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with the Paganels

14 days

27 people






14 days

4.03.2024 - 17.03.2024 


We will hug and scratch gray whales, see a unique phenomenon - the migration of Monarch butterflies, visit the cave of swallows and the surreal garden of Las Posas, bathe in the thermal caves of Tolantongo!


This trip has everything unique and amazing that you can see in Mexico and it is NOT the pyramids!


In addition, we really will be able to immerse ourselves in the colorful world of Mexicans. We will taste the "pearls" of traditional cuisine, follow the preparation of the most authentic tequila and dance to mariachi music in unique Guanajuato.

We will walk through the amazing colonial towns of central Mexico, enjoy unique sunrises and sunsets, in the company of amazing people. We can visit sea lions and whale sharks! It will be one of the most intense and incredible journeys of your life!

Here are some interesting facts about where our expedition will take place and what we will see!


The monarch butterfly or from the scientific Danaid monarch (lat. Danaus plexippus) is a species of butterfly from the nymphalid family (Nymphalidae). Every autumn, millions of these butterflies migrate from Canada to the south to California and Mexico for the winter and return north to Canada in the summer. It is the ONLY butterfly on our planet that regularly migrates from north to south, as birds do. However, the most amazing thing is that no butterfly makes a complete journey. This is because the life of a butterfly is short, and during the migration period, there are 3 to 4 generations of butterflies. It is not yet known how butterflies learn about the way to wintering of their ancestors.


Every spring, whales arrive on the Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula after thousands of kilometers of migration from the cold waters of the Bering Sea and Alaska. A huge number of people come to see them from a boat from January to March.


The gray whale is extremely curious and sociable, which played a bad joke on them and they were almost completely exterminated by whalers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Gray whales liked to congregate in large groups in shallow lagoons during the breeding season, often swimming up to humans, who fired harpoon guns in return, killing and destroying adults and juveniles. By the middle of the 20th century, the population of gray whales became so small that they were included in the Red Book.


Now you understand that we REALLY need to go there!



Expedition leader, historian, art critic



  1.  accommodation in 3-5* hotels and cozy haciendas along the entire travel route;

  2. a private air-conditioned bus for the group on all stages of the trip in Mexico;

  3.  Guadalajara - Te Paz flight;

  4. rental of boats and boats according to the program;

  5. entrance tickets to the territory of parks, museums, nature reserves and archaeological zones;

  6.  services of English-Spanish-Ukrainian-Russian guides of the Paganel Studio team.​


  1. flight to Mexico and back;

  2. visa;

  3. meals not specified in the program;

  4. supplement for single accommodation - €650;

  5. tips to local guides and drivers;

  6. personal insurance;

  7. optional activities not included in the program.


Due to the fact that our expeditions do not include international flights to the starting point of the program, we cannot be held responsible for changes in flight conditions by airlines or airport requirements. Since our travelers fly from many different countries and cities, we never participate in the purchase of air travel and limit ourselves exclusively to advisory services in the selection of flights. Air agents or airlines from which tickets were purchased are responsible for the purchase and technical support.


Day 1

Arrival at Mexico City International Airport. Meeting with our guides, who you will always know by the yellow Paganel Studio flag. Buying seeds. Exchange of money. Transfer to the hotel. Supper. Rest after a transatlantic flight.


Day 2

We will start the first day by waking up early in the morning and going to watch one of the unique seasonal phenomena - the migration of Monarch butterflies.


Early getting up. Breakfast at the hotel. Morning coffee. We leave things at the hotel. We take trekking shoes, hats, cameras, water, and a good mood with us.

We load into the bus and drive for about 2 hours into the mountains. Just before our arrival, the sun begins to warm and the butterflies begin to fly actively. To see the place where the colony nests, we go trekking one way for an hour.


Before migrating, monarch butterflies gather in huge colonies on conifers, and cling to them so that the trees turn orange and the branches sag under their weight. Monarch migration usually begins in October each year, but may begin earlier if the weather turns cold. They cover a distance of 1,200 to 2,800 km, from Canada to the central Mexican forests, where the climate is warm. It is strange that the butterflies use the same trees for wintering every year, because they are not the same generation of butterflies that was there last year. How the butterflies were able to return to the same wintering places having a gap of several generations remains a mystery to scientists.


It is assumed that flight patterns are inherited. Some studies show that butterflies use the sun's position in the sky and the Earth's magnetic field to navigate.


After walking around and taking the first hundred gorgeous photos that will be the envy of all your acquaintances and friends, we return to Mexico City.

Evening walk and getting to know the city.


It is impossible not to fall in love with Mexico City if you start getting to know it properly. The best way to get acquainted, in our opinion, is...  yes, good and tasty food!


We gather for dinner in a cozy restaurant, where we hold a traditional "the Paganels meeting party". Our guides give you expedition named T-shirts and badges.


Day 3

We try to get out of Mexico City as early as possible in the morning before the first traffic jams. We are going to the market of the city of Ishmikilpan. In a tavern where barbacoa has been prepared since 1942. So 81 years old (!).


The real "barbacoa de Hidalgo" is a dish made from lamb, whose meat languishes for 12 hours in a pit in a maguey cactus leaf, incredibly tender and tasty - it will restore our strength. Moreover, for vegetarians, the program is to taste exotic fruits from the market of the city of Ishmikilpan.


Ishmikilpan is famous among history buffs for its parish church of Michael the Archangel, which contains a large series of unique frescoes by 16th-century Otomi artists depicting Eagle and Jaguar warriors in battle, as well as other pre-Hispanic images.


After Ishmikilpan, we head to Grutas de Tolantongo, a canyon with natural hot springs. There are special swimming pools, baths, there is even a cave-sauna - what else do you need for complete relaxation after a busy day of sightseeing?


Day 4

We bathe in a hot water cave.

We spend the night here in a hotel on the territory of Grutas de Tolantongo.


In the morning, we will continue pampering ourselves in warm baths-pools, those who wish can climb along the cascade of the river with the same warm water or take a walk through the fantastic forest on its banks: trees covered with vines, stones covered with moss, and between them streams from which steam is coming - a fabulous picture.


The next day, we will continue walking along the fabulous paths.

Day 5

Today we will go to explore the Huastec Potosina - that's what these lands are called.

The landscape of the state of San Luis Potosí is the least similar to what, in general, you expect to see in Mexico. Waterfalls and lakes, impenetrable jungles, mango and lychee orchards, sugarcane plantations - you can think that you are somewhere in Southeast Asia.
In the morning we will go swimming in the Tamul waterfall.

These landscapes are reminiscent of Norwegian fjords, only with water of an incredible blue color.

Also on this day, we plan to see sugar cane plantations, and after that - at sunset in Sotano De Las Golondrinas - the "Cave of Swallows" awaits us.
This cave, the second largest in Mexico, looks like a huge hole in the ground with a diameter of 60 m and a depth of 333 m. It is almost impossible to see anything from above, and to your logical question "Why did we actually come here?", the only answer will be "Wait" . And we need to wait for sunset, because it is at this time that hundreds, if not thousands, of birds nesting in this cave return "home". And they do it in a very original way, at the same time in huge flocks plunging almost vertically down to the bottom of the cave. An unforgettable sight!

After watching the last swallows (actually swifts and parrots, but the cave is called Swallows), we go to rest.

Day 9

Tell me, would you like to visit a painting by Salvador Dali? Just like that, not in a museum, not at an exhibition, but inside the canvas itself among the images born of the artist's imagination?


It is a strange question, but the place in which you and I found ourselves is no less strange. More precisely, surreal, in the literal sense of the word. Las Posas Garden - Jardín surrealista de Edward James - is the name of the place created by the English poet, collector and philanthropist Edward James under the influence of Leonora Carrington and Salvador Dalí.


Here, intricate arches connect steep spiral staircases leading to nowhere, stone flowers entwined with living flowers, decorate whimsical structures made of concrete.


Moreover, you can wander the paths for a long time, discovering more and more details of this invented and embodied world in such a strange way, which is what we will do... Until we get hungry. After that, we will return to Khilitla for lunch, rest a little and go further to explore these amazing places.



And our next stop is at sunset in Sotano De Las Golondrinas - Caves of the Swallows. This cave, the second largest in Mexico, looks like a huge hole in the ground with a diameter of 60 m and a depth of 333 m. It is almost impossible to see anything from above, and to your logical question "Why did we actually come here?", the only answer will be “Wait”. In addition, we need to wait for sunset, because it is at this time that hundreds, if not thousands, of birds nesting in this cave return "home". Moreover, they do it in a very original way, at the same time in huge flocks plunging almost vertically down to the bottom of the cave. An unforgettable sight!


After that, without wasting time, we will go further to explore the following amazing places. We leave in the direction of the San Miguel de Allende. The road through the biosphere reserve Sierra Gorda (Sierra Gorda) is mountainous and intricate, but the stunning scenery outside the window will not leave anyone indifferent.


For the night we stay in a cozy hotel with a swimming pool in the city of San Miguel de Allende. Long transfer 8-9 hours, depending on the congestion of the route.

Day 7

San Miguel de Allende, perhaps the most famous city in central Mexico.


A true artistic Mecca since Diego Rivera started teaching at the local art academy. A city declared "the best small town to travel in the world" by the authoritative publication Condé Nast Traveler. The city, the center of which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!


And even if the architect of the central cathedral of Michael the Archangel never saw Gothic temples in real life, and built it according to drawings on postcards, this does not deprive it of its charm and charm.


After, we go on to Guanajuato, one of the most romantic and beautiful colonial cities in Mexico. Here we are walking through the streets of a two-story city - and the second floor here is not above the first, but below it. We go up on the funicular above the city center, go down to the silver mine, listen to local mariachi music and sing Mexican folk songs during the Callejoneada tradicional.


In the afternoon, after reaching Guanajuato, we settle in a hotel in the colonial part of the city and go for a walk through the streets of an amazing human settlement.


In the evening, you can eat deliciously in one of the restaurants near the central square of the city, and you can sing there to you incredibly talented mariachis, of which there will be no less than a hundred, maybe more, spinning around you.


Night at the hotel.

Day 8

Today we have a big full day exploring beautiful Guanajuato.

The name Guanajuato translates as "a hilly place where frogs live." We do not promise you frogs, but there are really many hills here. Actually, the whole city is bu0ilt on the hills, which determined the peculiarities of the city architecture. The streets here are narrow and winding, often turning into stairs, the houses are often built in such a way that after entering the building on the first floor from one street, you can climb up 2 parts of stairs and exit on another street... also from the first floor.


Moreover, Guanajuato is a city of tunnels. Given the complex topography of the area, a whole system of tunnels (more than 40 pieces) consisting of its own streets-alleys, traffic lights and even bus stops was laid under the city to facilitate traffic. A real city in/more precisely under the city.


Guanajuato was once a very rich city. Huge deposits of silver were discovered here, and in the 18th century La Valenciana mine alone accounted for ⅓ of the world's production of this precious metal.


Guanajuato was once a very rich city. Huge deposits of silver were discovered here, and in the 18th century La Valenciana mine alone accounted for ⅓ of the world's production of this precious metal.

Such enormous wealth could not but affect the external image of the city. The churches and cathedrals built at that time are now considered to be among the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in Central and South America.


When we go out for dinner, we are greeted by the Callejoneada tradicional, a costume tour-show held by local residents in the evening.


In national costumes and with musical instruments, they walk through the central streets of the city, dance, sing Mexican folk songs and tell the history of these places to the tourists who accompany them.


Grateful tourists drink tequila/mescal from small jugs and sing along to the artists sincerely, even if they do not even know the words to the songs.


Night at the hotel.

Day 9

We check out of the hotel and head to the Guadalajara airport for a flight to La Paz, where our new bright part of the route will begin with gray whales, sea lions, whale sharks, snorkeling and huge cactus forests.


After arriving in La Paz, we very quickly get our suitcases, load the bus and move to the north of the peninsula. Today we are moving 340 kilometers to the city of Loreto, where we will spend the night in a cozy 5-star hotel.

Day 10

We are moving even further north towards the small town of Guerrero Negro. This is one of the main goals of our expedition. It is here that gray whales come en masse from January to March, and the best time for observing them is the end of February - beginning of March. The road goes along the Ocean along the eastern coast of the Baja California peninsula, and then we turn to the northwest.


The total mileage today will be 430 kilometers. On the way, we will stop in one of the small bays of the peninsula to dip our feet in the Ocean, and those who wish can swim.


In the evening, we arrive in Guerrero Negro. The town of Guerrero Negro itself is an unremarkable settlement located in the middle of a rocky desert on the shore of the Ocean. This place is known for two things: first, one of the world's largest salt factories is located here; the second is gray whales, for which knowledgeable people from all over the globe come here.


Guerrero Negro means "Black Warrior" in Spanish. This was the name of the ship built in 1825 in Massachusetts and sold to whalers in Hawaii. On November 28, 1858, he entered the narrow strait that separates the Pacific Ocean from the Ojo-de-Liebre lagoon, but ten days later, he was shipwrecked by a sudden storm. And the ship came here for a reason: a year earlier, the whaler Charles Melville Scammon tracked gray whales here. And the predatory exploitation of natural resources, characteristic of that time, began - whales were mercilessly exterminated. By the 1930s, they had disappeared altogether. In the 50s, gray whale hunting was banned all along the coast of North America from Alaska to Mexico. Only in the 1970s, whales gradually began to swim here again. Maybe the genetic memory worked. The people decided not to repeat the mistakes of the past, and in 1988 they created the reserve - Do not kill the whale.

Tourism here is alive only from January to the end of March, so everything is in its infancy. Hotels are simple. The restaurants, too, are not particularly fancy, which we have become accustomed to after traveling through central Mexico.


We check into the hotel. Supper. Sleeping.

Day 11

Today we finally have a meeting with the friendliest and most curious whales on the planet. We get up early in the morning. We brush our teeth. Let us go to breakfast. We drink our coffee. We take warm sweaters, jackets, windbreakers, sunglasses, hats, cameras, if someone gets seasick, we do not forget motion sickness pills.

At 8 o'clock in the morning, we leave the hotel directly on a special shuttle to the bay, where the boats rented for the year are already waiting for us. We receive a short instruction on how to deal with whales. We sit down and wrap ourselves. The boats are fast, it is morning outside, so it will be cold at speed. We swim for about 15-20 minutes. We can already see fountains of water gushing out of whales' breaths everywhere. Our boat captains are professionals and busy looking for whales that are ready to make contact.


There can be several thousand whales in this bay at this time of year. You start to notice interesting faces peeking out of the water. One of the characteristics of gray whales is that they like to stick their snouts out of the water, studying what is happening around them, establishing orientation in relation to the shore or other objects. Sometimes just out of curiosity.


Then the bravest and most inquisitive ones begin to approach the boat, and then you begin to get to know them better, sing them songs (which we will learn in advance).


During communication with whales, you will not notice how 3 hours will fly by. The main thing from the capture is not to overturn the boat. Thousands of incredible mimic photos and videos are provided for you. Today, Instagram and Facebook will tremble with delight when the Paganels will start uploading to social media network materials taken for the day.


Around noon, we return to the hotel. Let us have dinner. Then we have a tour of the world's largest salt factory. We will take a ride there, see the old lighthouse and maybe take a walk in the local dunes in the evening.


Day 12

Another day (spare) of sea adventures with gray whales. The weather can make adjustments, so we have 2 days set aside for whales. You will not see such amazing contact whales anywhere else, so we have gray whales again from morning until 12 noon! And it will be great again. Everyone will be able to chat with them to their heart's content. That is why we brought you here - to the other side of the planet.

Supper. Relax. Overnight in the same hotel.


I will tell you a little about gray whales. The gray whale lives about 40-45 years. There is information about specimens that died 50-70 years after birth. Among mammals, they are considered to be creatures that carry out the longest seasonal migrations. In a year, a whale swims 12-19 thousand kilometers; thus, in 40 years of life, a gray whale covers a distance equal to the length of the path from the Earth to the Moon and back.


Gray whales are typical coastal inhabitants, common to shallow water areas. They can dry themselves without harm during low tide, floating with the tide. This is the only species of whale that has mastered bottom feeding. Gray whales usually feed at a depth of 15-60 m, scooping up organisms from the bottom along with water, silt and pebbles (which thus enter the gray whales' stomachs) and filtering the contents through the baleen. While feeding, the whale leans to the right side (rarely to the left), sucking the bottom substrate; for this reason, the whalebone on the right side of the jaw is usually shorter and more worn than on the left, and the muzzle on the right is covered with sores and scars.


Observations also showed that whales often feed in groups of 4-6 individuals, and young whales only filter the soil raised by adults. The diet includes about 70 species of invertebrates: various types of crustaceans, mollusks, and bottom fish. If there is no other food, the gray whale eats brown algae.

The killer whale is considered the animal's only marine enemy. She attacks females to get defenseless cubs. Killer whales grab the tail fins, tongue and lips of a gray whale. Adults try to cover the babies with their bodies and float to shallow water where there is many algae. Killer whales do not enter such places. That is why here in Baja California in Mexico, gray whales have chosen several shallow-water big bays, where kitties and babies feel safe, where there are no killer whales and large sharks.


That is why a huge group of whales gathers here in February and March, which every real traveler must see. After all, this is a truly unique place where you can communicate with unusual sea giants side by side with mutual pleasure.

Returning from the meeting with the whales, we quickly turn in our numbers, load our things into the bus and head back before noon. We have lunch on the way. Today we have to drive 450 km.

On the way, we will stop to stretch our legs in the interesting village of San Ignacio, where there is an old church, a cozy central square; you can take a walk and drink a cup of coffee in a local cafe.


Check in Loreto Bay Hotel

Day 13

Check-out from Loreto Bay Hotel


Then we load into our bus and head south. We have a long and long run today. Almost 350 km of road will be waiting for us!


In the evening, tired but satisfied, we reach La Paz. Check-in at the hotel. Supper. Rest.

Day 14

This day is our last one in the program. You can optionally attend two quite interesting events. The first is snorkeling with whale sharks, which at this time of the year in the La Paz area are mining for plankton.


Sea lions are not afraid of people at all, playful cubs (tits) grab divers by the fins. Many have seen footage of a sea lion peering into a camera or a diver's mask - it is time to experience this scene in real life! If you have already skated and swam enough and you do not want to get into the water, you can sleep, rest, walk along the La Paz embankment, take a picture of the monument to Paganel, and have lunch in one of the seafood restaurants.


After lunch, we say goodbye to the guides and to each other.

Tears of farewell.

The Paganels' expedition to the amazing Mexico is over.

Transfer to La Paz airport. Flight home.



We are unique

For many years, we have been traveling the world to our small planet's most remote and unusual places.  We do not use the services of domestic travel agencies.  The trips we invent and carry out are always unique and have their unique zest, charm, and adventurous spirit.



The first thing that interests us is creativity in everything.  During the expeditions, we shoot a lot of videos, take pictures, write stories, draw pictures.  If you are interested in a creative approach to life and travel, then WELCOME... we are very happy to meet you!



By joining our team, you join a kind of club-family, which already consists of several hundred people who are interested in discovering the world with us.


Since most of the expenses for the organization of the trip are air tickets and travel documents for other types of transport, accommodation, excursions, services of local companies and guides, etc. are not refundable in case of your cancellation of the trip. We simply have no way to return it.

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