In addition to the pink-feathered birds, visitors can see egrets, herons, pelicans, and falcons, as well as crocodiles. If you visiting during the summer, you may get to see sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs on the beach. Ría Lagartos is also a great place to do some fishing. Several multi-day tours and bird-watching tours include Ría Lagartos on their itineraries.
Things to Know Before You Go
Ría Lagartos is a must-visit for bird lovers.
Bring plenty of cash since the nearest ATM is about an hour away.
Remember to bring binoculars as well as a camera with a zoom lens to view the flamingos.
Some tours offer the chance to float in the area’s salty waters, which are similar to the Dead Sea.
How to Get There
Ría Lagartos is about a 3-hour drive south from Cancun or Playa del Carmen via the toll road to Mérida. You can also take a bus from Cancun’s central ADO bus station; the trip takes about 3.5 hours. Private tours arranged from Cancun include hotel pickup and drop-off service.
When to Get There
Although you can spot flamingos year-round in Ría Lagartos, you will view more, along with other species of birds, during the winter months; starting in May the flamingos head off to mate. From May to September, you might be able to spot whale sharks, making this a popular time for snorkeling trips.
Nearby Las Coloradas
Another small fishing village typically coupled with Ría Lagartos on day trips from Cancun, nearby Las Coloradas is surrounded by pink lakes. The region’s salt industry attracts red-colored algae, plankton, and brine shrimp, which give the water its cotton candy hue. You’ll also spot flamingos here, when they come to feed on the shrimp.
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- Museo Fernando García Ponce (MACAY Museum)
- Paseo de Montejo
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- Merida Cathedral (Catedral de San Ildefonso)
- Palacio Municipal
- Main Square (Plaza Grande)
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- El Caracol (Zona Arqueológica El Caracol)