Las Coloradas, Río Lagartos

Tip: Visit the pink lakes of Las Coloradas, Río Lagartos

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Travel to Las Coloradas and you’ll see something you’ve never seen before: huge pink lakes! Maybe you’ve seen some pictures on social media and wonder: is the water really that pink? The answer to that question is: Yes, it really is that pink! That’s why the lakes really are a must see. They’re probably not on your route, but it’s definitely worth a detour. Visiting the lakes is one of the most extraordinary things we did during our trip through Mexico.

Las Coloradas

Las Coloradas is a small fishing village located on the north coast of Yucatán in Mexico. When you arrive by car you will immediately see a large salt factory surrounded by huge salt mountains. If you continue your way past the factory, you end up at the pink lakes and salt plains where the salt is extracted. To get closer to the lakes, you will need to hire a guide at the entrance. According to them, you are not allowed to enter the terrain without a guide. We read different stories about this, but for only a few bucks you’ll get a guide that provides information about the lakes.

Once you’re there, you simply won’t know where to look! To the left there are orange lakes and to the right they are bright pink! There is a difference in the colors of the lakes, because the salt content in the pink lakes is higher compared to the orange lakes. The lakes owe their color to the different microorganisms that live in the water, like shrimps and plankton. The presence of these organisms is also the reason that you’ll find a lot of flamingos in the Las Coloradas area. They eat these microorganisms. So, there’s not only colored lakes to see, but flamingos as well!

Tip: Visit the lakes in the middle of the day. The sun at its highest point between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, and the colors are it its brightest.

Swimming in the pink lakes, is allowed?

Unfortunately, it is not allowed (anymore) to swim in the lakes. Our guide told us that in some places the water can be up to 60 degrees! In addition, the extracted salt will be used for consumption and it can’t be polluted. Despite that, a visit to Las Coloradas is definitely worth it!

How to get to the lakes of Las Coloradas and Río Lagartos?

We visited Las Coloradas during our stay in Valladolid. You can get there by public transport, but it is easiest to visit the place by (rental) car. By car the trip takes about 2 hours. Finding the route is actually very easy. You drive straight ahead to the north and you end up at Río Lagartos. There you take the exit towards Las Coloradas.

Río Lagartos is the town where the lakes are located. A lovely place to eat and drink after your visit to Los Coloradas or to cool off on the beach. There’s a chance that you will encounter turtles nesting on the beaches in this area!

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