Mexico is a country today well commuted and theoretically you can get to the Monarch Butterflies from any point in our geography; But the most efficient plan is to stay overnight in a hotel closer to the sanctuaries in towns like Angangueo, Zitacuaro or Morelia.
Morelia is a World Heritage city, by UNESCO, one of the ten Mexico has, and one of the 190 cities in the world with this designation, out of the thousands of cities created by mankind. This Convention of UN has determined that is a city so unique in its universal values that deserves to belong to the best of the human culture. Therefore, if you come, let´s say from SMA, you can take two birds with one stone: go from here to the Monarchs and take the day you arrive to walk Morelia.
Besides, near Morelia there are the beautiful areas of Patzcuaro and Cuitzeo, designated by the federal mexican authorities as Pueblos Mágicos, (Magic Towns). Uruapan is aswell very close. This could be any day after your visit to the Monarchs.
Being based in Morelia, less than 4 hours bus drive down to the south from San Miguel de Allende, means our tours start close to the sanctuaries. We recommend to come to the city overnight, and then go to the Monarchs. You can go directly from San Miguel de Allende, but it is a very long day tour sometimes up to five hours each way.
From San Miguel de Allende to Morelia there’s every day one bus running. Departure at 7:45 am, and arrives to Morelia at 11:30 am. Bus line name is Primera Plus. Costs approx 150 pesos. And from Morelia to San Miguel de Allende there´s one that leaves at around 5:15 pm arriving there around 9 pm. If you need to get earlier you can get a bus from Morelia to Celaya and there get another bus to SMA, they are running from Celaya constantly in one or the other direction. Taxi in Morelia from buses central to downtown cost 35 to 40 pesos, and takes some 15-20 minutes.
If you’re coming to Morelia from Mexico City, make sure to get the bus in Central de Autobuses Observatorio. This is the western station and the buses will take the shortest way to Morelia.
From Patzcuaro to the Monarchs is too long, it´s 4 hours each way, 8 total in a day trip, if there´s no traffic and no stops. It´s not convenient for you to hire a guide that drives you 8 hours and guides you another 4 hours in the sanctuaries, including lunch time: he/she will be too tired by the end of the day and that´s risky for your own safety. This is one of the main reasons why people prefers to come to Morelia and departure from here.
If you need guidance on your hotels, please let us know and we will happily forward you details of some highly recommended options for you.
In the other hand if you need a private tour to the Monarchs, please, let us know aswell.