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Discover the Enchanting Pink Lakes of Las Coloradas

By Tribune Travel

August 29, 2023

Nestled in a paradisiacal corner of the Yucatan Peninsula lies a breathtaking marvel known as Las Coloradas – the Incredible Pink Lakes of Mexico. This hidden gem boasts an otherworldly landscape where the waters blush with a delicate pink hue, the skies above are a soothing pastel blue, and soft white sands grace the shores.

These enchanting lakes are part of the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, a protected UNESCO Biosphere that shelters a diverse array of exotic creatures, including the graceful flamingos, elusive jaguars, serene sea turtles, and a multitude of vibrant bird species.

Beyond their aesthetic allure, Las Coloradas promises an abundance of enjoyment for every traveler. Embark on a journey with our comprehensive guide to visiting the pink lakes, providing answers to your most common queries.

Flamingos in the pink lakes in Yucatan, Mexico


Where Exactly Can You Find the Pink Lakes?

The fabled pink lakes are situated to the northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, adjacent to the charming fishing village of Las Coloradas. These lakes are not mere chance discoveries; they await your deliberate exploration.

Las Coloradas is conveniently reachable – a scenic drive of approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes from Cancun or a shorter 3-hour and 15-minute drive from Playa del Carmen. The distance may seem significant, but worry not, for transportation options abound. Numerous tour guides offer exceptional experiences tailored to the unique allure of Las Coloradas.


Unraveling the Mystery of the Pink Hues

The lakes’ striking pink hue often prompts the curious question: What lends them this vibrant color? The secret lies in the exceptionally salty waters and the surrounding environment. These conditions attract an intricate dance of brine shrimp, plankton, and red-colored algae. As the Mexican sun gracefully evaporates the water, these microscopic organisms become concentrated, resulting in the lakes’ iconic rosy tint.

Here’s a delightful tidbit to share: Did you know that flamingos sport their signature pink plumage due to their diet of red-colored algae, plankton, and shrimp from these very waters? Their feathers owe their hue to this natural diet!

Waters of the pink lakes in Yucatan, Mexico


A Glimpse into the Lakes’ Utilitarian Past

The pink lakes have played a pivotal role in two primary industries: fishing and sea salt harvesting. Among these, sea salt harvesting stands out, with sections of the lakes owned by a salt factory.

Interestingly, the ancient Mayans were the first to recognize the value of sea salt harvesting in these pink waters. Revering this area, they harnessed its precious salt for both sustenance and food preservation. Ingeniously, they extracted salt from the shallow lagoons formed by nearby mangrove floods and transported it through their vast empire using canoes.

Over time, the tradition of sea salt harvesting grew, and today, the salt extracted from these lakes is exported internationally, reaching shores across the globe.


Experiencing the Magic of the Pink Lakes

Unlike other bustling tourist destinations on the Yucatan Peninsula, the pink lakes of Las Coloradas offer a serene escape, devoid of intense activities. Don’t expect theme parks, ATV adventures, or parasailing here.

Instead, relish the luxury of exclusivity and tranquility. The focal point is simple yet profound – embracing the ethereal lakes, capturing the picturesque landscapes, and observing the resident wildlife. The inviting beaches of Las Coloradas beckon you to immerse yourself in the ambiance.

A handful of local restaurants cater to your culinary desires, serving up authentic Mexican delicacies like shrimp tacos, quesadillas, and refreshing beverages.

For the adventurous spirits, motorbike tours around the lakes are available with knowledgeable guides. Witness the renowned pink flamingos and other captivating wildlife up close. These tours launch you into a one-of-a-kind escapade.

A highlight of the region is the Rio Lagartos Natural Reserve boat tour. This excursion offers a chance to witness pink flamingos in their natural habitat, indulge in a white clay bath, and cruise the captivating pink lakes of Las Coloradas. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, marvel at the beauty surrounding you, and savor the awe-inspiring vistas. Missing this memorable adventure would be a regrettable choice. When booking your tour to the pink lakes, ensure that the Rio Lagartos boat tour is part of the package.

While swimming in the lakes is off-limits, designated to preserve the purity, wildlife, and salt quality of the area, there’s still ample to cherish.



Practical Information to Enhance Your Journey

– An entrance fee is required.

– Keep in mind that the intensity of the lakes’ color can be influenced by weather conditions. Cloudy days might temper the vibrancy, while sunny days enhance the pink spectacle. Sometimes, a unique orange glimmer graces the waters.

– Travel options to the pink lakes vary. The most convenient is booking a guided tour from your hotel, inclusive of transportation.

– If you choose to venture independently, reaching the lakes is simple through car rental, taxi services, or local buses. Your resort’s concierge desk can furnish you with details on these transportation modes.

The pink lakes of Las Coloradas are an absolute marvel to behold. While they may not offer an abundance of heart-pounding adventures, their natural beauty, resident wildlife, and serene surroundings make for an unforgettable experience. The journey to these remarkable lakes is a venture well worth undertaking.





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