cabo pulmo at sunset

Diving Cabo Pulmo

I’ve contemplated how to write this article on Cabo Pulmo for a while now.  Normally, I write a “things to do” post upon visiting a small town, but with Cabo Pulmo being a solar village of only 100 people, there is not a whole lot to do, which is the beauty of it. 

Adding Hurricane Norma into the mix of limited local food supplies, dirt streets, and solar power without air conditioning, our glamping vacation in the Villa del Mar turned into quite an adventure!  All things considered, we had a remarkably good time.  But first here are things to know about Cabo Pulmo.


How to Visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico

How to Visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico

For those who don’t know, 25 to 50 million monarch butterflies migrate from the USA and Canada to the monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Mexico every year.  This is a far cry from the billions that made the journey until a rare freeze in Mexico obliterated 80% of the population creating piles 13 inches high of dead monarchs on the ground.  Regardless, it is still an amazing phenomenon that could go extinct…not the butterflies, but the migration. So go check it out before it is too late!

The monarchs arrive in the high-altitude Mexico mountains around November 1st and migrate back to the USA and Canada in mid-March.  They concentrate in 12 known areas over three hectares in the biosphere reserve.  Four of these areas are sanctuaries that are open to the public.

clustered monarch butterflies

The Monarch Butterfly Migration

I’m not sure how I originally heard of the Monarch butterfly migration.  All I knew was that a bunch of monarchs cluster on trees in Mexico during the winter, and I thought it would be cool to photograph.  Well, I got so much more than I bargained for and learned a ton.  What a special experience!

Before I delve into the details, I have two major tips for seeing the monarch butterfly migration in Mexico. 

  1. Unless you are fluent in Spanish, read the book Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman, as the guides don’t speak English.  While she pushes her agenda on occasion, she provides a wealth of knowledge about the monarchs I wish I had known prior to visiting.  I ended up listening to the entire book on my extended travels home from Mexico.  It made what we watched that much more fascinating.  I have a renewed appreciation of the monarch butterfly.
  2. If you only have time to visit one Sanctuary, make sure it is El Rosario and go on a weekday.  DO NOT go to any sanctuary on a weekend.  They get way too crowded.

Top Things to Do in Tulum

For a quick tropical vacation and escape from the cold, my friend Tina and I visited Tulum, Mexico.  In this crazy COVID world, it is remarkably easy to get to Mexico.  No COVID test is required.  It is actually harder to return to your own country!  Though the Mexico resorts coordinate onsite COVID testing to facilitate an easy return as well.

Generally, when I go to Mexico, I fly directly into Cozumel to go diving, but with my non-diver friend we decided on the mainland as there are many things to do in Tulum.  In fact, those that aren’t beach dwellers can still find lots of activities in Tulum which range from visiting nature preserves, exploring the ruins, swimming in cenotes and more.

chichen itza

Tulum Ruins and Chichen Itza

While visiting Tulum, located in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, we stopped in at the Tulum Ruins.  The ancient Mayan city may be explored with a tour guide or on your own by reading the many posted signs or trying to work the app.  Since we planned on having a tour guide at Chichen Itza, we walked the Tulum Ruins on our own.  We likely missed out on some interesting facts that tour guides provide, but we managed with the signs.


Fishing in Tulum

My friend Tina and I slipped down to Tulum, Mexico for a few days to escape the cold.  During our trip, we visited some cenotes, explored the Tulum and Chichen Itza ruins, relaxed at the hotel beach, and went fishing.  Given we are not avid fishermen, we weren’t sure how much we’d like it, but it’s always fun to be on boat. Fishing in Tulum did not disappoint!


SCUBA Diving in Cozumel

How to Dive Cozumel

Stay at the Fiesta Americana

Well the food, diving, and company never disappoint in Cozumel. And this time neither did the accommodations. The Fiesta Americana has been closed for the last year and a half for renovation and recently re-opened. The beach area was improved with a choice of restaurants…burgers at one spot and seafood at another. The pool and bar area featured hanging seats. Ping pong and pool tables offered some short-term fun at the small coffee bar. The rooms are airy and decorated in modern decor with nice bathrooms. We were all pleasantly surprised.

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sunset in cozumel

A Fun Weekend of Diving and Dining in Cozumel, Mexico

Dining in Cozumel

One would probably not expect to hear we enjoyed a good weekend of fine dining in Cozumel, but we did.  We have found a hidden gem, Sorrisi.  A part of me wants to be selfish and keep it hidden and to ourselves.  The other part of me thinks maybe I should share it with a few people because I want it to be open the next time I go, and we hardly ever share the restaurant with more than one other table when we go there.  It is some of the best Italian food around.  I’d eat there if it were in Denver or Dallas!

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