Just two and a half hours outside of bustling Mexico City, our safe and sleepy farming community offers a tranquil respite to big city life, an opportunity to kick back and relax in a bucolic village nestled in a valley that lies at the entry of the Cerro Pelón Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. When you stay with us in Macheros, you can lounge on our lawn, watch the sunset, go bird watching, ride horses, visit local cottage industries, hike in the adjoining forest, catch trout, learn how to make Mexican food, or stargaze from our rooftop at night. In short, you’ll get to have a firsthand experience of small town life in an ejido in the rural hinterlands of the State of Mexico.
Most people visit us from November to March because of our proximity to Cerro Pelón. Although Cerro Pelón is usually the second most populous monarch butterfly roost after better-known El Rosario, it’s the least touristy and most pristine of the four sanctuaries open to the public. Because there are fewer visitors on Cerro Pelon, you can have a quieter, more intimate butterfly experience.
In the fall, the entire North American monarch butterfly population that lives east of the Rockies starts a 3,000-mile journey to a small area of high-altitude tropical forest in Mexico’s transvolcanic range. Millions of them return to the same trees in the same forest every year, even though three to four generations have passed since the last season. Every visit to see the butterflies is different. If it’s chilly or rainy the butterflies cluster in the trees. At first the backs of their wings look like dead leaves and you may not realize you’re looking at thousands of butterflies. When the sun hits them, they take to the air all at once in impressive explosions. What sounds like the wind is actually the flapping of thousands of butterfly wings.
Many people cry when they see the butterflies. Others come to scatter ashes, propose marriage or otherwise mark a life transition. Still others take hundreds of photographs. Whatever you do, you are bound to have a memorable experience.
By staying with us in Macheros, a peasant community that abuts the reserve, you are spending your pesos in a place that has few other sources of income. Apart from butterfly tourism, illegal logging is one of the few lucrative jobs here. Uncontrolled logging endangers the butterfly habitat. By eating meals, renting horses, hiring guides, shopping in local stores, or buying souvenir baskets, you can make a difference to the people of Macheros, which in turn helps to preserve the monarch’s overwintering habitat.