Tailor-Made Holiday

Mexico - Monarch Butterflies and Grey Whales

A Wildlife Spectacle

14 days

from $5,995pp (excluding flights)

Between January and March a holiday to Mexico can incorporate some of the most thrilling wildlife experiences in one trip.

  • Experience the incredible migration of the monarch butterfly
  • Spend time at Magdalena Bay watching the grey whales
  • Swim with sea lions at Espiritu Santo Island
  • Snorkel with Whale Sharks in the Sea of Cortez

Monarch Butterflies

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. 

Grey whales

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.  Rather than staying on a liveaboard boat, this itinerary is hotel based and includes private whale watching trips each day to Magdalena Bay where the whales congregate.

Whale Sharks and Sea Lions

At this time of year, you also have the opportunity to see whale sharks which are still feeding on plankton in these nutrient rich waters.  From La Paz you will have the opportunity to spend a day on the Sea of Cortez snorkelling with these amazing gentle giants, as well as a day swimming with sea lions. Conclude the holiday with a couple of nights relaxing in San Jose del Cabo before one last whale watching photo safari. 

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 
$ 8093.25 $ 1080
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Internal Flights
  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Day at leisure in 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 Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Full Day Teotihuacan and Mexico City's Historic Centre
You will be met by your guide this morning to start the exploration of Teotihuacán. This experience takes you to one of the most important Mesoamerican sites in the Americas. With your expert, bilingual guide, explore the archaeological zone while learning about the rituals, cosmology, beliefs and everyday lives of the Aztecs and the inhabitants of Teotihuacán before them. You will have the chance to climb the 65m tall Pyramid of the Sun and the 43m high Pyramid of the Moon affording fantastic views across the city.

After lunch (not included) continue to the Zócolo (Central Square), the second largest plaza in the world. Here you can visit the National Palace, notable for Diego Rivera's murals depicting more than a thousand years of Mexican history as well as the Metropolitan Cathedral. The cathedral took almost 300 years to complete and displays a variety of architectural styles.

You will be staying at Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Full Day Tour to Southern Neighbourhoods
Full day (approximately 8 hours) exploring Mexico City's southern neighbourhoods. Visit San Angel with its narrow, cobbled streets and large colourful houses. On Saturdays there is a wonderful art and artisan market called Bazaar del Sabado bringing in people from all over the city. Continue to Coyoacán, a picturesque neighbourhood with tree-lined streets, known for its colourful architecture. Many buildings here are officially recognised for their historic value. Visit Mexican painter Frida Kahlo's Blue House. This is where she was born, and later died. Today, the house is a museum dedicated to her life and through her art visitors get a wonderful insight into this iconic Mexican figure. Opportunity to also visit the Museum of Dolores Olmedo, a 16th century building with a cohesive collection of fine arts from Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, as well as hundreds of pre-Hispanic figurines and sculptures.

You will be staying at Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Drive from Mexico City to Zitacuaro (Road Journey)

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.

You will be staying at Rancho San Cayetano, bed and breakfast

Day 5

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, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Sierra Chincua Butterfly Reserve
Sierra Chincua is another major sanctuary ground for the monarch butterflies. Spend another day amongst the monarchs. These butterflies have a primary role as pollinator and have a profound effect on the eco system. Visiting these sanctuaries gives an incredible glimpse of the epic life cycle of this extraordinary insect.

You will be staying at Rancho San Cayetano, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Drive from Zitacuaro to Mexico City (Road Journey)

Fly Mexico City 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 and breakfast

Day 8

Private Whale Watching - Magdalena Bay
Leave La Paz at 07.30 this morning with your private driver/guide to traverse the Baja Peninsula, heading for Magdalena Bay on the Pacific coast (270km - 3 hours 30 minutes) to see the amazing gray whales that travel to these protected waters to mate and calve. Arriving at Puerto San Carlos, you will settle into your hotel and then head out into the bay in your private boat in search of whales. Your naturalist guide will share their knowledge of these magnificent creatures and story of their incredible yearly migration. Lunch is included today.
Two private whale watching boat trips are included during your stay and you will be guided by your own private naturalist guide.

You will be staying at Mangrove Inn, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Private Whale Watching - Magdalena Bay
Today is a full day out on the bay whale watching, bird watching and navigating the mangroves. Lunch will be set up for you on the beach where you can relax and potter before returning to your hotel.

Magdalena Bay is a tranquil lagoon on the Pacific coast of Baja California, and is considered to be one of the prime areas for whale-watching in the area. Every year virtually the entire population of Grey whales makes the 6000 mile migration from the Bering Sea and north Pacific to the Baja's calving lagoons. It is a spectacle you will never forget.

You will be staying at Mangrove Inn, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Private Whale Watching - Magdalena Bay
After breakfast go out one final time in search for whales. After a couple of hours in the bay, lunch will be provided on the beach, with time to relax before returning to La Paz.

You will be staying at Posada de las Flores, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Full Day excursion to Espirtu Santo Island
Private transfers will be included to and from the embarkation point for this special private boat tour to Espiritu Santo Island. After boarding the boat, our guides will give you a small briefing about the trip as you head out from the Bay of La Paz. After roughly 1.5 hours, you arrive at the sea lion colony for the first stop. You'll have plenty of time to swim, snorkel and interact with the playful sea lions in the company of your guide. Then climb back on board to navigate around the island in search of a pristine beach where your hosts await with a scrumptious meal. On the beach, guides will give a talk about the natural history of the island, plants and mangroves. Kayak around the bay, relax, or take a nature hike.

You will be staying at Posada de las Flores, bed and breakfast

Day 12

Half Day Whale Shark Tour
This trip will typically spend 2 to 3 hours in the Bay of La Paz searching for whale sharks to give you the opportunity to snorkel with these gentle giants. Time spent in the observation area will be determined by weather conditions and the judgement of the captain.

Drive from La Paz, Mexico to San Jose del Cabo (Road Journey)

Located on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, San Jose del Cabo (more commonly referred to as Los Cabos in conjunction with Cabo San Lucas) is a real mixture of an authentic Mexican town with cobblestone streets radiating from the zocalo and mission church and the marina area, which is the modern face of Mexico with a host of bars, shops and restaurants.

You will be staying at El Ganzo Los Cabos, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Whale Watching Photo Safari
Transfer from your hotel to the Cabo Dolphin Centre in Cabo San Lucas this morning for a shared whale watching tour. This 2 hour excursion is by small high speed inflatable boats. Your guides will provide expert commentary and give you the opportunity to listen in to whales communicating via hydrophone listening technology. No guarantees but you should be treated to great sightings of whales and dolphins.

You will be staying at El Ganzo Los Cabos, bed and breakfast

Day 14

Day at leisure in San Jose del Cabo


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

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

The art nouveau Gran Hotel occupies a central location overlooking Mexico City's historic Zocalo....

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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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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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