A few days ago I went on a trip with my mom, brother and some friends to a town called Rio Lagartos, Río Lagartos is within the Biosphere Special Reserve on the northern coast of the Yucatán on the Gulf of Mexico, just west of the border with Quintana Roo, and is famous for its enormous flamingo colony and large variety of other species.
We arrived in Rio Lagartos around 7:00 AM, had breakfast and rented 2 boats. We sail along the river for a little over 2 hours and enjoy the sights of white and brown pelicans, fishing eagles, herons of many white and pink species, ibis, crocodiles and the breath taking spectacle of thousands of American Flamingos feeding in the salty waters.
The area is the home to Mexico’s largest American and Caribbean flamingo population. It estimated that over 8,000 pink flamingos live within the now protected canals and mangroves just up the river from Rio Lagartos. Wild flamingos eat many different foods but their favorite is shrimp. The more shrimp they eat, the pinker they get.
After 2 hours of bird watching the guide took us to a salty pond, to take a bath in the salty water that keeps you up on the surface without any movement, and then we smeared white mud all over ourselves as we were told it is good for your skin.
We spend the night there and next day we went to Las coloradas, on the western side of the Rio Lagartos estuary its a large salt processing enterprise that collects salt from dry lake beds and ships it all over South America. The water is all shades of pink and if you touch it, it kind of burns from the salt. The color of the water its because of a small organism that lives in it, called artemia, this is also the preferred food of the flamingos, so it also gives them the shades of pink. This place is so amazing and different that it looks like you are in another world.
For more than 2000 years, before the Mayans, salt has been gathered from the shallow lakes in the area and traded as a valuable commodity. It is bulldozed into huge mounds then processed, cleaned and packaged in the factory here.
And back in town….