacan covering the tall Oyamel and fir trees. As the sun warms their black and orange wings, the butterflies fill the air, illuminating the entire area. Exploration can be enhanced by discussions with expert guides.

Explore the steep paths that wind their way up through the forest to witness these beautiful butterflies as they cloak the trees. After a picnic lunch, return to the sanctuary for an afternoon walk. Please note that the reserve ranges from 2500 to 3000 metres above sea level and requires moderately strenuous walking, however, horse support is included. The activity of the butterflies is weather dependent and the exact reserves visited depends on local conditions and volume of butterflies.

You will be staying at Rancho San Cayetano, Full board

Day 4

Day Exploring Cerro Pellón Reserve
Drive to the Cerro Pellón Reserve, which is approximately one hour away. Here, have the chance to ride and walk through the forest (horse support included), in search of another spectacular butterfly gathering. Listen for the sound of the monarchs beating their wings, audible in such quiet woodlands. After a picnic lunch (included), choose to continue exploring the reserve or head to a different area, depending on the local conditions.

You will be staying at Rancho San Cayetano, Full board

Day 5

Drive from Zitacuaro to Morelia

A journey of around three hours.

Morelia is a beautiful colonial city with an active and lively cultural scene. Founded in 1541 and named Valladolid, many wealthy Spanish moved to the city and remained, thus the city maintains its very Spanish feel.

Renamed Morelia in the mid 1800s, today the city is dominated by a beautiful cathedral overlooking a large central square. The Regional Museum is worth a visit and houses an excellent mural by the Mexican painter Alfredo Alce.

You will be staying at Villa Montana Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Fly Morelia to La Paz, Mexico

La Paz is the commercial and political capital of Baja California Sur although, as its name suggests, this is a peaceful Mexican port city with a provincial atmosphere. Hernan Cortes visited in 1535 but the region remained largely unpopulated until the 19th century. Pearl diving was the main industry here until the 1930s. Today, La Paz is the starting point for exploring a wealth of marine life within the sea of Cortez

You will be staying at Posada de las Flores, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

San Jose Del Cabo Embarkation
The Captain and crew welcome you aboard the Safari Endeavour before setting sail for a sunset cruise, cocktails, and dinner.

This unique region is one of the most interesting and diverse geographical areas of the world and is still very much a frontier. 760 miles long and as narrow as 30m in some places, the Baja Peninsula is home to some of the earth's most beautiful deserts, along with semi-tropical and mountainous regions, pine forests, and hundreds of miles of untouched beaches and coastline. The waters off Baja are one of the world's finest marine destinations and during the months of January to April they offer the best opportunity for whale watching.

You will be staying at Safari Endeavour, Full board

Day 8

Isla San Francisco
Amongst the steep red bluffs and sweeping desert beach, start your odyssey of the Sea of Cortes with a day of play. Kit up with some flippers for a snorkel among colorful sea life, put on your walking shoes for an exploratory hike, grab a paddle, or relax on the beach with the sand between your toes. The rugged beauty of the island makes it an ideal spot for exploring.

You will be staying at Safari Endeavour, Full board

Day 9

Bahia Agua Verde
At Bahia Agua Verde, clear waters are bordered by sparse craggy mountains hemmed in green. Explore the coast by small skiff, visit with a local ranchero and his family, and take to the canyons and mountains on a mule ride. Scenic vistas, outstanding exploration and excellent birding.

You will be staying at Safari Endeavour, Full board

Day 10

Further exploration in Sea of Cortez
Sail amongst islands once explored by early conquistadors. Your expedition team will be at-the-ready with adventurous activities to choose from including kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, or beachcombing. Discover nature’s diversity and learn about the geologic forces that formed these islands.

You will be staying at Safari Endeavour, Full board

Day 11

Marine Life Search
While it’s unlikely you’ll find any black pearls, you will be sailing amongst islands once explored by the early conquistadors. Your expedition team will be at-the-ready with more adventurous activities to choose from such as kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding or beachcombing. Discover nature’s diversity and learn about the geologic forces that formed these islands.

You will be staying at Safari Endeavour, Full board

Day 12

Los Islotes/Isla Partida

Los Islotes is a large rock outcropping that rises sharply out of the sea off the tip of Espíritu Santo Island. At first glance they appear as gnarled, rugged guana-covered cliffs, but as you approach, you'll soon spot a rookery with hundreds of sea lions and sea birds perched on the ledges. Around Los Islotes, the water is full of brightly coloured and plentiful fish, making this a wonderful place to study marine life.

Slip into a wetsuit for an early morning snorkel with curious, agile young sea lion pups. Afterwards, heave anchor and set sail for Isla Partida, for an afternoon of water play or island hikes along desert beaches or into rocky arroyos.

You will be staying at Safari Endeavour, Full board

Day 13

Isla Espiritu Santo
Slip into a secluded cove surrounded by long fingers of red rock and a golden beach. Spend your last full day beach walking, investigating nooks and crannies in the rocks by kayak, or exploring a little further afield on a guided hike. Celebrate your week at the special farewell supper complete with a slideshow review of the week by your expedition team.

You will be staying at Safari Endeavour, Full board

Day 14

Disembark In San Jose Del Cabo
After breakfast, disembark the Safari Endeavour. Transfer from the pier to Los Cabos airport. If your flight departs later in the day, you will be transferred from the pier to the hospitality area at the Barcelo Grand Faro Los Cabos Hotel and then transferred to the airport at the time needed for your scheduled flight.

Fly Baja California to Mexico City

Fly Mexico City to London overnight


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Las Alcobas

Las Alcobas

Las Alcobas is located in the lively and fashionable district of Polanca....

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Villa Montana Hotel

Villa Montana Hotel

Villa Montaña Hotel nestles on a hill overlooking Morelia....

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Safari Endeavour

Safari Endeavour

The Safari Endeavour at 70m is a small ship excellent for exploring the small lagoons of Baja California and getting close to the wildlife....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

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"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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""I was uncharacteristically worried about this trip - neurotic some might say - and I was given 110% support and help with everything. I had been disappointed by not being able to get a space on the 2014 trip and so Sue was stuck with me for 2 years - a testament to her patience and professionalism. I was confident in Sue - she knows Antarctica and speaks from experience, that is worth a huge amount. Emails, which I would send were responded to almost immediately.""

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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