Most of our visitors come from mid-November until mid-March when the butterflies are with us. But Macheros offers activities that can be enjoyed year round if you appreciate fresh air, scenic mountain vistas, horseback riding, hiking, birdwatching, dark night skies, or relatively technology-free peace and quiet.
Cottage Industry Tour
Take a stroll with us around the village of Macheros to visit people’s houses and see the kinds of home industries they’ve organized to make a living. We make 4-5 stops, and options include trout farming, piñata making, bread baking, pig farming, turkey rearing, sheep herding, basket making and avocado farming. $50 usd per adult and $25 usd for kids under 18.
Spend an afternoon gathered around a wood burning stove with Dona Rosa and her daughters learning how to make your favorite Mexican dish. Mole rojo, mole verde, or vegetarian chiles rellenos are popular options. Price of $60 usd per student includes the lesson and your meal. Read more here.
Our mountains are working mountains; they are filled with trails used periodically by sheep herders, mushroom hunters, wood gatherers and the resineros who collect tree sap to sell. Unfortunately this labyrinth of trails can be confusing to the uninitiated. We are working with a cooperative of local volunteer guides to clear and design hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty. Hiking options include the mountain Cerro Pelon and large hill Cerro de la Silla. Suggested minimum donation of $200 MXN per party means that a local guide will accompany you and make sure you don’t get lost (as has happened on a few too many visitors’ self-guided hikes).
Guided Horseback Rides (year round)
Macheros, the name of our community, translates as “stables,” and almost every household has at least one working horse on hand. All of these horses work carrying tourists up the mountain during the butterfly season, and so they are docile and accustomed to carrying unfamiliar riders. On this tour you will be led by Joel’s brother Vicente through the shady, gently-sloping trails that meander through the forested foothills that surround our village. Vicente is an experienced forest forager, skilled at harvesting wild mushrooms during the rainy season and tree resin year round. He can take you to see the field where the family grows their corn, or to the building that belonged to the hacendados who ruled this territory before the Mexican Revolution, or to the ruins of a mysterious pre-Colombian pyramid on the hill that overlooks the B&B. Tour price of $60 US each includes guide service, horse wrangling, and a picnic lunch. $30 for kids under 18.
Our peace and quiet is periodically punctured by boisterous observances of the religious calendar in our fervently folk Catholic small town. Day of the Dead (November 1 & 2), the Virgin’s birthday (December 12th) Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Holy Week (especially the Passion on Good Friday) and the Patron Saint’s Day fiesta on May 14 & 15 are festive times to visit. These observances seamlessly combine the orthodox with the pagan, and usually include flowers, processions, special seasonal foods and terrifying/exhilarating amateur fireworks displays.
Mushroom Foraging (summer)
The summer rainy season means that mushrooms start sprouting all over the hillsides around us beginning in mid-July through October. Locals live off of fungi during the lean off season when there’s no income coming in from in butterfly tourism. Varieties available change every few weeks. Joel’s siblings Vicente and Ana are experienced and enthusiastic edible mushroom foragers. Price of $20 USD per person includes the morning foraging trip as well as sautéing and seasoning what you find and serving it up for lunch with fresh tortillas.
Zitacuaro Walkabout (year round)
See the highlights of heroic Zitacuaro, an important market and supply center for the surrounding rural communities. We start off at the bustling food market in the center of town where Mexican food expert Diana Kennedy does her food shopping. Multiple mole pastes, staggering arrays of chiles, and the traditional sweets of Michoacan are on offer. Then we head for the ruins of San Felipe on the outskirts of town. These pyramids command a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and valleys—we’ll point out Cerro Pelon, the butterfly mountain, to you. $50 per person. This tour can easily be combined with bus station pick up or drop off.
We are visited by a wide variety of birdlife throughout the year: the orioles and grosbeaks that feast upon monarchs, mountain trogons that nest in the hills above us, and the white-eared hummingbirds that check every single blossom in the agapanto in our yard every day. Then there are the wide variety of hawks, tanagers, flycatchers (vermilion and silky grey), warblers and thrashers that love the edges of fields and forests in our town. We are still in the process of educating ourselves about birding, so at this point, all birdwatching trips are self-guided.