ANGANGUEO, THE MAGIC TOWN OF THE BUTTERFLIES

A little known treasure in the Mexican forest

The town of Mineral de Angangueo is located in the west end of the State of Michoacán. The origin of its name is Purépecha, and even though there is no consensus on its meaning, some etymologists say that it can be translated as “the entrance to the cave”, whole others affirm that the meaning of the word is “very tall thing”, or “within the forest”. In 1550, the Viceroy Don Antonio de Mendoza gave the territory to Gonzalo de Salazar to turn it into a mining center. However, the greatest treasure of Angangueo is not in the gold and silver that lays under the ground, but the extraordinary phenomenon that makes millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to the forests of Michoacán to spend the winter. 

If you want to live the experience of admiring the monarch butterflies, Angangueo is the best place to stay and spend a few days. In addition to its proximity to the sanctuaries of Chincua and el Rosario, two of the most important sites to watch the butterflies, Angangueo’s prosperous past as a mining town has left quite a few magnificent examples of colonial architecture. The Chapel of the Mercy with its viewpoint from where you can enjoy breath-taking panoramic views of the town and its roads, laid in the times of the Viceroyalty, the Temple of the Immaculate Conception, the parish of San Simón Celador, and the Main Square are some of the town’s most important buildings. If you can’t visit Angangueo between November and February, the season when the monarch butterflies arrive to spend the winter, you can also do it during the spring. The festivities of la Santa Cruz are celebrated on May 3. This day, the locals light thousands of candles to illuminate the streets of the town and make a sawdust tapestry of 2.5 kilometers long, whose colorfulness will awe you. To finish your trip with a flourish, don’t forget to visit the Jesús de Nazareno Hacienda, the oldest in the region. 

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