St. Peter's Church in the village of West Lydford, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Keinton Mandeville, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Pogradec, Albania on October 2nd.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

Slept fine. Definitely chilly at 9,600 feet though. Outside temperature when we woke up was -1C (30F) and inside was only a couple of degrees better! Had to run the furnace for a half an hour or so this morning.

First on the agenda was a hike up to the antenna tower. The views from here are fantastic, and the sky again is clear and blue. We figure it was about 5 kms (3 miles) to the tower and back to where Sherman was parked. And of course it was uphill one way. Not noticing much problem with breathing at this altitude, but we’ve been careful to take our time in getting to this level over the last week or so. Google earth says the tower was at 9,980 feet.

Then, we drove (most of the way downhill) to Ciudad Hidalgo (pop 55,000). We were low on groceries, and they have both a Soriana and a Bodega store right across from each other. Bodega is owned by Walmart, and Soriana is a large Mexican grocery store. Turned out to be easy access into town and both stores. The Soriana has an easy parking lot for RV’s.

Besides cheap groceries, ended up getting 24 cans of my favourite Guatemalan beer, “Gallo” for $9.70. In fact, I bought two cases. Have I mentioned how much we love Mexico!

We were now getting close to the Butterly Sanctuary at El Rosario. There are a couple of places mentioned for RV parking in our Mexico Camping book, and so we first checked out the Hotel Villa Monarcha Inn in San Felipe. Drove up to the gate and it was…closed! Ruth spoke to a fellow waiting for the bus, but couldn’t get any more info other than it was closed. By the way, the small town of San Felipe is a big producer of Pointsettias, so it’s very busy at this time of year. Row upon row of greenhouses and you can see the bright red flowers from the highway. We will try and visit a greenhouse on our way out of here.

So we continued (uphill all the way) to the town of Ocampo and onto the cobbled road that leads to the sanctuary.

Now, it says in the book that this road is steep, and only recommended for rigs under 30 feet. We’re around 28 feet, and Sherman has never had much problem climbing hills, so we went for it. Well I tell you, Sherman had to rely on all of his horses to get us up that 6 km (3.5 mile) hill. And virtually all of it was in first gear! I was actually a little nervous that we were going to burn out the tranny or something.

The next possible RV parking area (again, recommended for rigs under 30 feet) was at the Givali Hotel, only 3 kms from the sanctuary main parking lot. We stopped at the side of the road and went and spoke to the young people talking at the gate. One of the girls brought me to the reception where I spoke to the manager, Norma. She showed me the camping area and asked what services we required. I said none, and she said it would be 200 pesos ($17.00) per night. A bit expensive, but we had little choice as it was getting close to 5pm. Having said that, it’s a really nice little hotel and there aren’t any espinas in the grass!

Only problem was that the wires above the entrance gate were hanging low, and we had to get two people to hold the wires up with a broom and a ladder while we went down the fairly steep but short hill onto the grounds. Even then, Sherman’s rear end dragged for a bit. Should be interesting trying to get out of here in another day or two!

The things we put Sherman through. He did really well today, but I think we might have a broken shock. Gonna have to get under there for some inspection tomorrow.

Here’s today’s drive…

122 kms (75 miles)
Probably got 5 miles to the gallon.


  1. Wow, was that a crooked path! I'll be interested to hear about the butterflies. They pass through here every fall on their journey south. We've seen them stopped for the night in trees and shrubs by the hundreds... awesome!

    Beautiful mountain photography also!

  2. I'm looking forward to pictures of the butterflies.

  3. meowmomma...Yep, it sure was twisty, windy and very steep! Can't wait to see them.

    Karen and Al...We are really hoping that they are there! The prime time to see them is late January and the month of February. We will go on Monday to avoid any crowds.

    Kevin and Ruth

  4. We stayed at Hotel Villa Monarcha and took a taxi up to see the butterflies. Heard the road was a little rough. Hopefully you will have good luck and see loads of butterflies. We sure did!!! It is on our list of things to do AGAIN!!!
    Paula & Jerry

  5. I'm looking forward to some great butterfly photos. Wow! What a hill that was for Sherman! Glad you all made it up there.

  6. Paula and Jerry...We tried the Hotel Villa Monarcha first but they were closed so we are staying about 2 or 3km from the Butterfly Santuary now but decided to take the bus or get someone from the hotel to take us the rest of the way tomorrow. We walked it today and it is very steep and not is good shape. Getting here was bad enough. Sure hope there are butterflies there!

    Margie and Roger...Us too! We are hoping that we are not to early for them, they are better mid January and all of February.

    Kevin and Ruth


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