Las Colorados & Rio Lagartos Tours
Pink Salt Waters And Pink Flamingos - A Real PINK DAY Tour
Approx 9+ Hour Tour 3 Hour Drive From Progreso 1 Way, 4 From Merida
Hidden away on the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is a magical place full of color. These stunning cotton-candy pink lakes filled with salt are called Las Coloradas.
Swimming in the pink lakes around the factory is now off-limits for tourists. However there is a different area where it’s possible to float in the pink water & take a Mayan mud bath.
Las Coloradas means “the red” in Spanish. It’s the name of a tiny Mexican fishing village with a population of 1000. Nearby, a series of brightly colored pink lakes cover the landscape on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.
The region is part of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, a protected wetlands area home to animals like flamingos, crocodiles, sea turtles, jaguars, and all kinds of sea birds. The reserve covers some 150,000 acres.
Río Lagartos is one of those hidden gems that you hope stays hidden. Located along an inlet from the Gulf of Mexico in the Yucatán Peninsula, Between the animals and the water, this place is a colorful dream, this vibrant fishing town is the sort of place where everyone knows each other’s name. Doors are painted Caribbean-blue and walls are lemon-yellow, and kitsch pink flamingos line the gates of the quaint one-story houses. But that’s what Río Lagartos is known for.
Instead, Río Lagartos is known for the thousands of flamingos that nest in the waters of this coastal inlet during the month of April. Although watching these bold, Yucatán flamingos prance along the silty water of Ría Lagartos (ría refers to the body of water, Río to the town) is well-worth the day trip from the Riviera Maya, there’s something even more remarkable a few kilometers away—the pink waters of la Playa de las Coloradas.
La Playa de las Coloradas is a bright-pink salt lake in between Ría Lagartos and the Gulf of Mexico. In the mornings, these natural salt marshes appear to be merely tinged with coral hues, but as the sun heats up in the afternoon, they radiate hot-pink tones.
But the area's pink hue isn't just any pink, it’s a pink unique to the area, found in varying concentrations throughout the salt marshes and on the flamingos. This Yucatán pink is the work of one animal in particular—the artemia salina, a crustacean best described as something between shrimp and lobster. Because the artemia salina absorbs the pigment of its prey—in this case, the pink microorganisms that live such salty water—its body also turns a shade of pink. When the flamingos come to feed on the artemia salina, they too take on this same pink.
However, Río Lagartos isn’t only pink flamingos and salt lakes. In fact, the the area is a protected biosphere and home to over 350 species of birds alone, not to mention mounds of mangroves, crocodiles, and corbina fish. The lagartos, or crocodiles for which the area was named, can easily be seen lurking in the shallow waters among the mangroves while local fisherman go after their daily catch of corbina. Even if you don’t have the slightest inclination towards nature, Ría Lagartos is a good place to start developing one.
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What to do
- Go for the tour. It is possible to reach La Playa de las Coloradas by car, but you won’t be seeing any flamingos or much wildlife without a speedboat.
- Float in Las Coloradas. After you’ve recovered from the shock of pink water, go for a float. The high salt content of the marshes at La Playa de Las Coloradas makes you extra buoyant.
- Take a baño maya. While it’s not really a bath, the baño maya refers to a clay mask high in sulfur found on the banks of the inlet. Many tour guides encourage their groups to cover themselves in the clay, as its minerals treat many different skin conditions.
- Actually touch a crocodile. According to the guides who spend their lives interacting with the area's many creatures, the crocodiles of Ría Lagartos are tranquilos, or calm. They say the crocodiles are actually more scared of the speedboat motors than anything. See how close you can get and give a little pet to that prized skin of theirs.
*Tour And Entry Fee
*Lunch Typical to the region
*Transportation with air conditioning in all tours with guide
Not included: Drinks at the Restaurant and Tips For Guides and your tour operator.
Bring With You:
*Swimsuit And Towel
*Sweater In Case You Are Cold In Van