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Mar 9th, 2005, 07:09 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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One more for thit cho,

Email me at above about the Monarchs--where you stayed, transport, etc.
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Mar 9th, 2005, 07:45 PM
  #22
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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thit_cho,
Looking forward to your Madagascar report and would also enjoy hearing about your St. Maarten/St. Barts/Anguilla trip. I've been considering the same combination. I'm sure if you posted it on the Caribbean board, it would be appreciated by many.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 12:01 PM
  #23
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'll provide some brief info on trip to Michoacan to see the monarch butterflies last November (I'll also email this to you).

Wednesday (before Thanksgiving) -- I flew from JFK to Mexico City, and the caught connection to Morelia (a World Heritage Site). I was met at the airport by David Justice who runs Rocamar Tours (he has an 800 number, which is answered by his mother in Ottawa, so it was easy to deal with him). I stayed at Hotel Virroy de Mendoza (sp?), which is right on the main square. Generally, just wandered around Morelia that night.

Thursday -- took public bus from Morelia to Zitacuaro, and then taxi to Rancho San Cayetano, a nice lodge run by a European couple (great French food). Spent day hiking and reading by pool. That night, Diana Kennedy, who lives in Zitacuaro and is the "Julia Child of Mexican cuisine" had dinner with us at the hotel.

Friday -- drove to Rosario, the main butterfly sanctuary, and it was very busy and seemed very built up -- you climb a staircase to get to the top of the mountain. We saw thousands of butterflies, but the large groups were far away from the paths.

Saturday -- I got up early and visited a second site (I can't recall the name), and I was the very first visitor on the season's opening day. I rented a horse and guide, and we began a very steep climb to the top of the mountain (the climb was about an hour on horseback, but I would guess it would take 3 to 4 hours on foot). That night, the world's formost expert on monarch butterflies had dinner at Rancho San Cayetano, and we spent some time speaking with him.

The scene at the mountaintop was INCREDIBLE -- I was literally surrounded by millions of butterflies, and I was the only one there for the two-hours of my stay. We did pass others on the way down, so it looks like it was going to get more crowded at the day wore on. But the satellite site was immeasurably more fascinating than El Rosario. Took the early evening bus to Mexico City.

Sunday -- spent in Mexico City, where I had been several times before, so I spent a few hours around the Zocalo and then caught afternoon flight to JFK.

There's not a lot of info on the web about independent travel to the monarch butterflies, but there are many tours, but a week, to me, seems too long to spend looking at butterflies. But its possible to do the trip independently, as I did, but its tough during the season to get a room at Rancho San Cayetano. I was lucky in that my visit coincided with the opening weekend for the butterfly reserves.

Michael

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Mar 10th, 2005, 12:18 PM
  #24
 
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http://www.rocamar.com.mx/

I worked with Warma Justice, and she put me in touch with her son, David, who lives in Morelia. He met me at the airport, and he made sure I got on the express bus from Morelia to Zitacuaro.
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