We spent 6 weeks in Morelia this winter and a highlight of our stay was our visit to the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. We usually do our own do-it-yourself tours, but we decided to take a tour with the company MMG (Mex Mich Guides). They advertise small tours with personalized attention, and that is exactly what they provided. Their web site explaining the visit to the monarch sanctuary was very good. The web site reminded us that the monarchs wintering in the forests are not there to entertain tourists, so we may not see a brilliant display of butterflies flying all around. We were glad to hear that tourists are not allowed to disturb the butterflies. It's quite a good website to read before any visit to the Monarch Sanctuary whether you go by yourself or take a tour, theirs or one with another company. I hope TripAdvisor lets me put the website http://www.mmg.com.mx
We set off at 8:30 AM from the main plaza in Morelia. There were 3 couples and out guide/driver riding in a nice, new Toyata van. It was extremely comfortable, and we enjoyed our 3 hour ride to the sanctuary. Our guide talked most of the way explaining all about the butterflies, the route he was taking, the history of the area, etc. He talked in Spanish for a while and then excellent English, since 4 of us were Spanish speakers from Mexico and 2 of us were English speakers with limited Spanish.
Our guide walked with us up the mountain explaining as we climbed about 400 feet above the 10,000 feet where we began. As we got closer to where the butterflies were, everyone got quieter so not to disturb the butterflies. There were clouds covering the sun, so all we could see at first were beige clumps hanging from the tall tree branches. Carlos, our guide, didn't hurry us at all. In fact, he said he thought the sun may eventually come out and we would be patient. We actually spent about an extra 45 minutes on the mountain waiting on the sun. It did come out and gradually the sky filled with orange and black butterflies. Really pretty and worth the ride and the climb.
We ate lunch at an open-air restaurant on the way back down the mountain. It's a place this tour company always uses. We had carne asada and had no ill effects from the food. The lunch is included in the price of the tour.
We thought the price of the tour was quite reasonable, since we didn't want to spend the night near the sanctuary. We had already spent a really chilly night on our do-it-ourselves trip up to Paracho to go guitar shopping. So, we were happy to do the Monarchs in one long day and arrive back at our warm, comfortable, warm Morelia apartment.