Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca Chincua – Estacionamiento | Informal Campsite

Mexico

Details

Last Visited: almost 2 years ago
GPS: 19.671090, -100.278070
Altitude: 3250.2 masl
Place Website:

Amenities

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

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hinter-dem-horizont.net

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Description

The mapping and the description of the places around is a bit confusing. Here we try to sort it out.
This point actually labels the parking lot of the Sierra Chincua Section of the Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca. It’s the only official parking. It’s situated about 2 km from the junction with the carretera nacional (marked as ‘Sierra Chingua, Monarchfalter‘). The other entry (‘Monarch Sanctuary‘) is for general information only; it doesn’t mark any particular place.
You can camp here for free (we arrived at 5.45 pm and weren’t even asked to pay the parking fee mentioned in other posts). There are a couple of simple restaurants and food stalls as well as clean bathrooms with flushing toilets, open from 9 am to 5 pm. At night it’s absolutely dark and quiet. There are a couple of other possibilities to camp along the gravel road leading up here and beyond that place in the forest.
Here you find the ticket booth (open from 9 to 5) where you pay the entrance fee of MEX$ 50pp. A guide is mandatory and included in the price (he’ll expect a tip though).
Following informations and hints might be dependent on the season and weather conditions. We’ve been here early December and saw tens of thousands if not millions of Monarchs. It’s a hike of roughly 2 km up to the “colonia monarca”, mostly easy to walk with a moderate upward slope and a total height gain of 100 m. You shouldn’t need more than 45 min. There is no need to start before 10 am as the activities of the butterflies begin around noon (earlier when warmer). It might be fun but there is no need to take one of the horses provided as it’s only a 10 min ride to a plateau where the path narrows and you have to leave the horse behind and have to walk the more difficult part anyway.
They don’t let you very close to the Monarchs so bring a tele lens.

[Moderator] I added a number of roads and paths in OSM to make the situation clearer.

Photos

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We arrived at 7 pm and parked on the soccer field overnight, before going up to the butterfly entrance. Next morning we paid the 50 pesos for the car to drive up to the start of the hike, you can camp up there overnight without any extra charge. Entry for the hike to see the butterflies is 50 pesos per person and you must take a guide. Cost of guide is a tip. The trek is moderate to high level of fitness required it is only a short walk but with high altitude and some parts are a little steep. We are moderately fit but not professional athletes :) my husband suffers from Altitude sickness and he found he was short of breath in some parts but it was worth it.

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We arrived in late afternoon and were told we could camp for free in or near the parking area. We took a rough high clearance 4wd road on the lower side of the parking area and a few hundred meters down there was a big open meadow with flat enough spots on the north side of the meadow for our truck camper. It was a gorgeous quiet night of sleep.

It was a cooler day for mid march and we were told many mariposas had left in the past week when things had warmed up. We were pleasantly surprised with the quantity of butterflies that remained, however it was a longer hike than we expected. It took us almost 2 hours, granted we were hiking with our twin 5 year olds. They took horses back for 100 pesos.

There were many restaurants with good food. There were also lots of kids requesting money for trivial tasks or just begging for a moneda for a soda.

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Nice place for a night-stop. 50 pesos to park, no extra for overnight, but there are no overnight facilities. The complex opens 9:00 to 18:00 in peak butterfly season. We were disappointed by the butterflies here, but this was probably due to it not being sunny enough for them to fly. On a sunny day it's probably great. Nice gentle walk, around 2km, no steep hike. Entrance 50 pesos incl guide (tip is expected extra).

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Stayed overnight. It is pitch dark up there, but seems there is security at the sanctuary. Be aware the dirt road is very steep, narrow and challanging. We managed it with our 22“ RV, but it was the max possible. Greaty butterfly watching though.

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There will be people flagging you down at the entrance. It’s 50 pesos to park...note that there are no official looking people at the parking entrance when things are slow...but it is still official.

50 pesos per person entrance. Would suggest a guide during slow days as we wouldn’t have known which trail to take...there was no other people. Could manage on your own on a weekend, but then you’d be fighting 1000s of others...

Best times are between 11 and 2pm. We arrived around 2pm and still were able to see 1000s if not millions of butterflies. Strenuous 40 minutes walking, guide said most take an hour (not in shape). Spouse took a horse due to bad knee - 200 round trip. It is uphill on the return, so can request a horse for the return.

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Parking is now 50 pesos per car, entrance also 50 pesos per person. Last 2 km is a good gravel road, no issues with our 21ft motorhome. The location of the Monarchs changes slightly every year, now appr. 30 min hike mainly downhill to get there. Guide is not obligatory and not needed when you can follow people, but when the crowds are thin, I would recommend one as you can get a bit lost. Met people who took a guide and paid 80 pesos as a tip. Horses are 100 pesos each way. Tip: if possible check the weather before heading down here. We were there around 12:30, but the sun was barely out, so there was not much activity. I’m sure that if more butterfies are flying it’s mind blowing :) Telelens or binoculars are a must, you can’t get close! Dogs not allowed on the hike, but ok on the grassy parking lot. There are some strays around.

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Parking gratuit pour dormir, entrée du sanctuaire 45 pesos par personne. Préférez monter par le nord, par le sud ça grimpe beaucoup et fait chauffer les moteurs. Les derniers mètres à partir de l’entrée du sanctuaire sont difficiles, piste mauvaise, boue, étroit, on croise pas mal de voitures il faut se serrer. Évitez le week end ! Énormément de monde, parking plein. Une dizaine de restaurants en haut, très correct et pas cher (a part café et chocolat chaud immondes). Nuit noire et très calme mais aussi très fraîche !!!

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Nice place, was quite crowded now in between holidays. A guide is not included and definitely not mandatory, despite what they might try to tell you - I asked and they said it was recommended, then said it was recommended because it's already late... route was signed and very easy to follow, with some occasional signposts with explanation as well.
Up to you if you want to support the local "guides" (even kids tried), but a lot of them didn't seem to do much, so we went without one, like the most of local tourists.
We rather stopped for dinner at one of the food stalls, for a normal nice meal (grilled meat&beans&tortillas) - 75pesos per person - tasted good.
Lots of monarchs, but as said, you have to keep a distance, so bring that Tele :)

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As described. We paid 40p at the begining of the Road for the car, and 45ppp for the visit (guide included but without tips). We asked him if we can camp on the parking lot and there was no problem. He told us that there were also cabanas for rent, it could be a possibility if you’re not equiped for cold nights. The local police were there during the day. Bathroom between 9 to 5 for 5pesos

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The mapping and the description of the places around is a bit confusing. Here we try to sort it out.
This point actually labels the parking lot of the Sierra Chincua Section of the Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca. It’s the only official parking. It’s situated about 2 km from the junction with the carretera nacional (marked as ‘Sierra Chingua, Monarchfalter‘). The other entry (‘Monarch Sanctuary‘) is for general information only; it doesn’t mark any particular place.
You can camp here for free (we arrived at 5.45 pm and weren’t even asked to pay the parking fee mentioned in other posts). There are a couple of simple restaurants and food stalls as well as clean bathrooms with flushing toilets, open from 9 am to 5 pm. At night it’s absolutely dark and quiet. There are a couple of other possibilities to camp along the gravel road leading up here and beyond that place in the forest.
Here you find the ticket booth (open from 9 to 5) where you pay the entrance fee of MEX$ 45 pp. A guide is mandatory and included in the price (he’ll expect a tip though).
Following informations and hints might be dependent on the season and weather conditions. We’ve been here early December and saw tens of thousands if not millions of Monarchs. It’s a hike of roughly 2 km up to the “colonia monarca”, mostly easy to walk with a moderate upward slope and a total height gain of 100 m. You shouldn’t need more than 45 min. There is no need to start before 10 am as the activities of the butterflies begin around noon (earlier when warmer). It might be fun but there is no need to take one of the horses provided as it’s only a 10 min ride to a plateau where the path narrows and you have to leave the horse behind and have to walk the more difficult part anyway.
They don’t let you very close to the Monarchs so bring a tele lens.

Report Check-In