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Las Coloradas

by Brent May


Las Coloradas

You may have seen incredible photographs of these pink lakes of the Yucatan on social media over recent years. These basins are actually salt flats located near Río Lagartos in Yucatan state. The stunning pink color of the waters comes from microorganisms and the concentration of salt. It is not really a pink sea or a beach but rather a salt marsh. The area is divided into lakes or basins privately owned by Yucatan Salt Industry, but it is also listed as a Protected Natural Area.

Here, salt is produced in large quantities and one of the steps in the process is that the water becomes pink. There are about 5 kilometers of water reservoirs. The water of Rio Lagartos, the river, flows into these reservoirs. This water contains a bacteria that gives it a brown appearance. When this bacteria dies, the water is transferred to another reservoir. Its extraction is based on evaporation and the use of filters. Normally, the process takes about six months and it is only in the last months that the water turns pink due to the action of algae, salt and the effect of the sun. There are areas where it will be a little more orange and this is where you can see flamingos during the months of May and April.

It is best to arrive at Las Coloradas between 12:00 and 3:00 pm, as this is when you can see the water best. You can visit by foot, by bike or by safari. Any of these visits will allow you to take great photos.

Las Coloradas

After the visit, you can visit several other attractions close by.

  • The beaches of Las Coloradas. They are not famous because the main attraction of the area is the pink lakes, but they are beautiful stretches of clean, white sand beach with no crowds.
  • The Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.
  • Watch flamingos in the lagoons of Las Coloradas. Many flamingos come here to feed. In the pink lagoons, you can see many of them from a few meters away. It is a real treat to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.

Las Coloradas

Getting there

From Merida, you can get there by car on the Merida-Motul road and follow the signs to Tizimin. Before entering this municipality, you will find signs for San Felipe, Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas. The trip to the latter takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes from Merida.

Be sure to take sunscreen and carry cash for your expenses for the day.

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