A walk through a forest of fireflies

A firefly sanctuary in central Mexico.
A firefly sanctuary in central Mexico.
A firefly sanctuary in central Mexico.

A summertime jaunt isn’t necessarily a trip to the beach. Right now we’re in the middle of a three-month window to explore the Sanctuary of the Fireflies at Tlaxcala, in Central Mexico

The time to go is between June 20 and Aug. 10, around the time when many of us in Yucatán get itchy feet.

Just like migrating butterflies, fireflies — also called lightning bugs — require some respect for their environment.

An environmental group called Naturaleza México has created a Friends of the Fireflies campaign to make that point as tourists descend on the forests at peak firefly sighting time — every evening between dusk and 9:30 p.m..

A "Friends of the Fireflies" campaign offers education to the public. Photo: Amigos de las Luciernagas Facebook page
A “Friends of the Fireflies” campaign offers education to the public. Photo: Amigos de las Luciernagas Facebook page

More than 80,000 tourists are expected to visit the biggest firefly sanctuaries in the three states, according to Sipse.

The view is something like a Christmas vignette — cool lights softly illuminating the woods. Especially in July, you can see how the female fireflies light up to attract the males flying above. That’s when the females lay the fertilized eggs on the bark of trees.

Where to stay

In the Firefly Sanctuary, there are three eco-hotels: The Piedra Canteada Eco-Hotel has eight cabins scattered among 600 hectares of forest. Traditional dishes are prepared with products from the region. Camping, mountain biking and hiking is also offered.

In the Santa Clara Forest Villas enjoy charming cabins or rustic camping areas. Visitors can build a campfire in the middle of a beautiful forest surrounded by pines and oyameles, a fir native to this part of the world. The cabins of the Laguna Azul Eco-hotel have spectacular views of a lagoon and are located next to the San Felipe-Hidalgo community.

So go, take pictures, and commune with nature. But no capturing them in glass jars like many of us did when we were kids.

With information from visitmexico.com

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