Informal camp

Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary El Rosario | Informal Campsite

Staticmap?center=19.58416, 100.26964&zoom=13&size=1170x250&maptype=roadmap&markers=color:red%7ccolor:red%7clabel:c%7c19.58416, 100


Last Visited: 6 months ago
GPS: 19.584160, -100.269640
Altitude: 3038.0 masl
Place Website:


Electricity: No
Wifi: No
Kitchen: No
Restaurant: Yes
Showers: No
Water: No
Toilets: Running Water
Big Rig Friendly: Yes
Tent Friendly: No
Pet Friendly: Yes

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large parking lot. Not very flat but the best place to explore the sanctuary in the morning. Very quiet.


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no other camper on the big parking lot. very quiet. just some spots are level.

We stayed here for two nights.
On the second night a car parked next to us. People walked around our Van with flashlights. Then they knocked and immediately opened the side door (which unfortunately was unlocked at that time). That was such a shock!!! They blended us with their flashlights in the face, but we could recognize their bulletproof wests.
That was the police. They asked us if everything is okay. When they saw us being so shocked, they apologized and gave us the phone number of the police in case something happens.

Overnight parking at the paved parking lot of El Rosario Monarch Sanctuary. Clean and quiet, seems to be safe. Road from Ocampo is paved all the way but there are 47 topes on the way. The hike to the Butterflies is one way 2,8 km with 270 m elevation gain, lined with souvenir shops at the beginning, perfecty marked and rope lined, but a guide (who spoke no word) will accompany you to the grove. There are millions of butterflies hanging in a dense, shady stand of trees, but unfortunately the trail is blocked far before and within a too small area for all the people visiting. The butterflies and the view is mosty blocked by trees or branches. The butterflies start to spread their wings in the sun after ca 10.30 am and they are start flying around 11 am.

With a motorhome it's a good idea to come here and pass by San Felipe de los Alzati, El Paso and Ocampo .
With a 26' rv it was perfect.
Enjoy the butterfly paradise, and your night.

We were here for Christmas, good place to park, restaurants around, kids asking for fruits or money but not too insistant. February is the best time to see the butterflies but it was still quite impressive.

Very, very quite night. No noise. Leveled. Perfect.

End of March, is the end of the season. Still nice to visit, although less butterflies. Stayed overnight on the upper parking lot, no problem. sent us there using the road from Angangueo. Very bumpy and windy road. The first part is very steep and narrow, between houses. No way to cross other vehicles during the first kilometres, each time, one has to move back and find a spot aside the road. The second part, low electricity wiring above the road, max. hight 3,5 meter. Doable, but difficult with big rigs. We made it with our 24 ft., truckcamper. The road from Ocampo is a much better choice, windy as well, but wide enough and good pavement, also used by busses.

Large parking lot. Not very flat. Free. No amenities but the best place to visit the sanctuaries in the morning .
Very quiet at night.

Still free to camp overnight, at least we got there around 6:30pm and parked in the middle lot, and nobody bothered us. Lots of broken glass. Quite a few dogs barking but none directly around us.
Price to visit the sanctuary was 50p which seemed to include a guide although not everyone had a guide with them? We tipped her although the path is obvious to follow and she didn't speak any English and our Spanish is limited.

As others have said. We got swarmed by curious kids even though it’s pretty quiet and a lot of the stores are quiet. Telcel LTE 2 bars

Now the last 12 km are paved. Possibly to sleep on the parking. Free and secure. From the parking walking 10 minutes until the entrance of the park. Then go up by feet during 3 km or by horse.

very nice place to visit and we are allowed to park for the night. you can also eat here typical meals. worth to come here.

We visited both, Sierra Chincua and El Rosario and have no clear preference. At the time of our visit early December there were much more Monarchs at El Rosario, but most of them were sitting in the shade (so not perfect for photographing even though you get a little bit closer here) and there was by far less activity than at Sierra Chincua. The hike up here is more strenuous (and here it’s by far more worthwhile to rent a horse as it takes you almost all the way up) while at Sierra Chincua the last steps to the „Colonia Monarca“ are more technical demanding. Both destinations are world class highlights!

the road from ocampo is really better than describe ... just a mountain road 😉

A must see! Best to go on a sunny day. The Butterflies leave the trees when sunny.
Drove to parking lot, then walked up to the horses. Great guides & Cabelleros. Return ride on horse was 200 pesos + tip. Separate Guide into the nesting area. Vendors along the trail aren't pushy. Nice handicrafts & good food along the way.

Great place to park in preparation for the El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary. We drove through Ocampo and then up which has many topes but we didn't think the cobblestone road was bad like the description says. The second terrace is the most level of the three but we were asked to move to the top terrace before leaving our truck. From the lot to the end of the trail is about 2.2km and took us about an hour. It gets a little chilly at night at this altitude so be prepared for that.

You dont really need guide. We went up at 7am and there was nobody. Whe where the only ones up there. Butterflies will start to fly after 10. When we came down then we payed 45 pesos per person for the ticket. Drive up from this check-in to start your hike. This is lower parking lot for free overnight parking.

Visited the monarch sanctuary in November 2016 and stayed in the upper parking lot. When we first arrived (~2PM) the road to the upper parking was roped off, but as evening approached, the rope went down so we drove up. The upper parking lot was much more level and surrounded by small shops and food stalls. Locals started to set up early in the morning so there is breakfast available if you didn't bring any food. Coffee also. The bathrooms at the monarch sanctuary main buildings were open through the night, but a bit of a hike up to them. Didn't find the road from Ocampo to be too bad but we were coming from San Miguel De Allende and the road to Ocampo (the last 20km or so) was generally in a state of bad repair.

This is a long climb ( 40 min of stairs) at 10,000'. I would recommend taking a horse if you aren't fit!

Be ready for lots of kids asking for cookies or money.

this is the El Rosario reserve, the largest open to public. we were two campers and had no problems overnight. got here around three and waited till five to come into the lot as it was quite full. suggest if you come on a weekend, park on street and check out first. Quiet overnight and felt safe.

We drove from the north to Ocampo and followed the signs and iOverlander without any problems. Didn't find the road to be too bad. Early in the season so it was very empty. Camped in parking lot with one other Overlander. Camped on second level where it was more level. Beautiful sunset. Ate at the food stall closest to parking lot and they said camping here was no problem. New toilets in parking lot for $4mx but was locked at night.

You better drive from Ocampo, look for the signs. 9 Kilometer good paved road, the last 3 Kilometers are on good cobbled road with bricks in the driving lanes. Toll fee was 50 Pesos per car. We slept on the parkinglot next to the entrance and food shops. It's for free and the guides said it's save. We had a quiet night after everyone was gone.

- free
- parking alone on a large paved terraced parking lot - 2nd terrace of 3, next to a creek.
- the road to the Butterfly Sanctuary is HELL - around 12 kms on cobbled road with the tracks for wheels laid out with bricks. Steep and bumpy.