Rio Lagartos: Natural paradise in Mexico

North America | | December 8, 2010 at 2:34 am


Accessible within 1.5 hours from Chichen Itza and 2.5 hours from Merida, Rio Lagartos is one of the most adored tourist destinations where serenity and adventure stay together. The name ‘Rio Lagartos’ comes from a small amount of crocodiles here, which means the Alligator River. But this is somewhat contrasting to the fact that the Yucatan peninsula does not boast any true rivers on the land. In fact, it only holds ‘rias’ that refer to the openings into the shore from the ocean resulting into canals lined by a plenty of aquatic mangroves. Don’t you think that it will be a unique experience to explore such a geographic arrangement? Further regarded among the vital wetlands, Rio Lagartos is a scenic fishing hamlet holding vividly painted homes of cement and wood.

The village is the home of the most scenic and largest flamingo colony not to be seen anywhere else in Mexico. Not only for the flamingos, Rio Lagartos is also known for its snowy and egrets, snowy white ibis, tiger herons, and several more bird species making it the perfect bird watching destination in Mexico. In fact, Rio Lagartos is in the vicinity of the Biosphere Reserve that adorns the Yucatan’s northern shore. The reserve is the currently the residence of more than 375 bird species of which the top attraction is the vast flock of eye-catching pink flamingos. Rio Lagartos is proud to be the holder of some 44,000 birds in total. Adding to its justification of the natural paradise, there are a plethora of coastal lagoons where you can rest while spotting several winter flocks of birds including the ones that are migrating. Although this is an off beaten trail, do come here at least once so that you can explore the Yucatan’s far reaches for knowing more about the stunning wildlife.

Just opt for a boat tour that via the mangrove-lined routes as well as a naturalist guide will make you encounter with the endemic flora and fauna. Besides spotting and identifying a variety of birds and wildlife, you also get an opportunity to go deep down into the prevailing Mayan culture via a tour to the colonial city of Tizimin. The main highlights of this town are its cathedral, market, and town square. After this, your boat trip moves ahead to the celebrated salt baths. These are no ordinary ones, but are legendary in the sense that the Mayans used to conduct cleansing rituals since ages here. You will surely be excited to know that you can bathe in these curable salt springs and can also float easily. For me, this was like taking a dip in one of the holy rivers of India.

There are also beaches here where you will come across white turtles as well as Carey. Here, the most adored is the eco-tourist service of the Yucatan Company called the Cooperative Rio Lagartos Adventures that has an experience of 10 years. For your entertainment, they offer kayaks, boats, and mountain bikes. And yes, they also provide for the trained guides who can speak English, Italian, and Spanish and can take you on many tours. Take one of the unique boat trips to discover the Chiquila beach and the nesting areas. Rio Lagartos in total offers clean beaches stretching for 60 km, which are ideal for picnics, beachcombing, camping, shelling, and snorkeling.

It is always proposed to opt for the guided tour of Diego Martinez or Ismael Navarro who are licensed guides. These tours often start from the La Torreja Restaurant. The former one can speak Spanish, English, and Italian and has good knowledge on the wild life of the area. He can also aid in accommodations. You can spot him on the waterfront probably at a distance of 50 m from the town’s sole lighthouse. On the other hand, Ismael is famous for his local wild tour as well as shorebid winter trips by the side of mudflats, which lasts for four hours.

You can reach here by road from Tizimin and can choose to stay in Hotel Punta Ponto.

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