When I ask you to think of the colour pink and name things in that colour what do you think of? Strawberries and raspberries, roses, peonies and a bunch of other flowers, ice-creams, cupcakes… ah the list goes on and on. Now if you visit the sleepy town of Rio Lagartos, the things to popu up in your mind first and foremost when you think of pink, will certainly change. Flamingos, lakes, sunsets, sigh. Now that’s a cotton candy dream that one cannot get enough of certainly.
Rio Lagartos is a fishing village in Mexico’s north coast off of a state called Yucatan. Blessed with some of nature’s sweetest offerings, the town is not frequented by many travellers but certainly has a whole lot to offer.
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How to reach: You can fly down to Cancun, Valladolid or Merida. And from either of these destinations you can first take a bus to Tizimin (there aren’t as many direct buses to Rio Lagartos). After reaching Tizimin you can take a bus or a taxi to Rio Lagartos as the availability of buses is limited.
Best time to visit: May to September are better months for participating in snorkelling activities and going for some whale shark watching. Other than that most attractions of Rio Lagartos can be enjoyed all through the year.
Beaches, bioreserves, sink holes, bird watching spots and so much more make Rio Lagartos a dreamy destination. It is located next to a lagoon that goes by the name of Tia Lagartos. Since we are on the name of things, here’s an interesting tale. Amongst the first wave of Spanish Renaissance physicians, was a man by the name of Francisco Hernandez De Toldeo who amongst other things also led an expedition in this very destination back in the year 1517. As they tried to obtain water from the river, they named the creek Rio Lagartos. Here’s the interesting part. Rio Lagartos literally translates to “River of Alligators” although the river is actually home to crocodiles and not alligators. Mistake or mistranslation, who knows? But nevertheless, the name has definitely stuck!
Now, if you are planning on visiting this Rio Lagartos which has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on account of being a place of “unusual scientific and natural interest”, here are some of the top things for you to do:
- Las Colaradas
Head over to the nearby town of Las Colaradas which is just a few miles away. Waiting for you in Las Colaradas are some of the prettiest pink waters that you can get to see. The high level of salt in these waters is responsible for lending them this colour. Fun fact, the salt has not only been around for 1,000 years, it was actually used by the Mayans for flavouring their food and they made it an essential trading commodity too. The ride from Rio Lagartos to Las Colaradas also allows you a chance to even go past salt mountains. This makes for a beautiful sight as the lakes look like a scenery painted in front of your own eyes.
- Flamingo boat tour
The town is home to the densest concentration of flamingos in all of Mexico. In fact, they claim the density is such that there are 2-3 flamingos per Mexican! So, here’s a chance for you to sight the vibrantly colourful birds for yourself. Further, you can spot a number of more birds including showy white ibis, red egrets, snowy egrets and tiger herons. It isn’t just that the area is home to these exotic species, it is that their sighting whether in abundance or even in smaller numbers against the natural backdrops add to charm of the whole experience. This is a boat tour that you don’t want to miss.
- Crocodile farm, Snorkelling and Fishing
The pink colour is lent not just by the salt but also by the algae. In addition, the water has pink shrimps which actually are to be credited for the colour of the pink flamingos! You can eat the local seafood which is brought in fresh and cooked for you as per your choice at the dock dotted with a string of shacks and cafes. Now if you enjoy hogging some seafood, how about catching some for yourself? Give a shot to night fishing! The UNESCO biosphere reserve isn’t just to spot birds but to witness aquamarine life as well so you can go snorkelling and see them. Now that it is named after alligators, why not visit a crocodile farm itself? Hah, don’t worry I’m not suggesting snorkelling with crocodiles ? You can simply take tours to see the vicious creatures and learn more about them.
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- San Felipe
One of the best ways to explore the culture of a country is to visit the small towns. Near Rio Lagartos is a tiny town by the name of San Felipe. It is home to small cottage-like structures, thatch-roof houses and an air of local charm. Old boats propped away in lazy waters, remnants of forgotten architecture and the chance to interact with locals can let you glimpse into Mexican heritage at this town.
- Cancunito Beach
There’s no such thing as too much beach time! So, head on over to Cancunito which is a relatively deserted beach. Walk along the white sand which the waves wash against. The sunsets here are again a breath-taking view which are generally in which colour you asked? Well, you know already, the sky really is pink. ? The beach is also popular for being a favoured spot amongst sea turtles to come and hatch their eggs. If you stick around post sunset you will be able to see this for yourself. Further, the beach is also popular for having bonfires, so, grab a drink, feel the tropical air on your face and enjoy the night at the beach.
So, no matter what your favourite colour is, someday dip into a pink wonderland named Rio Lagartos!