Daytrip from Valladolid to Río Lagartos & Las Coloradas // Mexico

Rio Lagartos, Mexico

When we planned our trip to Yucatán, I said that I would not go back home without seeing Pink Flamingos. I saw so many pictures of these wonderful animals, that I really needed to see them in nature. In this blog I will give you all the information you need for a daytrip from Valladolid to Río Lagartos, where you can see Pink Flamingos, crocodiles, pelicans and Las Coloradas, the famous pink salt lake.

We learned that the best season for seeing Pink Flamingos in Yucatán is from April to October, as they come to breed in this area by this time. The best places to see them are Rio Lagartos and Celestún, sometimes they are also seen on the island Holbox, but not in great numbers.

Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

The Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve was established in 2004 and is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The area presents a rich diversity of landscapes, ecosystems and animals. The little town Río Lagartos is located in a lagoon of the natural reserve. This town is the starting point for the boat tours in the reserve. The town is very small and quiet. We only saw three other tourists there and found out that only a few times a week organized tour buses from Cancun are coming to this place.

Rio Lagartos, Mexico
Rio Lagartos, Mexico
Rio Lagartos, Mexico

Ría Lagartos Boat Tour

We arrived at the bus station and went straight to the harbor, which was just a few walking minutes. After asking a bit around and bargaining, we found the tour operator Ria Lagartos Parador Turistico Nahochin who took us through the national park in a small boat.

We drove through mangrove channels and could spot a lot of different birds. Then the guide told us that if we were lucky we could spot some crocodiles in the water. And he was right, we saw them in three different places, one was even sunbathing on a little footbridge and it didn’t really bothered him that we were watching him closely.

Rio Lagartos, Mexico
Rio Lagartos, Mexico

When we drove out of the channels and the water became wider, we spotted pelicans. The guide stopped the boat and fed the pelicans with fish, so they have come very close to our boat. It was fun watching them for a little while.

Rio Lagartos, Mexico
Rio Lagartos, Mexico

Then we went on to the pink lake Las Coloradas. We got out of the boat and I was so excited to finally see the Pink Lake. I don´t know if we came in the wrong season or if all the pictures are photoshoped, but the lake is not as pink as I expected. It looked nice but to be honest I was a bit disappointed, as it was just a salt lake with a little pink touch. Luckily we were able to see pink flamingos! They were quite far away but we could watch them from distance with a telescope which the guide borrowed us. Although, we visited this place outside the main season (march) there were many flamingos – so getting here in the right season must be even more amazing!

Rio Lagartos, Mexico
Rio Lagartos, Mexico
Rio Lagartos, Mexico

All in all, this 2 hour boat trip was not what I expected. However, instead of a pink lake and getting close to flamingos, we experienced a great boat trip through the beautiful national park with a super friendly guide and were able to see crocodiles, pelicans and other local animals in nature up close.

How to get from Valladolid to Río Lagartos

When we planned our trip and I was checking out all the places on the map, it seemed that Río Lagartos is very close to the island Holbox. I was sure that they would offer boat trips between this places – but this was not the case. So we decided to try it from Valladolid.
Valladolid to Tizimin: Busses leave from the main terminal every 1 or 2 hours and take 1-2 hours (30 Mxn)
Tizimin to Río Lagartos: Bus or colectivo takes 1 hour (50 Mxn)

In Tizimin you have to change bus or take a colectivo to Rio Lagartos. Ask at the bus terminal when the next bus or colectivo is leaving and they help you out. After the boat tour, we found out that the next bus back to Tizimin would leave in 2 hours. So we asked some locals and they told us to wait for the next colectivo. They drive around the small town until the car is full and then leave. So it is not that hard to get to Río Lagartos, you just have to be flexible and a bit patient to find the right means of transport.

Cost Breakdown

We paid for this day trip (transport & boat tour) a total of 630 Mxn (25€) each. Alternatively, you can book packages for day trips from Valladolid to Río Largatos and Ek Balam, which start at 1.500 Mxn (only for transport).

Prices for each person:
Transport: 160 Mxn
Boat Tour: 450 & 18 Mxn fee national park

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