Pink flamingo is the great icon of the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve. The fishing village of Celestún, located in the Gulf of Mexico, is the main visitor base for the Reserve.

The Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve is one of the 4 cataloged in the Yucatan Peninsula. With those of Ría Lagartos, Calakmul and Sian Ka'an they complete the nature poker. The Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve and Ría Lagartos share prominence thanks to pink flamenco.

The coastal population of Celestún is part of the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve. Celestún is the main visitor base to the Reserve, where there are several cooperatives that offer boat rides along the estuary.

Over the years in Celestún, lodging and restaurant services have emerged, as well as alternative offers to discover the area.

Visit the best 9 visits near Mérida



There are two main points from where the boats leave that run along the Ría de Celestún, the natural habitat of flamingos. There are other alternative ways to visit the estuary such as kayaking. I've never done it and I feel like it.

  • FROM THE BRIDGE DOCK: some cooperatives are located in the entrance pier to the town of Celestún. The entrance is well signposted, just across the bridge: there you will find the collection booth and the information. There are services and shops.
  • FROM THE BEACH OF THE TOWN: also boats go out, just keep in mind that the distance excursion is longer. Bordering the coast to enter the estuary is beautiful too.
Explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, more than 1 flamingos


Nature and ornithology lovers will enjoy the Reserve: 304 species of birds have been counted among residents and migratory. The biggest attraction of the Celestún tours is pink flamenco. One of the most attractive, curious and elegant birds to observe.

For those who have not had the opportunity to see flamingos, Celestún is a great option.

Ría Celestún was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2000. It has an area of ​​81,482.33 hectares according to data from the CONANP. It occupies territory of the states of Yucatán and Campeche. Municipalities of Calkini, Celestun, Maxcanu, Hunucma, Halacho



The Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve hosts pink flamenco throughout the year, something very good for the tourist flow. However there are better and weaker times. We will see when is the best time to visit Celestún consulting an expert in the area.

Meche Pérez Mena, expert and owner of the hotel The House of Flamingos, he tells us when I ask him to go in February to see them «February is an excellent season since that is when the courtship begins and thousands gather. We have flamenco all year long, now in December the flocks are from 200 to 400, in a few more weeks they will be gathered by thousands and once they are together it will be like this until March April ».

If you want to go out to meet flamingos, I can't recommend you to anyone better. Alexander Dzib and Meche Perez are a pair of bird master guides. TEACHERS

The worst months to see flamenco in Celestún are from April to November. During these months it is a good option to visit the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.

Flamingo feeds on crustaceans and algae. Its pink color is due to the feeding


Observe FLORA Y FAUNA in Ría Celestún

The magnificent natural setting of the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve It's not just about flamingos, more surprises await you. The boat ride It runs between cormorants, herons, flamingos, buzzards, frigates, pelicans, hawks, ospreys and kingfishers.

You forget everything sailing the river and watching birds, pure enjoyment.

The Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve is an ideal place for bird watching. There are more than 300 species

These are the most representative species of flora and fauna according to the CONANP agency.

FLORA: Red Mangrove (Rhizophora Mangrove), Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans), Mangrove buttonConocarpus erectus), White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), Chicozapote (Manilkara zapota), Dye (Haematoxylon campechanum), Beach purslane (Sesuvium postulacastrum), (Batis maritima)

WILDLIFE: Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), Red heron (Egretta rufescens), American stork (Mycteria americana), Jabirú stork (Jabiru mycteria), Flemish (Phoenicopterus ruber), Ocelot, tigrillo (Leopardus pardalis), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Jaguarundi, young lion (Puma yagouaroundi), Swamp crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii), Shrimp (Farfantepenaeus sp.), Octopus (Octopus maya), Crab, crab (Callinectes sapidus), Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

Explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, more than 2 flamingos
Explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, more than 3 flamingos
Explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, more than 4 flamingos

The waters of the estuary are a mixture of the salty of the sea and the sweet that flow in the form of water eyes: springs of fresh water that look for their exit to the sea, the underground rivers of the Peninsula.

The color of the waters changes throughout the year, from the intense red due to the dye of the mangrove, to the turquoise green. The Biosphere Reserve of Ría Celestún It surprises you no matter what time of year you go.



The boats travel the mangrove channels that come out like veins along the sides of the estuary. One of the stops brings us to a waterhole, where you can bathe in the crystal clear waters. The spring water sometimes turns an earthy color, depending on the time of year, the rains remove the funds.

They offer several types of excursions, which vary according to the route with more or less stops. The longer trips take you to the petrified forest, a forest burned by salt, very dreamlike.

The standard of excursions offers 5 points to visit:

  • Flamingo Observation: the best hours to see flamenco by boat through the Celestún Reserve is at low tide. They take advantage of these low areas to feed, usually in the morning.
  • Island of birds: islet covered by pelicans and frigates, where you can observe the birds in their different life cycles depending on the time of year you go: nesting, reproduction, mating.
  • Water eye: fresh water spring that sprouts in one of the branches of the estuary, fantastic place. They usually stop between 15 and 20 minutes.
  • Mangrove tunnel: walk between the arteries of the mangrove, a unique landscape of nature.
  • Tourist hostel: departure and arrival of the flamingo tour. Here you can go to the bathrooms and buy water. There is a small museum site to visit.

Boat trips of an hour and a half to 1600 mxn by boat, with capacity up to 6 people

Explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, more than 5 flamingos
Island of birds
Petrified forest, not in the standard route
Explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, more than 6 flamingos
Cormorants in Ría Celestún
Mangrove Channel


  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: From Mérida, buses depart from Calle 71 between 64 and 66 (2 hours approx.). Bus from streets 67 x 50 and 52 of the Historic Center of Merida.
  • ON TOUR WITH AGENCY: Mérida agencies offer day trips through the Celestún Reserve, pick you up at your hotel and they are small groups.

You can book this excursion to Celestun from Merida


For travelers who love ornithology or for those who simply enjoy nature, Celestun is a safe bet on your trip. And if you are one of those who do not go in a hurry I recommend you to stay for the night, you have the possibility of discovering the area with bike rides, canoeing or going to see spider monkeys.

Try eating in one of the Beach restaurants with bare feet on the fine sand. Here fish, shrimp, crab, octopus and snail are the kings of the tables, accompanied with guacamole and refreshed with a beer. Orale Mexico??

What is the meaning of Celestún?

Celestún means painted stone. It is a fishing village of less than 5000 inhabitants.

What is the weather like in Celestún?

The average annual temperature is 26,5 º C. From April to October are the hot months, maximum average of 31°C. December to February are the coolest months, with the daily average maximum temperature lower than 28 ° C.

La rainy season runs from end of May to end of October, with a probability of more than 28% It rains. The dry season lasts from October to the end of May.



I usually encourage going out of the road by car, it seems like a great option.

I recommend you book your car online months before, especially if you travel at peak times such as Christmas, Easter or summer. They tend to increase prices as the date approaches, as it happens with airline tickets.

You don't need an 4 × 4 to tour the Peninsula, the roads are good and safe. If you have any questions write us and we try to solve.

Book from the Rentalcars search engine, compare prices between companies and you can see the opinions of other customers.



I have stayed several times in Celestun, a joy to enjoy the sunrise on the beach. If you have a chance it is a good option. Yes reservations through the blog, it is not more expensive for you, you benefit from the offers, and it is a way of support my work Upon receiving a small commission.

Sincere thanks for collaborating.

It is entertaining to live the places with calm curiosity. Celestún was one of the first places I met when I came to live on the PeninsulaI had never seen flamingos and it was one of the experiences I wanted to have.

After 12 years in the Peninsula I still look at Celestun with a big smile in my heart.

Explore the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, more than 7 flamingos

Celestún Biosphere Reserve

 LOCATION: Celestún is located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico at 90 kilometers from Mérida. An hour and a half by car on Carretra 281.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? Buses depart from Mérida from Calle 71 between 64 and 66 (2 hours approx.). Organized day trips depart from Mérida to the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve.
PRICE WALK IN BOAT: 1600 mxn per boat, with capacity up to 6 people. They do excursions of 1 hour or 1 hour and a half. You can share it with other travelers arriving at the pier.
TIPS: eat in one of the restaurants on the beach, the desserts are ordered by street vendors. The best hours for observing animals is at sunrise and sunset.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, closed shoes better and water always goes well. And do not forget the swimsuit.

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
I am at your disposal for whatever you need. Let's talk.

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