Birds & Butterflies - ColdSnap Photography

Birds & Butterflies

Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, to the mountains around Angangueo, to the west coast of Mexico near Puerto Vallarta and San Blas.

Availability: 7 in stock

Availability: 7 in stock

February 9-16, 2025

Red Warbler



Availability: 7 in stock

Availability: 7 in stock

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Imagine traveling deep into the heart of the Mexican countryside, driving up a mountain road. At the end of the road— when you can’t possibly drive any further– you arrive at a pasture where there are a handful of local guides. After a short negotiation they agree to saddle a horse for you and take you up the rocky steep paths 2000 feet higher in elevation to the monarch butterflies. Two hours later you are at 10,000 feet in elevation and are witness to the hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies swarming in the trees. One of the local guides gestures and encourages you to cup your hands to your ears and listen. You do as you are told, and you hear the most amazing sound; tens of thousands of butterfly wings beating the air.

This is just one of many nature experiences that is in store for you on this tour de force of Mexican natural wonders. From the Mountains of Central Mexico we will fly to the tropical coastline and explore the backwaters to see the strange Boat-billed Heron, Wood Storks by the hundreds, the nocturnal Northern PooToo, the exotic Bare-necked Tiger Heron, and scores of other bird species.

The Mountains

This tour begins in Morelia where we will pick you up from the airport and take you to your Hotel, but you’ll not want to dally there long because Morelia is one of the most beautiful towns in Mexico,  it bustles with art galleries, shops, cafés and first rate restaurants. In the evening you’ll want to make sure you have a front row seat for the fireworks display over the historic baroque cathedral. After a pleasant evening taking in the sights and a good night’s sleep we begin early with a short 2-hour drive to the Mountain village of Angangueo. Looking more like a Swiss Mountain town this quaint village is situated in the center of the Monarch Butterfly Preserve. After we check into our hotel, we waste no time getting to one of the preserves where we will take a short horseback ride to the butterflies. Along the way, we hope to spot the endemic Red Warbler or one of the many other bird species found in the highlands.

Our third day begins with an outing for bird exploration. After the birding wanes and a mid-day lunch we take a second tour of the butterflies at a new location. Mid-day is best for the butterflies because it is when they are most active. The heart of these two days is the unforgettable experience of seeing millions of Monarch Butterflies at their wintering lair. Our day will end on the elegant grounds of the Hotel Jardin Rancho San Cayetano in Zitácuaro.

The Coastline & Estuaries

Our fourth day we travel to Toluca for our short flight to Puerto Vallarta and the west coast of Mexico. We will arrive in time for an evening stroll along the banks of the Amenca River Coastal Preserve. Here we will see and photograph hundreds of shore birds against the setting sun.

The fifth day begins with a drive along the coast and stops at the picturesque village of La Peñita de Jaltemba for a shoreline lunch and some local birding. Arriving in San Blas by midafternoon. After a brief rest and early dinner,( we want to be on the river by 4:30, we will head out for the first of several guided birding tours in what can only be described as Mexico’s (and possibly North America’s) best birding preserve. Our goal on the evening tour to the La Tovara estuary is the nocturnal Northern PooToo. Along the way we will see an astounding array of birds.

Day six begins with an early morning boat tour on the San Cristóbal River. We will make our way upstream as far as the headwaters which is the Laguna de Zoquipan. This incredible lake is home to hundreds of Wood Storks as well as thousands of other birds. Our afternoon and evening bird tours will be at the land-based tours with a local bird guide.

Day seven begins with a morning bird tour at the Singayta Road.

Then a 2.5 hour drive back to Puerto Vallarta for your last night and celebration dinner.

Day eight trip to the airport for your flight home.


Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, to the mountains around Angangueo, to the west coast of Mexico near Puerto Vallarta and San Blas.


We will be staying in first-rate hotels during the entire trip. We have carefully selected the accommodations for your comfort and safety. The cost is for double occupancy. The single occupancy option is $750.


All ground transportation is provided during the workshop. There is a short flight from Toluca to Puerto Vallarta, the cost for this flight is approximately $75 USD.


This workshop is scheduled at the ideal time for the region. In the mountains, the evenings are cool with lows in the mid 40’s to 50’s during the day the highs can reach 80 degrees. Along the coast, the lows are in the 60’s and the highs in the upper 80’s.

Physical Ability:

This workshop includes a moderate amount of walking. The Monarch preserves are by horseback ride or hiking.  You should expect a moderate level of physical exertion. The boat ride is on board a large and stable but open boat.

Photographic Subject and Instruction:

During this workshop, we will provide guidance and instruction on the following styles of photographic subjects, landscape photography, and bird photography. As a result, you will have the opportunity to practice and improve these skills. Bird photography will be a significant part of this trip. We will be traveling to some of the best birding locations in Mexico. If you are a novice but an aspiring bird photographer, we will work with you to maximize your birding experience. Instruction will be primarily one one-on-one, with some group field demonstrations. While there is no classroom instruction during this workshop, we welcome the opportunity to review your work individually. We want to help you grow as a photographer.

About Your Photography Tour Guides:

John Gregor and Tomy O’Brien are award-winning photographers. Each of them has over 40 years of photographic experience. Gregor has 30 years of experience running workshops and tours, and O’Brien is fluent in conversational Spanish. Both Gregor and O’Brien are experienced travelers and travel photographers. Together they have traveled throughout Mexico, having driven over 32,000 kilometers and visited 26 of the 32 Mexican States. Their photography is published in magazines and online worldwide.

Workshop Cost:

$3295.00 USD,

The cost includes tuition, instruction, accommodations based upon double occupancy, and ground transportation to events and locations that are part of the itinerary. The cost does not include airfare, food, tips, personal purchases, or spontaneous event fees not planned as part of the itinerary.

Single Occupancy Option, $750.00 USD

A non-refundable deposit of $500 will hold your reservation until 90 days prior to the workshop dates when the balance is due.

***Please note that the deposit is $500. Call to register (218) 830-0767***



Availability: 7 in stock

Availability: 7 in stock

See payment details