Outdoors + Nature

Natural Wonders

by Nicola McCormack

JANUARY
Mexico: Monarch Butterflies Take Flight

Like many a snow-weary New Yorker seeking some sun down Mexico way, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies flee south to avoid the wintry chill of the northeastern United States and Canada. After beating their little wings for up to 2,000 miles, each new generation of butterflies manages to land in the same 215-square-mile area of central Mexico—a feat of navigation that fascinates entomologists (that's insect experts to you and me). The butterflies spend January through March hanging out in sunlight-dappled forests of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, near the small town of Angangueo, turning the oyamel fir trees, rocks, and anyone who stands still long enough a vibrant shade of orange.

Where to stay: While there are a couple of basic hotels in Angangueo, the beautiful Rancho San Cayetano in Zitácuaro, a secluded retreat with nine rooms and three chalets, is a mere 40-minute drive from the butterfly action.

Next: Surf's up in Brazil >

Photo: Courtesy of farflungphotos, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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