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Nanacamilpa Firefly Forest

The enchanted forest, not far from Mexico City, is taken over by fireflies


Last updated: by Olha Savych
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The forests of Piedra Canteada in Central Mexico has suffered from excessive logging in the past. However, since its amazing firefly phenomenon started to draw people into the area, the benefit of preserving nature has become clear to everyone. Every summer, from late June through early August, Nanacamilpa Firefly Sanctuary attracts hundreds of visitors flocking to see its fairy-tale-like landscape. Thousands of fireflies are illuminating the night forest during their quest to find a mating partner.

Macrolampis palaciosi is a firefly species that is endemic to thick pine (oyamel) forests in the Tlaxcala state, located in 55 mi (89 km) from Mexico City. The forest covers foot areas of the Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes. High elevation, high humidity levels, and low light pollution make this environment perfect for lightning bugs to proliferate. The fireflies spend 20 months of their lives as larva, and only during several weeks, they emerge to shine and reproduce. They are emitting light only for about one hour after dusk, between 8 and 9:30 pm.

During the annual firefly mating season, Nanacamilpa village offers tours in the forest, there are also a few hotels that are available to spend the night. The forest covers around 500 ac (200 ha), so it's possible to get lost there without a guide.

Apart from Nanacamilpa, take your time to check out another great place at Santuario de Luciérnagas, El Llanito, in Tlalpujahua, Michoacán. It's located at around 125 mi (200 km) north-west of Mexico City.

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