Monarch Butterfly Migration, Aztecs & Hot Air Balloons [Pioneer Exclusive] - Awesome Experiences

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Monarch Butterfly Migration, Aztecs & Hot Air Balloons [Pioneer Exclusive]Mexico

From £1,909 per person for 6 nights (based on 2 adults sharing)*
Discover Mexico’s colonial cities and Aztec ruins on this adventure, before witnessing one of nature’s most unusual spectacles – the annual Monarch butterfly migration.

Perfect for:

Must-do Outdoor Experiences Pioneers ClubWonders of Wildlife
Summary

Mexico

Every October, millions of monarch butterflies begin a journey of nearly 3,000 miles to the centre of Mexico – and we’re offering you the chance to view this incredible spectacle. Combine this unforgettable natural wonder with the very best that Mexico has to offer, including the stunning 16th-century town of Morelia, the mysterious ancient pyramids of Teotihuacán and the vibrant capital, Mexico City.

AWESOME ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR PRICE:

  • Horse ride through the tranquil fir forests around Angangueo, surrounded by thousands of monarch butterflies
  • Soar high above the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacán by hot air balloon
  • Taste the sweet delights of José Ramón Castillo, the country’s most famous chocolatier
  • Lunch with an incredible view at Gran Teocalli restaurant overlooking photo-worthy Teotihuacán
  • Cruise the floating gardens of Xochimilco by traditional trajinera boat
  • Visit the most beautiful cathedral in Mexico in the charming colonial city of Morelia

Touch down in Mexico City, the country's energetic capital. You’ll spend your first two days admiring the handsome architecture, sampling the incredible culinary scene and discovering the city’s rich artistic heritage, learning about the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Your private tour of the city includes a mouthwatering tasting session with master chocolatier José Ramón Castillo. You’ll also board a brightly coloured trajinera boat for a cruise around the bewitching Aztec floating gardens of Xochimilco, and take an unforgettable hot air balloon ride high above the vast pre-Columbian pyramids of Teotihuacán.

monarch summary

Then it’s time to head west to the pink-hued colonial town of Morelia, still largely undiscovered by the tourist masses and home to the most impressive cathedral in Mexico. Next stop is Pátzcuaro, where you’ll cross a lake to the traffic-free island of Janitzio. Your journey through Mexico climaxes amongst the fir forests near Angangueo, where the air is filled with great orange clouds of monarch butterflies. Over a hundred million monarchs migrate here every year, and no one really knows why - but the sight of trees topped with thousands of beating wings is extraordinarily beautiful. Astonishingly, it takes several generations to complete the migration, so none of the butterflies you will see in Mexico have been there before, nor will any of them ever return.

teotihuacan summary


Please click the Full Itinerary tab for the full daily itinerary, details of what's included and information about children and solo travellers.


BOOK ONLINE below now, or CALL 0208 432 0885 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri for assistance with booking

Please use your unique Pioneers Club code (sent by email) at checkout to get your 20% discount.

Please have your passport and Debit/Credit card to hand. International flights are not included.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £450 per person and take approximately 12 hours outbound, 10 hours inbound depending on exact flight configurations and layover times. Please check the current prices and availability using the ‘Search for Flights’ link below and ensure that your flight arrival and departure times and dates align with the start and end dates and airport locations shown on the Experience itinerary. Please do not book flights until your Experience booking is confirmed.

Experience start point: Mexico City (MEX) Arrive at any time.

End point: Mexico City (MEX) Depart at any time.

Search for flights to Mexico City

Map
Full Itinerary

See below for your hotel options

You will get a choice of hotel options for the duration of your experience:

Classic ★★★

Classic hotels provide mid-range accommodation (minimum three-star rated), with comfortable rooms and private facilities. We’ve selected these hotels based on positive client feedback.

Premium ★★★★

Premium hotels are typically upper mid range (usually four star), with more amenities than our classic choices. They all have comfortable rooms with private facilities and have received good client feedback.

Deluxe ★★★★★

Deluxe hotels are luxury hotels with excellent facilities and service, usually categorised as 4.5 or 5 star. Clients rate them extremely highly.

When booking an experience, please remember that the hotel category you select is for the whole tour. The table below displays the hotels listed for each category. Please note that the actual hotel selection will be driven by availability at time of booking.


Click on the accommodation names to find out more from the hotel websites:

Classic: Premium: Deluxe:
Hampton Inn & Suites Historico Central Hilton Reforma
Hotel Misión Catedral Hotel de la Soledad Hotel de la Soledad
Hotel Posada Don Bruno Hotel Posada Don Bruno Hotel Posada Don Bruno

Itinerary

Day One

Welcome to Mexico

Fly into Mexico City International, where you’ll be greeted and taken by private transfer to your hotel. On the drive from the airport, you’ll see the sheer scale of this mega-city, passing neighbourhoods packed with Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings as well as modern skyscrapers. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, the rest of the day is free to get acquainted with its attractions. You could visit the ‘blue-house’ where Frida Kahlo once lived, now a museum filled with her paintings. Or perhaps wander the Templo Mayor, the Aztec ruins right at the centre of the city, crammed between old colonial buildings packed with shops, cafés and government offices. Save time to dine – the city is packed with restaurants serving excellent nuevo-Mexican cuisine.  

Overnight in Mexico City

Meals included: None

Mexico City Skyline


Day Two

Culture and Cocoa

Discover the city’s centro historico, as well as some of its most exciting monuments, as you explore with your private guide. Then indulge in Mexico’s most celebrated crop – cocoa – on a chocolate tasting with the country’s master chocolatier, the internationally-renowned José Ramón Castillo. Castillo takes inspiration from the Mayans, who discovered cocoa back in 900AD, as well as the Aztecs, who used it for drinks, tax – and even suncream. In the evening, there’s the option to watch respected dance company Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez perform dances from across the country, at the spectacular Palacio de Bellas Artes (see the Extras tab for information on cost).

Overnight in Mexico City

Meals included: Breakfast


Day Three

Ancient and Mega-Modern

No trip to Mexico City is complete without time in the National Museum of Anthropology, packed with perfectly preserved Mayan treasures. Marvel at frescoes, tombs and murals set in an ultra-modern building, then visit the imposing, modernist campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage site where the buildings are covered with murals (by Diego Rivera and others) depicting the country’s history and culture. Later, you’ll cruise by brightly-coloured trajinera boat on the floating gardens of Xochimilco, 17 miles outside of the city. Along these ancient canals, vendors sell street food, mariachi bands drift past carrying folk tunes on the breeze, and you can watch the world go by with a local michelada (beer Bloody Mary) or two.

Overnight in Mexico City

Meals included: Breakfast

Floating Gardens


Day Four

The High Life

Time to leave the capital and visit one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico – Teotihuacán. We’ve decided that the best way to garner the awesomeness of this ancient site (which means ‘place where men become gods’) is on a flight by hot air balloon. You’ll jump aboard for unbeatable views of the entire site, then enjoy a glass of sparkling wine upon landing, before exploring the city’s pyramids and temples by foot. You'll lunch on Mexican dishes at the Gran Teocalli restaurant near to the site, before travelling by car to your hotel in Morelia, 200 miles west.

Overnight in Morelia

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch

Teotihuacan Hot Air


Day Five

A Pink City, Terracotta Town and Blue Lake

Pink-hued Morelia is a city so well-preserved that it appears frozen in the colonial era. Your private guide will show you ‘the most beautiful cathedral in Mexico’, which took more than 100 years to build. Then see the Garden of the Roses with its pink quarry-stone fountain, and visit the Museo de Dulce – a museum of sweets situated in a tempting shop. Next, you’ll make the hour-long trip by private car to the mountain town of Pátzcuaro, ready to cross its hazy lake to the car-free island of Janitzio. The conquistadors left this little island largely alone, and there’s still a feel of indigenous culture – the local fishermen use butterfly-shaped nets to fish for the famously good local pescado blanco (white fish). You’ll have the opportunity to lunch at one of Janitzio’s fabulous restaurants before climbing the 40m-high statue of independence leader José María Morelos. From here, you’ll glimpse fantastic views of Pátzcuaro (through a quirky viewpoint – Morelos’ wrist), before the return journey to your hotel in Morelia.

Overnight in Morelia

Meals included: Breakfast

Morelia


Day Six

Brilliant Butterflies

Travel from Morelia to Angangueo, arriving in the sleepy old mining town at lunchtime. Nearby, in a fir forest, sits a sanctuary that’s the winter home of millions of Monarch butterflies who have travelled more than 3,000 miles from North America on their migration. Cars are banned in order to protect these creatures and their habitat, so you’ll travel by horse to the sanctuary to see them en masse. It’s an incredible sight: the fir trees are blanketed by thousands of butterflies, and thousands more float through the air, resting wherever there is a perch – including on you. The delicate creatures fill the sanctuary with tranquility, and you will find yourself relaxing to match the butterflies’ steady pace. Return to Angangueo town for the evening.

Overnight in Angangueo

Meals included: Breakfast

Butterflies


Day Seven 

Time to Fly

After a final breakfast and check-out, transfer from Morelia to Mexico City Airport by private car for your return flight home.

Meals included: Breakfast


Overall meals included: 6 Breakfasts; 1 lunch

What's included:

  • Private English-speaking guides unless stated otherwise
  • Private transfers unless stated otherwise
  • Meals as listed
  • Mandatory taxes and service fees
  • Entrance tickets and permits unless stated otherwise
  • Hot air balloon flight over Teotihuacán pyramids with glass of sparkling wine
  • Horse ride to see Monarch butterflies

What's not included:

  • International flights to/from the start/end point of our experiences
  • Optional extras listed
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Any visa, customs, airport taxes or similar charges before or after the tour
  • We cannot guarantee the included hotel breakfast for early departures
  • Drinks during meals unless stated otherwise
  • Personal expenses, such as laundry


For Home Office travel advice to this country, read more here

If you intend to travel solo, please click here

Children: Children must be aged 8 or older for the hot air balloon flight over the Teotihuacan pyramids and aged 7 or older for the Angangueo Monarch butterfly sanctuary.

Note: If you’d like swimming with whale sharks to be part of your trip, please see our Whale Shark & Butterfly Migrations itinerary.


BOOK ONLINE below now, or CALL 0208 432 0885 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri for assistance with booking

Please use your unique Pioneers Club code (sent by email) at checkout to get your 20% discount.

Please have your passport and Debit/Credit card to hand. International flights are not included.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £450 per person and take approximately 12 hours outbound, 10 hours inbound depending on exact flight configurations and layover times. Please check the current prices and availability using the ‘Search for Flights’ link below and ensure that your flight arrival and departure times and dates align with the start and end dates and airport locations shown on the Experience itinerary. Please do not book flights until your Experience booking is confirmed.

Experience start point: Mexico City (MEX) Arrive at any time.

End point: Mexico City (MEX) Depart at any time.

Search for flights to Mexico City

Extras

Awesome Experience bonuses

Many of our experiences have optional features available at an added cost. Please see below for available extras for this experience. Please continue to checkout to select any optional extras and to see pricing information.

Optional Extras

To customise your experience, you can select any of theses extras at an additional cost during the basket stage.

Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez

Watch respected dance company Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez perform dances from across the country, at the spectacular Palacio de Bellas Artes

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