The Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is one of the best places to observe pink flamingos in the Yucatan Peninsula. Flamenco is the great tourist attraction but many surprises await you in the Reserve.

La Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve It is increasingly popular. His great claim is the Pink flamingo, but there is much more to enjoy in these landscapes of salt mines, mangroves and estuaries. The different coastal towns of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve offer different landscapes and activities of nature and relaxation.


The Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

Ría Lagartos was declared a Special Biosphere Reserve in 1979. It is one of the 4 Biosphere Reserves of the Yucatan Peninsula, next to Calakmul, Sian Ka'an and her cousin sister Ría Celestún, where you can also observe the pink flamingo.

Its name is given by the water channels that penetrate inland, the estuaries, forming mangrove channels of the most attractive. The mangrove It is the great protector and regulator of these coast, being a refuge for many animals. In these waterways they also inhabit Crocodiles (o lizards, as they are called here).

In the area of ​​the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve 395 bird species have been counted among migrants and residents. Taking into account that the total in the Yucatan Peninsula is from 533, we talk about one of the best places to enjoy ornithology. And not only of the Peninsula, but of all of Mexico.

All the emerald waters that bathes the Yucatan coast, its varied nature and the proposal of activities to know the area they have located it to the Reserve on the map of many travelers. For me, the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places to miss a few days.

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, habitat of flamenco 1
Photo courtesy of Juanma Cano

Which towns form the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve?

Four coastal towns are within the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve:

  • LAGARTOS RIVER: River Lagartos They make the excursions in boat more known by the river: mangrove channels, flamingos, observation of birds and ccodrilos, next to the popular bathroom of mud.
  • SAN FELIPE: from San Felipe You will enjoy other landscapes and tours through the mangrove, with springs and perfect boat and land rides to observe birds and enjoy nature.
  • LAS COLORADAS: en The Coloradas You will see the best landscapes of Salinas, where it is easy to see flamingos too. It has become a very visited place thanks to its red salt flats.
  • THE WHOSE: This beautiful port of El Cuyo is the most secluded and quiet of the Reserve, with a wild beach where you can enjoy relaxation, bird watching and the arrival of sea turtles.

Each of them will provide different scenarios and experiences. In the villages of San Felipe, River Lagartos, The Coloradas y El Cuyo you find lodgings, restaurants and local cooperatives that make excursions. It is nice to live the local atmosphere in a relaxed way, these villages are very quiet and are happy and proud to receive visitors.

Take your time to explore the area, you will not be disappointed by this northern Yucatan full of wildlife, nature and friendly people.

Flamingos in Río Lagartos
Eye of water in San Felipe
Salinas of Las Coloradas
The dunes of El Cuyo beach

Activities in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

For birdwatchers, birders, ornithologists or people interested in avitourism activities, the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is one of the most greedy locations. Here the flamingos come to observe, but we already noted that it is one of the nature spaces protected with more species of birds.

Each of the 4 populations that are within the Reserve of Ría Lagartos offer a different landscape and environment. Let's find out what Rio Lagartos, Las Coloradas, San Felipe and El Cuyo offer.

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, habitat of flamenco 2
  • The best-known tourist activity of the Ría lagartos Biosphere Reserve is the boat ride and the mud bath. This activity it is done from RÍO LAGARTOSIt is a nature excursion that does not disappoint, very complete. Many combine the excursion with the visit to Las Coloradas, 8 kilometers from the town.
Lagartos River, Ría lagartos Biosphere Reserve
  • THE COLORADAS has become one of the most visited points in the Peninsula due to the attractiveness of its salt flats. We all want to have our picture of the Coloradas. It also has a beautiful beach in the village full of fishing boats. If you want a place to relax Cancunito is the beach on the way to Río Lagartos.
Las Coloradas, Yucatan
  • SAN FELIPE It is the town that surely fewer foreigners visit. If you like the local atmosphere you are in the ideal place to go, you can enjoy the beach that there is in front of the town, eat fresh fish or make the excursion through the mangroves of the coast. You do not see flamencos here, that's why it's not that popular.
  • THE CUYO is our place in the world, we fell in love with the place in 2011 doing the activity of ring flamingos. Puerto El Cuyo is bathed by one of the best beaches on the Yucatan coast, with magnificent winds for the kitesurf and other water activities, including fishing. A place of nature as there are few.

Road Las Coloradas to El Cuyo

One of the secrets of this area is the beautiful road that runs from El Cuyo parallel to the coast, between landscapes of salt flats, virgin beaches and flamingos until you reach Las Coloradas. Sometimes the road is not good, ask before entering the place. Of the best landscapes that I have seen, it is necessary to make it by bicycle this road, it is what we have in mind for the next one.

El Cuyo, Reserva Biosfera Ría Lagartos, Yucatán
El Cuyo coastal road to Las Coloradas.

Where to see flamingos in the Yucatán Peninsula

Another important tourist place to see the Flemish pinkish is Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, in the Gulf of Mexico. During the months of March and April it is time to nesting of flamenco, and they do it in the north of the Peninsula. So in this season it is definitely better to choose to visit Ría Lagartos.

Throughout the known as Emerald coast It is easy to see flamingos, especially during the nesting season. Transpire love for this coast as you should see, and that is that I was totally captivated.

La Ria Lagarto Biosphere ReserveIt's for relaxing enjoyment, one of my Essentials of the Yucatan Peninsula. For those of us who like nature and calm, it is luxury.

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, habitat of flamenco 3

Reservation of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

LOCATION: the Biosphere Reserve of Ría Lagartos It is located in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula, at 54 km from Tizimin. You can visit from different coastal towns: Rio Lagartos, San Felipe, Las Coloradas and El Cuyo.
HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? To reach the coastal towns you must reach the town of Tizimin. From the ADO terminal of Cancún and Valladolid, a bus leaves for Tizim {in. From Merida leaves the Northeast terminal (50 with the 67). From Tizimín NORDESTE buses have different departures to River Lagartos, The Coloradas, El Cuyo y San Felipe. There is also a bus to the island of Holbox.
ACCOMMODATION: in the villages of River Lagartos, San Felipe y El Cuyo You find lodging for sleeping and local restaurants. From these towns excursions are made through the Biosphere Reserve of Ría Lagartos.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent and sunscreen. Oh, do not forget the swimsuit.
ATTENTION: in the villages of the Reserve there are no ATMs or banks.

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.
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