Sunrise Birding LLC - Birding & Wildlife Tours
Home | Tours | Trip Reports | News |  Team |  Calendar | Links | Contact | Store | Mailing List
Monarch Butterflies on their wintering grounds in Mexico.MEXICO:
Monarch Butterfly Special!

January 31 - February 7, 2021

Visit the famed wintering grounds
of the Monarch Butterfly and see the special birds of central Mexico!

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>    Registration Form> 


Highlights & possibilities on this tour:
Millions of Monarch Butterflies, Black-polled Yellowthroat, Sierra Madre Sparrow, Strickland’s Woodpecker, Dusky Hummingbird, Black-backed Oriole, Pileated Flycatcher, Transvolcanic Jay, Russet Nightingale-thrush, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, Aztec Rail, Slate-blue Seedeater, West Mexican Chachalaca, Colima Pygmy-owl, Golden-crowned Emerald, Russet-crowned Motmot, Golden Vireo, Rusty-crowned Ground-sparrow, Black-chested Sparrow and more!


One of the greatest ecological spectacles in the world is the winter gathering of Monarch Butterflies in a small area of forest in central Mexico. At least 20 million Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) make their amazing annual migration of more than 2000 miles from Canada and the United States to a small area in the mountains in the highland pine forests of Michoacán and the Estado de Mexico. Each year, a special generation of these extraordinary butterflies travels to the same place. There are several sanctuaries that protect these forests and our itinerary includes visits to two of them. This is a marvel of nature that is not to be missed!

Join us for birds, butterflies, astounding Mexican biodiversity, great food, amazing arts and crafts,
and lots of adventure!

Red Warbler. Photo by Steve Bird.ITINERARY
Day 1: ARRIVAL Jan 31, 2021

Plan on arriving in Mexico City Airport (Airport code: MEX) today ready for our tour to begin with dinner tonight. We will be staying at the Courtyard Marriott, Mexico City Airport, which is accessible directly from the airport terminal. Night in Mexico City. D

Day 2: Feb. 1, 2021

Today we will make an early departure from hotel to get us into the field early, and beat Mexico City traffic! This morning we will be having field breakfast upon our arrival at the first birding stop in La Cima. Our target birds here are two extremely limited range endemics, the Sierra Madre Sparrow and the Strickland’s Woodpecker.

After finding these two endemics we will make a few other stops along the road to look for birds such as Red Warbler, Golden-browed Warbler, Brown-backed Solitaire, Rufous-capped Brushfinch and Striped Sparrow.
Lunch will be at a small local restaurant along the way. After lunch we will make a stop at the once extensive Lerma Marshes for another very important bird, the highly endangered Black-polled Yellowthroat. The Yellowthroat has seen a major reduction in its habitat over the years due to water diversion projects. There will plenty of water birds and shorebirds to look at and we will try for Aztec Rail a recent split from King Rail and endemic to Mexico. Other species to keep a look out for include Yellow-headed Blackbird, Grass Wren, and several species of wintering warblers. We then have a 2 hour drive to our accommodation for the next three nights, Hotel Aguablanca, situated at the bottom of a steep canyon and perched above a beautiful river. Night in Jungapeo. B,L,D


Monarchs roosting.Day 3: Feb. 2, 2021
Today will be our first visit to one of the monarch reserves known as Sierra Chincua. Although it may seem obvious, because the Monarchs are only in the area for a very limited time, anyone that wants to see them needs to go during a very narrow window of time. To beat the crowds and to get us to the best areas for seeing the most butterflies, we will get up and out of the hotel early! The butterflies don’t return to the exact same trees every year, so it is important to note that getting to the location where the monarchs are may require a little more or a little less walking.


To see millions of butterflies hanging in the trees like leaves is an incredible experience and one of nature’s true marvels. At Sierra Chincua, like at all of the other reserves, horses are available for rent for getting to the butterflies with a fair bit less effort. It may seem silly to ride a horse, but once you get to the location you will realize just how much easier it is than walking. After spending some time with the butterflies and looking for birds, we will head back down the mountain for lunch at a great little restaurant in Angangueo, a beautiful small colonial city. After lunch we will head back to the hotel for some afternoon birding. Night in Jungapeo. B,L,D


Crescent-chested Warbler. Photo by Steve Bird.  Day 4: Feb. 3, 2021
Once again we will have a picnic breakfast and then drive about an hour to the Cerro Pelón Monarch reserve. This may be an optional trip for anyone who feels like they got plenty of time with the butterflies the previous day, as it is a much more difficult trip to get to this area. Once again horses are available and anyone with any question about their ability to make the climb should certainly take advantage of this!


Cerro Pelón is known as one of the best places to see the butterflies in bigger numbers with far fewer visitors than any of the other locations. It can, at times, take two plus hours of hiking or horseback riding to get to the butterfly location. We will do our best to find out ahead of time how far away the butterflies actually are from the trail head to help people decide what they want to do.


Today we will take a pack lunch with us so that we can spend more time in forest with the butterflies and the birds! Some of the birds we will be looking for at both reserves include Chestnut-sided Shrike Vireo, Crescent-chested Warbler, White-striped Woodcreeper, Pine Flycatcher, Gray-collared Becard, Gray-barred Wren, Blue Mockingbird, Green-striped and Rufous-capped Brushfinch, Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer and Black-headed Siskin. We will return to the hotel in the late afternoon for a relaxing dinner. Night in Jungapeo. B,L,D


Russet-crowned MotmotDay 5: Feb. 4, 2021
This morning we will have breakfast and then get down to some serious birding right at the hotel. The dry forest surrounding the canyon is rich with interesting birds such as Slate-blue Seedeater, West Mexican Chachalaca, Banded Quail, Colima and Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Golden-crowned Emerald, Dusky Hummingbird, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, Russet-crowned Motmot, Pileated Flycatcher, Golden Vireo, Rusty-crowned Ground-sparrow and Black-chested Sparrow. We will then check out and have lunch on our drive to Patzcuaro. We’ll also make a number of stops along the road to look for more highland species. After settling into our beautiful hotel, Posada Yolihuani and taking a break, we’ll stroll into the plaza for dinner. Night in Patzcuaro: B,L,D


Day 6: Feb. 5, 2021
After a nice breakfast at the hotel we will drive about 30 minutes to bird an interesting volcanic peak covered in remnant pine-oak habitat. We’ll look for Mountain Trogon, Red-headed Tanager, Collared Towhee, Crescent-chested Warbler, Spotted and Gray-barred Wren and Rusty-crowned Ground-sparrow. Later we will continue to drop in elevation and make a couple of stops looking for the rare and difficult to find White-chinned Swift! There are some great places to look for other swifts, as well, including Great Swallow-tailed, White-naped, Black, Chestnut-collared and Vaux’s which can all be seen in this area!


Mountain Trogon. We’ll have lunch at a really fancy and interesting restaurant in Tacambaro before making a couple more stops in search of the White-chinned (or White-fronted) Swift near its roosting locations. We’ll then head back to Patzcuaro in the late afternoon with some time to explore the crafts around the plaza and then have some dinner. Night in Patzcuaro: B,L,D


Day 7: Feb. 6, 2021
Once again we will have breakfast at the hotel before checking out and making a few stops around Patzcuaro for birds. We have a 3 hour drive to Guadalajara and our hotel in Tlaquepaque. Along the way we will bird a few different spots looking for more species of the dry highlands of central Mexico near the town of Churintzio. Lunch will be in Churintzio at a great little local spot before making the last push into Guadalajara. Tonight we stay in the crafts mecca of Tlaquepaque at the comfortable and popular Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel. We’ll enjoy our farewell dinner in the excellent restaurant right at the hotel. Night in Tlaquepaque: B,L,D


Day 8: Feb. 7, 2021
Flights out of the Guadalajara (Airport code: GDL) can be any time after breakfast. We will arrange one shuttle to the airport around the majority of everyone’s flights. B


Leaders:  Steve Bird, Gina Nichol and local guide


Monarchs in MexicoMEXICO!
Monarch Butterfly Special
January 31 - February 7, 2021

Registration Form>    
Contact [email protected] or [email protected] to reserve your space!

TOUR PRICE:  $3995.00 per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 8 persons from Mexico City, Mexico. Please note this tour begins in Mexico City (Airport code: MEX) and ends in Guadalajara (Airport code: GDL)
Single supplement: Limited, please ask.

Deposit: $1000.00 per person per tour. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal. 
Use this link
to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Included in cost: All accommodation based on twin rooms, all meals from dinner on Day 1 (Jan 31) to breakfast on February 7, all community fees, park entrance fees, transportation throughout, drinking water and soft non-alcoholic drinks plus services of local guide and leaders.

Not included: International airfare, insurance, alcoholic drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.

RESERVATIONS: Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!  Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $1000 per person per tour within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 

Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due October 1, 2020. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). 


**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.


Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N


This tour is being run through – Sunrise Birding LLC – and organized by Steve Bird.
Contact Steve Bird [email protected] for more information.