Photo: Lucy Kosobva/Shutterstock

The Lakes of Las Coloradas, Mexico, Are the Most Unexpected Sight in the Yucután

Cancún Beaches and Islands
by Matador Creators Jan 11, 2023

Las Coloradas is a small fishing village located in the Mexican state of Yucatán. The village itself is fairly small with around 1,000 residents, but it’s extremely popular with tourists and visitors thanks to one extremely unique thing: bright pink lakes.

Las Coloradas, Mexico, is renowned for its otherworldly pink lakes, which are unlike anything else in the country and have earned Las Coloradas its spot on Mexico’s map of beautiful natural places. The lakes are a result of microorganisms that produce salt-loving halo-bacteria, which turn the water a stunning shade of pink. Las Coloradas also boasts unique wildlife such as flamingos, pelicans, and the occasional crocodile. Though the lakes of Las Coloradas, Mexico are privately owned, it’s all part of the greater Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.

Visiting the lakes

Las Colorades Mexico - couple standing at lake

Photo: Lucy Kosobva/Shutterstock

Las Coloradas, Mexico, is a cool place to visit, but not a particularly convenient one. The closest tourist towns are Merida or Tulum, but they’re still three hours away by car. And because the lakes have become so popular, you can’t visit them on your own. Most of the area is on private property. However, all that means is that you’ll need to with a tour operator, such as My Cancun Tours (leaving from Cancun), Cancun Adventures (leaving from Cancun or diving hotspot Playa del Carmen), or Absolute Adventures Mexico, which offers private tours from wherever you’re saying around the Yucatán.

When you arrive at the lake, you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee (usually around $4) and be with a guide, since they don’t people just freely walking all over the place. You cannot swim in the lakes (which are actually shallow salt pools), but you can wander around and take photos (or ask your guide to take photos of you).

Remember that how bright the lakes look appears on a number of factors, including weather. They’ll be the most vivid on bright, sunny days, but taking photos when the sun is directly overhead (around midday) may result in some tough reflections. Try to get there around 9 AM or in the afternoon to have better angles for photography.

Things to do in the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

flamingos near las Las Coloradas mexico

Photo: Javarman/Shutterstock

The town of Las Coloradas, Mexico, is a good jumping-off point for exploring the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, one of Mexico’s most ecologically diverse regions. Activities are easy to book, from boat tours through mangrove forests to kayaking tours or rentals. And there are great nearby beaches. Wildlife tours are also popular since the reserve is home to more than 400 bird species, plus plenty of amphibians, reptiles (crocs included), and more species. It’s a mangrove forest, and mangroves tent to be in some of the most ecologically diverse places on earth.

While Las Coloradas, Mexico, is a popular destination, it practices sustainable tourism and takes steps to conserve its natural resources. It has a strict policy limiting the number of visitors that can access the site, and enforces regulations on littering, fishing, and swimming in order to protect the area’s fragile ecology. And by requiring guides, Las Coloradas ensures that tourists are not only enjoying their experience but also supporting local communities.

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