Multi-Day Tour

Magical Mexican Migrations: Pacific Whales and Highland Butterflies (10 days)

Journey Mexico

Morelia, Mexico To La Paz, Mexico

Valid for Departures Now Through: 01 Jan 2099


Day 1
Morelia, Mexico
Villa Montana Hotel & Spa None

Arrival to Morelia

After you pass through customs at the Morelia International Airport, your guide will welcome you to one of Mexico’s most endearing urban centers and the capital of Michoacán state. Relax before the next day’s travel onward to Rancho San Cayetano gateway to the Monarch Biosphere Reserve.

Day 2
Zitácuaro, Mexico
None None


After breakfast in Morelia, you will journey toward the rugged and verdant winter home of the brilliantly-colored Monarch Butterfly . Spend the night among pine and fruit trees, outside the reserve before two days of exploration among the migrating Monarchs. Overnight Rancho San Cayetano

Day 3
Zitácuaro, Mexico
None None

Butterfly Biosphere Reserves

This morning your guide will drive you approximately 35 minutes to the first sanctuary. Upon arrival in El Rosario, you will leave the vehicle behind to walk a groomed but at times fairly steep trail into the fir tree forest favored by the butterflies. As you continue along the trail, note how the forest thickens toward on approach to the destination you share today with 60 million to more than a billion butterflies congregating in the forest after eight months and four generations of migration. The sun warms and lights their wings to reward visitors with a unique and remarkable display of light and color. Your expert guide will ensure that you experience this unparalleled and mysterious phenomenon as more than simply an extraordinary spectacle; we pause to discuss ecology, natural history and conservation issues in the sanctuary. Enjoy a picnic lunch today in a nearby forested location. After lunch, you may decide to return into the reserve or explore another depending on local conditions and interest. You will depart the sanctuary at 4:30pm for the return drive to your lovely hotel. After time for showering and relaxing, join your expert guide for a 7:00pm dinner at the hotel where you will have additional opportunities to discuss your experiences in the sanctuaries.  (Please note: the reserve altitudes vary from 8,000 – 10,000 ft. above sea level and these encounters require the ability to walk for over an hour along a steep incline that can be considered moderately strenuous). Overnight Rancho San Cayetano

Day 4
Zitácuaro, Mexico
None None

Butterfly Biosphere Reserves

After breakfast this morning, you will board your private vehicle for the approximately one-hour trip to the Cerro Pellón Reserve (reserves are selected based on butterfly concentration and are therefore subject to change). Upon entering the reserve, you will have the option to ride horseback – or walk if you prefer – for approximately an hour to another phenomenal butterfly gathering. In the quiet of the forest, you can hear the beating wings of these delicate creatures. Enjoy a picnic lunch in a nearby forested location. After lunch, you may decide to return into the reserve or explore another depending on local conditions. You will depart the sanctuary at 4:30pm for the return drive to hotel. Overnight Rancho San Cayetano

Day 5
Morelia, Mexico
Villa Montana Hotel & Spa None

World Heritage Morelia

Today, you will depart from the Butterfly gateway of Zitácuaro for historic Morelia, recognized globally for its intellectual traditions and eclectic mix of the medieval and Renaissance spirits. Enjoy a half-day tour of the city, visiting the central square and seeing masterfully restored 17th and 18th century colonial mansions. Overnight Hotel Villa Montaña

Day 6
La Paz, Mexico
Morelia, Mexico
None None

Morelia to La Paz

This morning, your driver will provide you with a private transfer to Morelia International Airport for onward travel to the magnificent desert and ocean ecology of Baja California Sur. Arrive La Paz to relax in your historic boutique hotel located a short walk from the waterfront promenade, or malecón. Overnight Posada de las Flores

Day 7
Isla Espiritu Santo, Mexico
La Paz, Mexico
None None

Espíritu Santo Island

Today we sea kayak or snorkel (arriving by high-speed motor boat) at Espiritu Santo Island. Along the way, your expert guide will provide an orientation to provide beginners with important information on safety and the basics of operating a sea kayak. Hop into the turquoise waters to paddle beneath volcanic cliffs until lunchtime, when a beach picnic awaits. A natural history walk follows and a ride to a sea lion island colony. There is no thrill like swimming and snorkeling among sea lions in the wild. Return to your elegantly appointed B&B in La Paz for the evening. Overnight Posada de las Flores

Day 8
Isla Espiritu Santo, Mexico
None None

Eastern Gray Whales in Magdalena Bay

After breakfast on the east coast of Baja, depart the Sea of Cortés and head across the peninsula for the open Pacific. Your driver will meet you for a private transfer to Magdalena Bay (approximately 3.5hrs) for the first of two whale watching trips in a protected pacific lagoon area. Although Gray whales were once common throughout the Northern Hemisphere, there now appear to be only two North Pacific groups. The “eastern” of these spends the summers feeding in the Bering Seas, traveling to Baja each winter. This journey, estimated from 9,300 to 12,500 miles in length, is one of the longest annual migrations undertaken by any mammal. During your visit to these same waters, you will stay in a local fishing village, where you can also enjoy fresh seafood in abundance. Overnight Hotel Brennan

Day 9
Isla Espiritu Santo, Mexico
None None

Magdalena Bay

Today we spend another day in Magdalena Bay whale watching and  then return to La Paz. Wake for a hot Mexican breakfast before the second whale-watching trip. Over the last ten years, many of our guests have been thrilled by the whales swimming directly beside the boats, allowing for the extraordinary existence of making physical contact with these magnificent creatures. Enjoy another lunch on the Pacific coast after the morning’s trip and return to to La Paz for a final night in Baja. You will be back in La Paz around 4pm, with time to stroll the waterfront and ponder these tremendous distances travelled before making your own trip back home. Overnight Posada de las Flores

Day 10
La Paz, Mexico
None None

Departure from La Paz

After breakfast, your driver will meet you for a private transfer to La Paz International Airport.

Tour Features


Experiences have not been selected at this time


The Magical Mexican Migrations: Pacific Whales and Highland Butterflies is an encounter where explorers can experience both of these extraordinary congregations of wildlife.

National Geographic ToursThe tremendously diverse vastness of Mexico provides visitors of all kinds with remarkable natural splendor and untold reward throughout the year.  The winter is a stand-out season, though, in the World Heritage highland forests of Michoacán and the marine enclaves of Baja California.  As the days grow shorter, determined creatures ranging in size from 3-4 inch featherweights to school bus-sized 30-40 ton giants make their way in by air and sea, delighting and mystifying human observers.   Join Monarch butterflies and eastern Gray whales in their annual sojourn and learning about conservation issues that threaten the future of these precious ecosystems.  Explore historic Morelia, kayak the Sea of Cortez, and snorkel with wild sea lions.  Along the way, expert naturalist guides will reveal many charms of Mexico, proven here to draw repeat visitors from great distances.

About Us

Journey Mexico specializes in crafting unique, authentic and unexpected travel experiences for the discerning and sophisticated traveler throughout the Mexican republic.Whether you would like to travel to Mexico to explore Mayan ruins, relax in a hacienda, visit islands in Baja’s Sea of Cortes, search for handicrafts in markets, or adventure in the Copper Canyon, we take great pride in sharing Mexico’s natural beauty & rich cultural heritage in the company of our warm and welcoming people.2016 Virtuoso Peer-to-Peer Award Winner - "Best Destination & Experiences - In-Country Partner

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Ask us about the new culinary experiences we're developing; from haute cuisine, to locals only street food, we've vetted them and are excited to share Mexico's cuisine with your important clients!

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Highly Recommended

By: Lisa

Reviewed on: 09 Feb 2014

We went back and forth several times with Journey Mexico planning our itinerary and were very pleased with their responsiveness and obvious knowledge of the Yucatan Peninsula. They put together a wonderful tour with highly professional and knowledgeable driver/guides, and the hotel recommendations were excellent. They also followed up while we were traveling to make sure everything was satisfactory. Would definitely use them again.
Travel Advisor:  Rebecca Falkenberry

Delightful trip

By: Ginger

Reviewed on: 17 Oct 2014

Trip was well planned and accommodation were excellent
Travel Advisor:  Bettie Lee

Great Customer Service


Reviewed on: 28 Oct 2014

Upon our arrival in Mexico, Journey Mexico made it an easy trip. They had one of their employees with a sign outside the airport that greeted us, grabbed our luggage, gave us a folder of info of our contacts for our trip, and took us to our private transfer (we only had to wait a few minutes for the transportation to arrive). We left the airport with Journey Mexico within 10 minutes from us walking out of the airport. We arrived to the resort 25-30 minutes later - very easy! We had a little hiccup with the resort about what package we would supposed to receive. There was a miscommunication between the resort reservations and Journey Mexico. The resort and Journey Mexico hashed it out. During that process, we were being updated from Journey Mexico and our resort. Journey Mexico even sent a bottle of champagne to our room for the confusion which was a nice touch. Their rep even take you through the entire check in process at the airport for departure. Great customer service all week!

Yucatan Journey

By: Magritte's Hat

Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2014

When I decided I wanted to visit Mexico for the first time, I spent hours online trying to plan a trip. Luckily, I came across an article recommending using travel advisors. Because I took that advice, I now have countless bad photographs and good memories of a trip to Mexico. Stacy was able to arrange a trip for me after a couple of phone calls and a few emails that was better than anything I could have done myself. I experienced the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Merida, explored Mayan ruins (culminating with the awesome ancient city of Chichen Itza), and spent a few relaxing days on a sugar-sanded beach in Tulum. My guide was terrific and the hotels were clean and comfortable without being impersonal and generic. The whole trip was great. After over a decade of staying close to home, I think I'm going to be hitting the road more often; and I'm sure I'll be using Stacy's services again.

Great Service

By: mh123

Reviewed on: 09 Jan 2015

Journey Mexico provided us with great guides and drivers. They were always on time and very pleasant.


By: kerri

Reviewed on: 09 Jun 2016

they were on top of the logistic details. Very easy.

San Miguel

By: Bob

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2017

All was good,timely,courteous etc
Travel Advisor:  Kay Jones

Review Journey Mexico


Reviewed on: 22 Oct 2017

Journey Zmexico provided us with the best experience we could have wished for in the Copper Canyon. The logistics of the trip, including timing, transportation, lodging, food and guide services was outstanding. The only low point was the dining experience at the Best Western in Creel- the hotel was fine but the dinners were not to our liking and did not match the amazing food we had at all the other hotels. The high point was our guide Gustavo who was the most well informed and superb guide! We are so fortunate to have him as our tour guide-heads it a fabulous trip- forever grateful to him!
Travel Advisor:  Susan Morley

Puerto Aventuras

By: Rita

Reviewed on: 13 Jan 2018

Nice people. House was in good location. A few items not in good shape, but overall comfortable. Staff responded to our questions and needs.
Travel Advisor:  Susan Morley

True Campions of their Beautiful Country

By: Partridge Travels

Reviewed on: 16 Feb 2018

This was our second trip with Journey Mexico, and we were privileged to travel with the most wonderful guides! All of our drivers and guides have been professional, accommodating, knowledgeable, protective, and extremely well educated. I have heard and read so many negative stories about travel in Mexico, so the most important message I can convey to anyone considering travel with Journey Mexico is that I have never had to overthink my personal safety, and I have never felt as though I was in a place or situation that could be dangerous. Another great bonus about travel with their guides is that they know all the great places to eat (you will not get sick) and they are true gentlemen and will help you shop. Also, your Journey Mexico concierge (who is different from your guide), is a phone call away. Our concierge called us on our second night just to check in and see if we needed anything, which we didn't because our every need was already taken care of- they are first class!
Travel Advisor:  Whitney Shindelar