When you take a tour with us, you’re helping us to provide work for people throughout the year, not just during the short butterfly season. All tours begin with an orientation session to give you a brief overview of monarch biology, area history and conservation challenges, as well as an opportunity to meet your fellow monarch enthusiasts. We take care of the logistics, carrying a picnic lunch for you and helping with your horse. You are accompanied by one (or more, depending on the size of your group) of our experienced and attentive English-speaking guides.

Our tours have been featured on the San Antonio News (twice), the BBCBelgian PBS, the AP Wire and in the documentaries Pursuing the MonarchsThe Guardians and the forthcoming Monarch Ultra.

Butterfly Tour FAQs

  • During the butterfly season, we organize tours everyday. We can organize your tours when you check in.
  • Tours are $2000 MXN per person. Tour price includes orientation, entry fee, guide, horse rental and a picnic lunch. Tips for horse handlers and guides are not included.
  • Tour orientation begins at 8:45 and tours depart at 9:00 am from the B&B and usually get back around 3:00 pm.
  • Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free picnic lunches are available. Place your order the day before your tour.
  • Horses are available at all the sanctuaries, but tours are the same price whether you opt to ride a horse or not. The horses are led by their owners: you do not have to know how to ride. Horses are highly recommended for ascending Cerro Pelon.
  • The butterfly colonies change location throughout the season and from one season to the next–which means that their accessibility to tourists is constantly changing as well. We won’t know until very close to your visit what conditions will be like at any particular sanctuary.
  • All of the colonies are the same elevation: 3,000 meters or almost 10,000 feet above sea level.
  • Horsehandlers and guides appreciate tips for good service. 200 MXN is standard on Cerro Pelon.
  • See our FAQs page for answers to more questions about horses, hiking, altitude, group size, etc.

Cerro Pelon Sanctuary Tour

This is the sanctuary that is closest to our village and closest to our hearts. Joel’s brother Patricio, along with the forest guardians from our non-profit, patrol this mountain every day, so we always have up-to-the minute information on monarch activity there. Cerro Pelón is where scientists first confirmed that the butterflies that left Canada every year were the same ones that overwintered in the oyamel fir tree forests of the Sierra Madres. It is also, according to many butterfly enthusiasts and the Lonely Planet, the loveliest and least touristy of Mexico’s butterfly roosts. Cerro Pelón tours usually involve an hour-long horse ride on half level and half steep mountain trail. Sometimes there is a bit of a hike after we dismount. Apart from the workers present protecting the colony, your group is likely to be alone on the mountain. If you only have time to see one sanctuary, see Cerro Pelón. Tour price of $2000 MXN per adult includes entry fee, horse rental, bag lunch, and a bilingual guide. Kids under 18 are $1600 MXN each.

We look forward to working with you to make sure you have a memorable experience 

El Rosario Sanctuary Tour

Available November 20-March 15

After Cerro Pelon, we recommend a visit to the completely different but equally impressive El Rosario. Unlike the unmarked trail that winds up the mountain on Cerro Pelon, here you’ll find numerous souvenir stalls, large tour groups, concrete steps, and interpretive signs, as well as bountiful butterflies. El Rosario is a two-hour-long drive from our B&B. Tour price of $2000 MXN each includes transportation, entry fee, horse rental (if desired), bag lunch and an English-speaking guide. Children under 18 are $1600 MXN each.

Sierra Chincua Sanctuary Tour

Available November 20-March 15

The trail to the usually smaller Sierra Chincua colony is usually not as steep or long as the one to Cerro Pelon. Most of the ascent is done in car on a scenic mountain road. The trail leading to the butterflies is usually a 30-45 minute walk each way, and horses can be taken part of the way. Unlike the varied foliage on Cerro Pelon, the trees here are almost all oyamel fir trees, making for uniformly dark green vistas. Tour price of $2000 MXN per person includes transportation (2 hours each way from our place), entry fee, bag lunch, horse rental (if desired), and an English-speaking guide. Children under 18 are $1600 MXN each.


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.