About 2.5 hours from Mérida or 1.5 hours away from Valladolid, you will find one of my favourite places I visited in Yucatán: Rio Lagartos. This little town, is the place to go to if you would like to see some flamingos and a popular day trip destination for anyone staying in Yucatán.
Not only can you find a huge lagoon, but also interesting wildlife, and it is a great place to relax. Here are 7 things to do in Rio Lagartos.
1. Go on a boat tour to see flamingos
Rio Lagartos is located next to a lagoon, which means the best way to explore the area is by boat. As soon as you reach the water, you will see plenty of boats lined up with tour operators advertising a variety of different boat tours. The most popular one is the Flamingo tour, but of course there are also variations of what is included. Some include a mud bath as well, whereas others just take you to see the flamingos and back.
Either way, seeing the flamingos is an incredible experience. And you are bound to spot some other cool birds along the way as well. The main season to see the flamingos is from March to June, however, some flamingos are present all year.
2. Visit the crocodiles
If you didn’t get to see any crocodiles during your boat tour, here is another chance for you to spot some crocodiles. If you walk along the lagoon for about 15 minutes, you will reach Sendero Petén Mac. Walk inside, and you will find a little water whole, where two crocodiles reside. These are wild animals but have chosen this spot as their home. We did not see them at first, but then some locals arrived and managed to get the crocodiles out of hiding.
Want to see more crocodiles? There are also options to do crocodile night tours!
3. Stay for the night
This might sound stupid, but I highly recommend staying in Rio Lagartos for at least one night. It is a small town and there is not incredibly much to do, so most people just come to visit Rio Largartos for a day trip.
That means that you will find many tourists in town during the day, but in the evening the town will almost be completely empty and quiet. It was incredibly peaceful just walking along the water in the evening, watching the birds or just sitting on a bench. Also, in the morning still, it was such a great experience walking through the town before all the tourists arrived. We stayed one night, but later wished we would have stayed two nights instead.
Where to stay in Rio Largartos? We stayed at Hotel Villa de Pescadores which was great! Right by the water and the room was clean and spacious. Make sure to book in advance, because due to the size of the town, there are not so many hotels available, and they might book out quickly.
4. Walk along the lagoon
The lagoon is not hard to miss and if you are looking for boats to take you on a boat tour around the area, then you are walking along the lagoon anyway. However, once the boats stop and the tourist offices stop, you can continue walking for a nice stroll along the water. When I was there, I was the only person and everything was completely empty, so it’s nice to enjoy some quiet time to yourself. This path also leads you to the spot where you can see the crocodiles. Sadly, the path stops there, so you can only go for a rather short walk.
5. Do some bird-watching
If you wander around the town near the water, you can already spot a lot of pelicans, seagulls, cormorants and other types of bird breads. There are whole boat trips designed around getting to see the flamingos. Once on the boat tour, you can get incredibly close to pelicans: our guide was feeding them, and they even came to sit on our boat. And along the way you can spot multiple other amazing types of birds, sitting in trees, swimming or diving around. An amazing place for all bird-lovers!
Planning a trip to Rio Lagartos?
Then it is best to fly into either Mérida or Cancun. Find the cheapest flights to Cancun and Mérida with Skyscanner. Looking for accommodation? Here you can find the best hotels in Rio Lagartos or anywhere else in Yucatán!
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6. Enjoy some local food
Due to its location right by the sea, you can expect to find a lot of fresh seafood in Rio Lagartos! If there is one place to eat seafood, then that place should be Rio Lagartos! There are some amazing restaurants in town. However, some might close earlier as there aren’t so many tourists in the town in the evening.
7. Visit the pink lake and the nearby beach
In the town of Las Coloradas, which is about a 25-minute car ride away, you can find a pink lake! There is a salt factory, and the high salt concentrate attracts red-coloured algae, plankton and shrimp, which is how the lake has gained its bright pink colour. You can not swim in the lake and to get closer you will have to do an organised tour and enter with a guide.
While it is fun to see, it is definitely not worth travelling multiple hours to see this place, and I would only recommend it if you are in Rio Lagartos anyway, as it is close by. On the way you will also pass a beach.
And here were some of the best 7 things to do in Rio Lagartos! It might not sound like much, and while that is certainly true, I would still highly encourage you to visit the beautiful town of Rio Lagartos. Like I said before, I wish I would have spent more time here. Would you like to visit Rio Lagartos yourself one day?
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