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Mexico’s Firefly Sanctuary in a Magic Forest

Mexico’s Firefly Sanctuary in a Magic Forest
Jennifer Billock

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One of the many draws of experiencing a natural phenomenon is it’s almost otherworldly and magical quality. Think: China’s Blue Tears or Chile’s Marble Caves—they’re incredible by its appellation and the first-hand experience. So, if you’re looking to have an experience of a lifetime, you need to visit Mexico’s Sanctuary of the Fireflies in the Magic Forest.


A Forest of Light

The Magic Forest, also known as Bosque Magico, is in the highest part of Nanacamilpa, Tlaxcala, Mexico. It’s a pine and oak forest, and every year, fireflies annually gather there to twinkle on and off, making it look like you’re surrounded by glitter. The cool thing—well, aside from a blanket of fireflies in the forest—is that because it’s breeding season for the bugs, they all light up and turn off in synchronization. It’s a phenomenon that’s rarely seen in the world.


How to See the Firefly Forest

The easiest way to get to Tlaxcala, the home base for the firefly adventures, is to fly into Mexico City. From there, you can rent a car (it’s about an hour and a half drive) or take a bus or a cab. If you’re already in Mexico, take a domestic flight to Puebla and then drive about 40 minutes to Tlaxcala. Once you’re in Tlaxcala, you can book a guided tour from the city itself, or drive to the forest and book a hotel or cabana.

It’s important to remember you can’t go see the fireflies alone—you always need a guide with you. You’ll need to book through a reputable tour operator or one of the properties in the forest. The trip itself starts from the edge of the forest. You walk about five minutes in (though some tours drive about five miles into the woods) and then essentially stand for a couple of hours waiting for the fireflies to light up. Bring a folding chair if you can, so you can be more comfortable while waiting.


Rubi Rodriguez Martinez/Shutterstock

It’s a Summertime Affair

You’ll want to go during peak times for fireflies, which is—you guessed it—in the summer. Plan your trip for June, July, or August, when the forest is open and the fireflies are abundant and happily all lit up together. The show will last for about an hour every night. It’s like Christmas in July! Saturdays tend to be the busiest, so pick your days wisely if you don’t want a crowd.

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