Migration of the Monarch Butterflies
February 22-26, 2013
Land Cost: $1,300.00/each adult (double occupancy) $800.00/each child (In triple w/ parents)
Activity: This is an active adventure in high-altitude conditions (over 10,000 feet). Participants should be in good health and able to hike for a distance of 2-3 miles to the colony site and then back the same way (could be around 5 miles of hiking in one day). Typically, the hike takes between one and two hours, but the colony site varies throughout the season, so hiking times and distances may vary. Please contact Expedition Travel with ANY questions about physical activity on the trip.
Accommodations: A charming Mexican mountain lodge
One of the most amazing phenomena in nature is the annual migration of millions of Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) southward from their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada east of the Rocky Mountains to overwintering sites in the mountains of central Mexico. Hundreds of millions of Monarchs fly along the Gulf Coast, or across the Gulf of Mexico, to eventually reach the belt of high volcanic mountains which stretches across the southern end of the central Mexican plateau. At about a dozen isolated places within the high-altitude fir forests of this zone, Monarchs pass the winter in aggregations that exceed 2 billion individual butterflies. From November to March, these spectacular aggregations are accessible to visitors to photograph and marvel at during a truly unique experience.
We are planning two trips this year with identical itineraries in order to visit the colonies during a period of peak abundance. Throughout periods of sunshine, millions of butterflies will take flight from the roosts and sail as much as a mile to nearby streambanks to drink, then soar again into the air and eventually return that afternoon to their original roost. You will have the opportunity to see them packed in the countless millions on the roosts in the early morning, as well as in flight at mid day, feeding on wildflowers (which amazingly bloom throughout the year at these elevations in Mexico), and watering at streams.
The sight of hundreds of millions of butterflies in the air at once, and millions basking on the trees with their wings open, is beyond the power of human description. The beauty of their rustling wings (clearly audible at times of mass flight), the sprinkling of orange Monarch scales drifting down through the green fir tree boughs, and sheer magnitude of the numbers seen, all combine to make this one of the most amazing experiences imaginable. Bring your best photographic equipment, to record this miracle for your friends and relatives to marvel at when you return home!
Program Leader: Dr. Thomas C. Emmel is Director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, and also professor of Entomology and Zoology at the University of Florida. He has specialized in tropical ecology for the past 35 years and has lead many scientific expeditions and ecotourism groups to Mexico and more than 40 other countries around the world. He will brief you on the natural history of the Monarch Butterfly and its migration during this expedition.
Program Leader: Mr. J. Court Whelan, General Manager for Expedition Travel, Inc. and current Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida, is making all logistical arrangements for the trip and has guided previous groups to Mexico, South and Central America, the South Pacific, Madagascar, and the Galapagos Islands.
For registration information, please contact:
Court Whelan, General Manager | Expedition Travel - email@example.com
NOTE: Dates, prices and itineraries are subject to change. Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Photograph by Lucas Century. All Rights Reserved.