Tailor-Made Holiday

Mexico - Grey Whales and Monarch Butterflies

15 days

from £5,395pp

During February and March a holiday to Mexico can incorporate two of the most incredible wildlife migrations in one trip.

  • Visit the butterfly sanctuaries, home to millions of migrating Monarch Butterflies
  • Cruise the Sea of Cortez for amazing whale watching opportunities
  • Swim with sea lions
  • Spot for rays and dolphins
  • Close-up interaction with grey whales

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. 

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.

Stay on-board the Safari Endeavour. Visit Magdelena Bay to observe the grey whales and their calves and explore the Sea of Cortez for more marine encounters. Snorkelling, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding are also available, as well as island hikes.  

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to 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 Las Alcobas

Day 2

Drive from Mexico City to Zitácuaro


Drive to the rugged and verdant winter home of the brilliantly coloured Monarch Butterfly. A journey time of approximately 2.5 hours (165km). Comfort breaks will be made along the route.


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.


Afternoon Visit to the Butterfly Sanctuary
This afternoon visit one of the sanctuaries for the first time. Watch as these strikingly colourful butterflies coat the trees turning them flame-orange.


You will be staying at Rancho San Cayetano

Day 3

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

Day 4

Day Exploring Cerro Pellón Reserve
Drive to the Cerro Pellón Reserve, which is approximately one hour away. Here, have the chance to ride and walk through the forest (horse support included), in search of another spectacular butterfly gathering. Listen for the sound of the monarchs beating their wings, audible in such quiet woodlands. After a picnic lunch (included), choose to continue exploring the reserve or head to a different area, depending on the local conditions.


You will be staying at Rancho San Cayetano

Day 5

Drive from Zitacuaro to Morelia


A journey of around three hours.


Morelia is a beautiful colonial city with an active and lively cultural scene. Founded in 1541 and named Valladolid, many wealthy Spanish moved to the city and remained, thus the city maintains its very Spanish feel. Renamed Morelia in the mid 1800s, today the city is dominated by a beautiful cathedral overlooking a large central square. The Regional Museum is worth a visit and houses an excellent mural by the Mexican painter Alfredo Alce.


You will be staying at Villa Montana Hotel

Day 6

Fly Morelia 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

Day 7

San Jose Del Cabo Embarkation
The Captain and crew welcome you aboard the Safari Endeavour before setting sail for a sunset cruise, cocktails, and dinner.

This unique region is one of the most interesting and diverse geographical areas of the world and is still very much a frontier. 760 miles long and as narrow as 30m in some places, the Baja Peninsula is home to some of the earth's most beautiful deserts, along with semi-tropical and mountainous regions, pine forests, and hundreds of miles of untouched beaches and coastline. The waters off Baja are one of the world's finest marine destinations and during the months of January to April they offer the best opportunity for whale watching.


You will be staying at Safari Endeavour

Day 8

Isla San Francisco
Amongst the steep red bluffs and sweeping desert beach, start your odyssey of the Sea of Cortes with a day of play. Kit up with some flippers for a snorkel among colorful sea life, put on your walking shoes for an exploratory hike, grab a paddle, or relax on the beach with the sand between your toes. The rugged beauty of the island makes it an ideal spot for exploring.


You will be staying at Safari Endeavour

Day 9

Bahia Agua Verde
Located about 80 km south of Loreto, tranquil Bahía Agua Verde is nestled in the Sea of Cortés. With vibrant turquoise-blue glassy waters, the small and quiet bay is surrounded by the dramatic Sierra de La Giganta range. A land of contrasts in color, the blue-green sea is all the more vibrant against the backdrop of soft-hued red rock, with striking pops of green from long-armed cacti dotting the landscape.

Sitting sentinel at the mouth of the horseshoe-shaped bay sits Roca Solitaria, which offers a protected area ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and hiking. In addition to many marine creatures, Bahia Agua Verde is also home to a small fishing village, Puerto Agua Verde, with a church, a small market and a couple shops.


You will be staying at Safari Endeavour

Day 10

Bahia De La Paz or Magdalena Bay
Bahia de La Paz (November - mid January; March)

Nestled between Baja California Sur, Isla Espiritu Santo, and the city of La Paz, gorgeous, deep blue Bahía de La Paz is the gathering place for many marine and bird species, including the impressive, gentle giant whale sharks. The largest extant fish species, these white-spotted filter feeders can measure over 40 feet in length!

Bahia Magdalena Bay (mid January - early March)

Sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by two long slivers of land, Isla Magdalena and Isla Santa Margarita, Bahía Magdalena is a 31-mile long circular cove full of wonderful biodiversity. On the western coast of Baja California Sur, the bay is at an unusual confluence of currents where the cool California current system that originates in Alaska and the warmer South American current meet. These special circumstances have created a rich marine landscape that supports a phenomenal, diverse variety of sea life. Some of Magdalena’s most celebrated itinerants, California Gray Whales, come to this protected bay from Alaska to spend the winter calving each year.


You will be staying at Safari Endeavour

Day 11

Captain's Choice
While it’s unlikely you’ll find any black pearls, you will be sailing amongst islands once explored by the early conquistadors. Your expedition team will be at-the-ready with more adventurous activities to choose from such as kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding or beachcombing. Discover nature’s diversity and learn about the geologic forces that formed these islands.


You will be staying at Safari Endeavour

Day 12

Los Islotes/Ensenada Grande
Los Islotes
Los Islotes is a large rock outcropping that rises sharply out of the sea off the tip of Espíritu Santo Island. At first glance they appear as gnarled, rugged guana-covered cliffs, but as you approach, you'll soon spot a rookery with hundreds of sea lions lazing on its ledges and sea birds perch on the ledges. Around Los Islotes, the water is full of brightly coloured and plentiful fish, making this a wonderful place to study marine life.

Ensenada Grande
Located on Isla Partida, Ensenada Grande is part of a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve that also includes Isla Espiritu Santo. With picture-perfect turquoise water, white sand beaches, and wildlife-rich waters, it is no wonder why the beach at Ensenada Grande was voted the most beautiful in Mexico by Travel Magazine in 2011 and is ranked in the top 12 beaches in the world.


You will be staying at Safari Endeavour

Day 13

Isla Espiritu Santo
Tuck into a secluded cove surrounded by long fingers of red rock and a golden beach. Spend your last full day enjoying a beach walk, investigate nooks and crannies in the rocks by kayak, or explore a little further afield on a guided hike. Celebrate your week at the special farewell supper complete with an entertaining slideshow by your expedition team.


You will be staying at Safari Endeavour

Day 14

Disembark In San Jose Del Cabo
After breakfast, disembark the Safari Endeavour. Transfer from the pier to Los Cabos airport. If your flight departs later in the day, you will be transferred from the pier to the hospitality area at the Barcelo Grand Faro Los Cabos Hotel and then transferred to the airport at the time needed for your scheduled flight.

Fly Baja California to Mexico City

Fly Mexico City to London overnight

Accommodation

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

Las Alcobas

Las Alcobas

Las Alcobas is located in the lively and fashionable district of Polanca....

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Villa Montana Hotel

Villa Montana Hotel

Villa Montaña Hotel nestles on a hill overlooking Morelia....

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Safari Endeavour

Safari Endeavour

The Safari Endeavour at 70m is a small ship excellent for exploring the small lagoons of Baja California and getting close to the wildlife....

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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.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Baja California

John Faithfull, Travel Expert

"Personalised service. Seemed to really want to get it right for us. Very impressed when I first called and John spent 40 minutes finding out what we wanted to do and tailoring it for us."

"The expertise that John has really gave us faith in where we were going, the regions, the hotels, the trips. John knew about it all, he described them in detail, and when we asked for different regions he was straight in there with suggestions and ideas. The way the whole trip was planned and presented to us, never any pressure to book or any problem to change plans /ideas."

"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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Sue Grimwood, Travel Expert

"It was tremendously helpful to be able to speak to someone who had been to Antarctica before - Sue had been on the ship we had booked, so was able to give us some very useful information. We felt that at every stage of the booking process that we were in safe hands. "

""I was uncharacteristically worried about this trip - neurotic some might say - and I was given 110% support and help with everything. I had been disappointed by not being able to get a space on the 2014 trip and so Sue was stuck with me for 2 years - a testament to her patience and professionalism. I was confident in Sue - she knows Antarctica and speaks from experience, that is worth a huge amount. Emails, which I would send were responded to almost immediately.""

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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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