Road Tour Vacations
Chasing butterflies in colonial Mexico
- Available as: Self & Guided Tour
- Total distance traveled: 750 km or 460 miles (average driving time 1 to 3 hours a day)
- Duration: 7 Days (6 Nights)
- Number of cities visited: 5 cities & 2 towns in 3 different states
- Price per person (in USD): $1,895
- Tour departure dates: Tour available from November 2013 to early March 2014.
Day 1- Mexico City – Santiago de Queretaro (2 ½ hour drive)
(Depending on your arrival time) Arrival in Mexico City and transfer to Santiago de Queretaro where you will meet our friendly staff and the rest of the group. Once you’ve relaxed, we will go over a little paperwork with you before introducing you to your ride: a funky classic Beetle convertible. You will then be given some free time to lounge around the pool of the hotel you will be staying in (housed in XVI century colonial mansion) or relax at one of the many lively cafes located on the main square in front of the hotel. You will be given the option of either following our guide on a walking tour of the city center or of touring on your own using one of our walking tout maps. You will then be free to dine in town with other group members or on your own (we will give you list of the best eateries and restaurants the town has to offer).
Day 2 – Santiago de Queretaro – San Miguel de Allende (1 hour drive)
7:30 AM to 9:00 AM: continental breakfast in the hotel’s beautiful courtyard followed by a group meeting at 9:30 AM to discuss the road trip and the day’s itinerary. Once the meeting is over, you will be given time to continue your visit of Queretaro, go shopping or just chill out. At 2:00 PM the group will meet in front of the hotel where you will be greeted by your own special Beetle. 2:30 PM, the adventure begins: departure for San Miguel de Allende. You may join the group as it makes its way to the next scheduled stop or hit the road on your own. 3:30 - 4:00 PM: arrival in San Miguel de Allende for those who will have driven with the group. Meeting at the posada (a charming colonial hotel where you will be staying) followed by a guided walking tour of San Miguel’s narrow, winding streets. Visit San Miguel’s highly unusual church that brings to mind Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and the colorful town square. Enjoy a night on the town and head out for dinner and drinks in one of San Miguel’s cool restaurants or bars.
Day 3 – San Miguel de Allende – Guanajuato (1 ¾ hour drive)
7:30 AM to 9:00 AM: Continental breakfast at the hotel followed by the group’s daily briefing. A guided tour will follow. Those who prefer to be on their own can stroll San Miguel’s streets or visit its numerous art galleries and shops. After lunch, we will meet at 2:00 PM in front of the hotel to begin the drive to Guanajuato. As usual, you may leave with the group or travel on your own. The mountainous (but not dangerous) road leading to Guanajuato will give you plenty of opportunities to stop along the way to enjoy the landscape or practice your photography skills. Arrival at our hotel in Guanajuato around 4:30 PM (we will be stopping along the way). Late afternoon guided tour of the town center where you will visit its churches, university and the remarkable Theatro Juarez. Dinner and drinks at one of Guanajuato’s numerous animated restaurants and live music for those who want to enjoy the nightlife.
Day 4 – Guanajuato – Patzcuaro (3 ½ hour drive)
7:30 AM to 9:00 AM: Breakfast at your hotel (or in town) followed by the daily briefing. Time off to wander on your own or with the group’s guide for a visit to the famous “mummies museum”. Departure at 1:30 PM for Patzcuaro. This time the drive will be a little longer but will include an amazing stretch of highway that takes you across a lake as if you were driving on water – and if you’re lucky you’ll get to see the regal pink swans. Once we’ve passed the city of Morelia, you will notice a slight temperature change as we make our way through pine forests before reaching the little mountain town of Patzcuaro perched on the edge of a lake. We will stay in a lodge in the town’s center, an ideal spot from which to explore this cheerful little village and its many busy markets and food stands. Patzcuaro is also a great place to buy local art and craftwork (rugs, blankets, jewelry). Our guide will show you around town if you want and we’ll take a short late-afternoon drive to see the nearby Tarascan ruins of Tzintzuntzan. In the evening you’ll dine in town.
Day 5 – Patzcuaro – Morelia (less than 1 hour drive)
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Breakfast in a little café on one of the town’s main squares where you will enjoy watching the locals as they go about their business. Morning meeting to discuss the day’s itinerary. You will then be given time to take a boat ride on the lake, further explore the town or go do a little shopping. Departure for Morelia at 2:00 PM. Arrival around 3:00 PM at our hotel in Morelia which is located in an old carriage house right in the city center. Guided tour where you will discover Morelia’s classic splendor, its majestic cathedral, many churches and XVI century stone archways. Drinks and dinner at the animated city square for those who want to sit back and watch the world go by.
Day 6 – Morelia – Angangueo (2 ½ hour drive)
8:00 AM to 10:00 AM: Breakfast in the delightful garden–courtyard of the hotel. Short daily road trip briefing before you are given some time to explore some more of Morelia on your own or with our guide. At 1:30 PM we will meet back at the hotel before leaving for Angangueo. Arrival at the hotel in Angangueo around 4:30-5:00 PM where we will drop off our bags and settle into our new surroundings, a charming former mining town nestled in the mountains. Dinner and evening in town.
Day 7 – Angangueo – Queretaro (2 ½ hour drive)
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM: Breakfast at our hotel or in town. 9:00 AM short daily briefing before we head off to the Sierra Chincua butterfly sanctuary located a brief drive from town. There we will meet up with a local guide and butterfly expert who will take us on a short hike to discover one of Mexico’s largest Monarch sanctuaries and get a closer look at the thousands of butterflies that populate the mountain pine trees: a truly spectacular site. Once the visit is over we’ll return to Angangueo for lunch. Because all good things come to an end, at 2:00 PM we will begin our journey back to Queretaro. Arrival in Queretaro towards 5:00 PM. From there you will have the option of spending an extra night in Queretaro, heading directly to your next destination, or keeping your vehicle for a few extra days to continue your adventure.
Each stopover on your tour will include lodgings in an authentic, charming and historic colonial-style hotel located in the very heart of the city.
Although we chose the hotels for the peace and quiet they offer, all you have to do is step out the main door to enjoy the colors, sights and sounds of Mexican provincial life and set out on your tour of the city or town.
Most of these hotels, which date from the 16th century, are built around shaded inner patios, where you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast, and some even have a swimming pool so you can take refreshing dip. Although our hotels may be historic, they are all up to the highest standards: rooms are comfortable, sophisticated and spacious and come with all the latest amenities, including fully-equipped en-suite bathrooms, Wi–Fi and cable TV. Please note that our Monarch Butterfly Tour includes two stops in remote mountain villages where some services may be unavailable.
A trip that combines both natural wonders and culture
A tour designed for nature lovers and city creatures
An insider’s view of one of nature’s most amazing and mysterious migration cycles
Discover some of Mexico’s most beautiful colonial cities and towns (including many world heritage sites)
A road trip that will have you travel through a wide variety of landscapes, from rocky deserts and pine forests to wide open plains and mountains
Freedom and flexibility to travel along with the group or on your own between each stopover and plenty of time to explore
Reasonable driving distances & and first-rate road networks
- A great way to discover the charms, beauty and vitality of central Mexico
Passport & Visa:
European Union, Canadian and U.S. citizens are not required to apply for a visa prior to their departure as one will be delivered to them at no cost at the immigration desk upon their arrival in Mexico (such visas are usually valid for 90 days). Other nationals are advised to contact the Mexican embassy or consulate closest to where they live to find more about visa requirements. Please note that Mexican authorities require that your passport be valid at least 60 days from the time you enter the country.
Travelers are required to hold a valid driver's license. If your license is not written in roman characters (I’m wondering if there is an easier way to say this) please apply for an International driver's license.
All travelers are required to subscribe to a Traveler's Insurance (see our Terms & Conditions) before beginning their journey. This type of insurance is generally very inexpensive and will cover you should you require any medical assistance while in Mexico.
What to pack:
Although this particular area of Mexico is reputed for its dry clement weather, it’s a good idea to check out the local weather conditions before packing. Make sure you include a wind breaker and light sweater as temperatures may vary somewhat as you rise up into the mountains. Also be sure to take along a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
For more information on packing tips please refer to Packing Tips and FAQs sections. If you have any questions please contact our team.
$1,895 per person*
* Based on two people per car and hotel room.
For the exact cost of upgrades such as accommodation in single occupancy rooms or
if you wish to travel alone in your Beetle please contact our team.
What your trip includes:
Your Beetle convertible (two people per car)
Accommodations (double occupancy) in charming hotels, haciendas or lodges in the cities and towns to which you will be going
1 meal per day (usually breakfasts)
Gas (when following the standard itinerary only)
Third party automobile insurance & passenger medical costs in the event of an accident
A group guide
24/7 roadside assistance comprised of a mechanic and support vehicle (when following the standard itinerary only)
- Access to a cellular phone for short local calls only and radio during the duration of your trip.