Fri, Feb 15 2013 - Monarch Butterflies and Historical Downtown Mexico City (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Oscar, Lisa Maldonado
Participants:Oscar, Lisa Maldonado, Claudia, Shelley, Corey, Josh, Laurine, Lemmy, Danelle, Linda, Frances, Alex, Sausan, Suad E.

Write Up:

The group arrived in Mexico City at various times throughout the day on February 15th.  We checked into the Majestic Hotel. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. A few members were in the lobby and heard music coming from the square across the street.  A small group went to explore.  The military set up camp with big tents across the street from our hotel. This Military Exhibition was to celebrate the centennial of their Mexican Army. Over two million people attended. The military was out in full force and streets were crowded.

The group then went for a sunset walk to view beautiful historic buildings. Garibaldi Plaza was our next stop. Mariachis filled the square.  Mariachi and traditional musicians played for tips throughout this small historic square. We had traditional Mexican food and beer at a small restaurant where we sat outside to view the Mariachi bands. A few of us purchased Cowgirl hats. After returning to the hotel some of us went to the roof top bar for a sample of tequila or two.

February 16th began with a delicious breakfast at Los Bisquets O Centro Historico. The Café con Leche was amazing along with all the traditional breakfast foods. Oscar then gave a knowledge filled walking tour of Mexico City. We walked past The Alameda Park, Place of Fine Arts, National Palace, City Hall, National Cathedral, Old University of Mexico, Department of Education, School of Medicine, Main Post Office, Colonial Churches and a few historic Cantinas. The group at lunch at Casa de los Azuleqos (House of Tiles.) This is an 18th Century Palace.  It was truly beautiful inside this palace with balconies, water fountains and expensive tile décor.

The group then broke up for some shopping, drinking and showers. Most of our group went for dinner at La Opera for a spectacular meal.  The architecture and history in the building was well worth our visit. The ceiling still has bullet holes left by Pancho Villa when he rode in on his horse. The service was far beyond our expectations.  Most of us had the red snapper with different sauces such as garlic lemon butter or Veracruz style with olives and tomatoes. I would return to Mexico City again if just for another meal at La Opera. We then went to another hotels rooftop bar for some Margaritas and dancing.

February 17th

After Breakfast, attendees went to the Templo Mayor Archeological site and National Gallery of Art. The Temple Mayor (Great Temple) was the main temple for the Aztecs. During its time the temple was a pyramid. The two temples at the top were dedicated to the god of war(Huitzilopochtli) and rain(Tlaloc). The Museum was very impressive. Artifacts, knifes, decorative masks, sculptures and much more filled this museum.  We explored the Main square and Cathedrals. Some did a little shopping.

Oscar picked us up in the van for a beautiful ride to Angangueo, Michoacan were we spent the night in Hotels. The Road to Angangueo Michoacan was filled with twists and turns. A few people became ill from motion or maybe something they ate.

After checking in to Hotels our group met for dinner. The hotel chef cooked a wonderful mole chicken.  Two of our lucky members had a suite with living room and fireplace. The group had a mixology class in the suite taught by Frances. We enjoyed the best Margaritas ever made with citrus liquor, good Mexican Tequila and fresh squeezed limes.

February 18th:

The Day has arrived for our much-anticipated visit to El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary.  The Sanctuary is located in the mountains west of Mexico City with an elevation of 8,400 ft. above sea level and listed as a World Heritage Site. The reserve is located in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forests Eco region. The estimation is that about 60 million to 1 billion butterflies migrate to this region each year.

We began our journey with a vigorous hike up the mountain. The trail had stairs and switchbacks. The temperature was chilly in the morning. We saw a few butterflies half way up the mountain. The Temperature increased as the warm sunlight lighted up the mountain. The butterflies came out in full force.  The Monarchs filled the crystal blue sky. Many photos were taken. The butterflies were abundant on the walk down. It became clear that we would be late getting down the mountain. A few of us could not stop the photography.  Coming down the mountain was truly magical and turned into a spiritual retreat from the crazy world we live in. It was difficult to leave the mountain and some of us would have spent the whole day there.  There was a lady cooking Quesadillas at the base of the mountain. We enjoyed fresh made and very inexpensive Quesadillas with various fillings.  Food was much needed after the hike.

Oscar drove a different route down the mountain back to Mexico City.  We were all exhausted from a full day of adventure.  A group of us went to dinner for one more meal in Mexico but were off to bed early to get rested for our return to Atlanta in the morning. Photos will be posted shortly. Some members have posted photos and videos on the AOC Facebook page. Check out Josh’s video taken and edited in a few minutes with his Iphone. It is very impressive. Fun was had by all who attended.