Spending a day outdoors searching for colorfully-patterned wings that delicately flutter through the air is a delightful way to get back in touch with nature. And with around 20,000 species of butterfly around the world, there is plenty to keep you occupied. Here are the five top destinations to spot this diverse and elegant creature for yourself.
National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, USA
Red-sided swallowtail are one of the species you can see
At the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, more than 200 species of butterflies can be found in the 100-acre grounds. A project started by the North American Butterfly Association, the center’s goal is to educate the public on the importance of biodiversity and the role of butterflies in maintaining healthy ecosystems and sustainable food resources.
The center is located in the southernmost tip of Texas, an area that is home to nearly 40% of the United State’s 700+ butterfly species. 150 of these can only be seen by strolling the numerous trails, gardens and pavilion located in this small area of Texas, such as the red-sided swallowtail.
SureStay Hotel by Best Western Mission is just a 10-minute drive from the center and offers free on-site parking.
Iguazu National Park on the border of Brazil and Argentina
The selection of butterflies can be found at the Iguazu falls
Straddling the border of Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu National Park is a popular spot for butterfly watchers. The park’s consistently warm temperatures and high humidity create a greenhouse-like environment all year round, which is the perfect ecosystem for butterflies like the striking Blue Ulysses.
For the largest selection of species, head to the Iguazu falls. A series of waterfalls that divide the Iguazu River into upper and lower sections, they combine to create the largest waterfall system in the world. Walking along the boardwalk past thundering water and mist, you’re guaranteed to see an abundance of butterflies.
Stay at Melia Iguazu, located inside the national park itself.
Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach, California, USA
Head to the grove during migration season to see thousands of Monarchs
During their annual migration, thousands of butterflies make their way through the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach, California. The grove has become a winter home for one of the USA’s largest Monarch colonies, with an average of 25,000 butterflies passing through between October and February.
During these months, the grove is open daily with volunteers on site to monitor the butterflies and provide information to visitors.
If you stay at the Quality Inn Pismo Beach, just half a mile from the Monarch Butterfly Grove, you may see some butterflies mid-migration from the hotel.
Kathmandu Valley in Nepal
Keep your eyes out for oakblues, which live in the Kathmandu Valley region
Nepal is home to 651 unique specifies of butterflies, including the beautiful great orange tips and oakblues, making it a must-visit destination for butterfly enthusiasts.
Different species of butterflies can be seen at different elevations across the country but a great selection can be spotted in Kathmandu Valley. With mild winter temperatures, butterflies are able to be seen year-round in this region, but is most populated with these elegant creatures from late March to September.
Centrally located in Kathmandu, Baber Mahal Vilas makes it easy to get to all of the area’s popular butterfly watching spots.
Pihla-Kaibaldi Nature Reserve in Hiiumaa, Estonia
The small tortoiseshell can be seen as early as March
During the spring and summer months, 1900 species of large and small butterflies can be spotted in Estonia. The first species to emerge from dormancy include the small tortoiseshell and camberwell beauty, which become visible as early as March. But the majority, such as the swallowtail and lesser purple emperor are more likely to see between June and August.
One of most favorable butterfly spotting locations is the Pihla-Kaibaldi Nature Reserve on the island of Hiiumaa, northwest of the mainland. Kalurikodu Holiday Home is less than 10km from the nature reserve and offers a terrace and garden where you can spot butterflies.