Macheros Day 1, El’ Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary

by | Mar 7, 2023

Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary BnB


The idea that millions of monarch butterflies from all over the United States and Canada migrate to the mountains in Mexico was a sight I longed to see but never thought I would!  Until one day in September I saw a Facebook post from my friend Brenda inviting people to see 3 butterfly sanctuaries in Mexico.  I said a quick prayer and set off to talk to my husband about this beckoning adventure! Without hesitation he was on board and excited for this great opportunity before me!

I thought I was going to experience a butterfly phenomenon. However, the history I learned during my stay at Cerro Pelon Butterfly B&B gave the butterfly phenomenon depth and purpose that made me feel more connected to God, man and earth.  So weird for me to say that…I hate clichés but it’s true.

How do you describe a phenomenon?  You can’t.  But I’m sure going to try!  

But first things first, my experience is based on staying at Cerro Pelon’s Butterfly B&B in Macheros Mexico.  We arrived late Thursday, February 23rd and left early Wednesday March 1st.  We only left the B&B to go to the sanctuaries, except for a few of us who braved Mexico City on a busy Saturday afternoon and thought we were being kidnapped, haha! (more on that later!)  This is key information to properly enjoy the puns and giggles sprinkled throughout my story! 

8am Thursday morning, February 23rd, 11 women, most of us strangers, hopped on a plane headed for Mexico City because of one woman and a common love for the Monarch Butterfly.  Our trip begins with a good ol’ Michigan ice storm setting us back a few hours, leaving most of us hungry, edgy, and impatient to get there.  When we finally landed and got some food in our bellies we happily hopped in the Mercedes Benz passenger van that would take us to the little village of Macheros…3 hours away… The inner crank was beginning to fester in a few of us and patience were wearing thin so when we finally got our dinner at almost 8pm, we all celebrated! 

During dinner I learned that there is no heat in the rooms and the temperatures were dropping to the 30’s at night…oh boy was I glad I took Brenda’s advice and brought warm pajama’s!  As it turns out, our room stayed warm, the sheets were cozy and the bed dawned lots of cozy blankets all of which made my warm pjs waaaay too hot!!

First of all, let me say, I packed like I was going to a big fancy resort in Nuevo Vallarta instead of a little B&B in the village of Macheros made up of only 400 people. Oh boy!  I am not a world traveler.  I’ve only traveled a handful of times in my 50 years!  I have a lot to learn!  Lucky for me my roommate for the week, Sue,  has traveled to 80 countries and was able to give me a lot of packing tips…but only after all the laughs we had about my 5 pairs of shoes, 2 bathing suits and 2 bathing suit covers, bag of jewelry (which I didn’t wear), suitcase full of toiletries and hair tools, tripod (which I didn’t use), 2 purses (forced myself to use one), 10 shirts, one skirt (I brought it so I wore it darn it…for an hour), jeans, shorts, capris, oh and 11 decks of cards in case we wanted to play Speed…needless to say, I gave her some good laughs and lots of stories to tell her fellow experienced traveling companions.  Meanwhile, back at home sits a suitcase full of school supplies that I bought specifically for the students in Macheros. .  “Sorry kids, I couldn’t bring you the school supplies you need because well, frankly, I’m an idiot!”  Ignorant is a better word, but idiot is how I felt!   

So here’s tip #1…pack like you’re going  camping for a week and only bring what you absolutely need!  Leave the frills behind!  If you do this you will have a much more relaxing time appreciating all the depth and beauty the little village of Macheros Mexico has to offer.


Day One
El Rosario Sanctuary  
Friday February 24, 2023

6:30am up and at’em meeting everyone for breakfast at 7:30am in Momma Rosa’s restaurant. Such a beautiful little restaurant that Joel, Rosa’s son had built for her.  (Again photo credit goes to Brenda for most of the next set of photos.  Thank you again Brenda for taking such great photo and sharing.)  

Our first stop was El’ Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, but not before we drove 3 hours to get there.  On our way up the mountain we had to stop and park on the side of the road because there was a parade of students representing schools from all around.  To be apart of their celebration, even tho I didn’t know what it was about, left me feeling like a gawking tourist waving at the cute village children🤦🏼‍♀️ But over all I think the kids enjoyed the attention of our smiles, waves, and constant picture taking.  At least that’s what we told each other to mask the embarrassment of acting like little girls on a field trip!! (Finally!! Videos can now EASILY be viewed!! 3rd times a charm!!)

We knew we were getting close because monarch butterflies were EVERYWHERE!!  We were all oohing and aahhing…like we had never seen a butterfly in our lives!  The first thing we saw as we raced to the baño was a cluster of monarchs in the ally taking in as much nutrients as possible. What a sight to see…and it was only the beginning…how would we ever contain ourselves if we were already busting at the seams from just these “few” 😂!  We couldn’t!  We barely contained ourselves!


I was so amazed by what I saw already that If we would have turned around and went home, I would have been content!  But I was glad we didn’t!  With butterflies surrounding us, we mounted our horses and up the mountain we went.  On horseback, it was a 15 minute ride up El Rosario mountain to see the roosting mariposa!!  Riding the horse through the mountain was an adventure all on it’s own because my horse and guide decided they liked trotting up the mountain rather that walking…me, not so much! Nothing I could do about it, I was at their non English speaking mercy! 🤪🥴😂 



We went a far as we could on horseback, finishing with a 5-10 minute walk to their main roosting place.  There are strict rules in place, you must be quiet and you’re not allowed to touch Mariposa Monarca, whether dead or alive.  Mariposa Monarca means butterfly monarch in Spanish. I’m not sure why they have a no talking rule as hardly a whisper could be uttered while beholding something so majestic.  Some looked like leaves on tree trunks while others clustered on branches resembling beehives.   So much wonder and awe, so soo many questions!  How could this be? How could all of these mariposas congregate at the same place year after year without ever being there before?  

How do you describe such a phenomenon?  You don’t.  You can’t.  Only through experience can you understand this phenomenon.

In the stillness the wind from the wings of the butterflies was felt.  In the quietness silent sobs could be seen. Breath taken. Tears flowing, Unmistaken majesty. The evidence of God’s existence could not go unnoticed as His handiwork was everywhere!

So happy to have figured out how to make a video playlist!!  I so desperately wanted to share these videos!!  The butterflies were very active and so many were heading down the mountain already.  With cold snaps, such as the 10 inches of snow Arizona experienced the other day, can be problematic to their journey north.  (More on the monarch migration coming soon). So say some prayers, plant milkweed for our winged friends journey, and register your milkweed in the Million Milkweed Challenge. (Shameles plug, but what kind of business owner would I be if I didn’t promote my own business 😂 😝)

Side note:  Pictures and videos of the butterflies were taking with 100mm-400mm telephoto lens, I don’t recommend anything less than 300/400mm and I DO recommend  bringing some sort of camera other than your cell phone.  Sue, had a point and shoot that took fantastic pictures!!  Make sure you have good cushioning in your camera bag you will need it on the horse!  Oh and, DO NOT forget to tip your guide!!  For taking us up the mountain, which is roughly 15 minutes (can be longer depending on where the monarchs are roosting) we tipped the guide 200 pesos, which at the time was roughly $11 American dollars.  As I understand it, that was a good tip.


El Rosario is the most touristy of the three sanctuaries we visited and it’s also the biggest.  There are way more people visiting and there are little “shops” all around the parking lot.  We rode horseback up and walked many cement steps down the mountain.  El’ Rosario definitely beholds man’s fingerprint on the side of that mountain.  If you want a less touristy adventure, check out Cerro Pelon’s BnB sanctuary tour.  (More on that tour on Macheros Day 3, Cerro Pelon Butterfly Sanctuary)  Please note, that my above comments about it being touristy is NOT a negative thing in the least.  I love me a little touristy gift shopping!  I got myself a little ponytail scrunchy and almost bought a hat (actually that was never going to happen. No almost about it 😝)  As far as touristy goes, it’s not out of hand, but in comparison to the other 2 we went to…well, you’ll see…

Before I Go…

Enjoy the rest of the day 1’s pictures at the BnB.  I’m going to get started on Macheros Day 2, Adventure Plot Twist.  Now that day was a…hmm…unexpected adventure with a plot twist!!  We also learned about the Mexican Revolution and how it helped the village of Macheros during the BnB’s Cottage Tour.  How the cottage tour works is interesting in and of itself.  They contact the village people and coordinate times with them for us to come and visit their homes and the work/service they provide.  We met a piñata maker, basket maker, tortilla maker (I even got to make a tortilla!), the trout pond and soo much more!   Originally I was only going to blog about just the monarch sanctuaries but I feel it would take away from the entirety of the experience provided us by Cerro Pelon Butterfly BnB.  They really did make the ENTIRE experience.  I thought about what it may have been like to stay in a hotel. I winced a little at first but then tears well up as I thank God again for a glimpse into another world.  The best thing about this place is they’re as cozy as a hotel, have a great breakfast selection, which is included with the stay, and have everything you could need within a hop, skip, and a jump away, all while being secluded on the side on Cerro Pelon mountain in Macheros Mexico.  Did I mention that it surrounded by mountains?  I kid you not, a full 360 of mountains!  Every direction mountains!  That said, there is NOTHING wrong with the comforts of a hotel and being closer to the city, but being a country girl, this setting 👇  was more suitable for me!!!  

Thank you for reading!  ❤️






  1. Lori Smith

    We did have a lot of fun & it was an amazing trip. Our group was amazing. Thanks for doing this blog.

    • Hosting Butterflies

      We really did have a GREAT mix of women! I look forward to getting together this summer!

  2. Beth Doerr

    What an amazing experience we had! You have captured it beautifully!! Yes I would agree that I was not as excited about the horse as you were. But all you ladies and our wonderful guides got me thru it. I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and conquering your fears. 🤗

    • Hosting Butterflies

      Thank you! I’m having fun reliving the experience! I definitely feel the void of all our laughs together!

  3. Brenda Sattler

    I’m so glad you were able to come and experience this. I’m also glad that you enjoyed it.

    • Hosting Butterflies

      Me too!! I’m so grateful to you for making all the arrangements! What a beautiful thing to just go and enjoy! ❤️

  4. Courtney

    I love how you captured every detail! Thank you! I keep chuckling and smiling remembering it all. Thanks so much, even though I’ve been a few times, it is always a brand new experience each time. It NEVER gets old, and I’m still not fond of the horses. Lol 😝

    • Hosting Butterflies

      Thank you for your kind words! I had fun writing and reliving it. I think I’ve read this like 10xs just laughing at so many things!!


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