Want to see flamingos in Mexico? Don’t want to pay for a tour and don’t have a car? Read on for how to visit Celestún from Mérida independently - and definitely read on for my close nature encounter while I was there.
There are two main places that flamingos like to hang out in Mexico, Rio Largatos which is closer to Cancun, or Celestún which is closer to Mérida. I wanted to check out these exotic, pink beauties but all the tours from Mérida wanted to go to Rio Largatos which would be a very long way just for a day trip. So my friend and I ventured to Celestún with the hope that the flamingos were still there and that there would be enough tourists to share a boat trip with.
The bus to Celestún goes on the hour from the northeast bus station and was about 120 pesos return. It took about 2 hours which was a bit longer than expected. (Our bus was super air conditioned so bring a jumper!).
There are two places to take boat trips, by the bridge which is closer to the flamingos, or from the beach in town which is an extra 30 minutes in the boat. We stayed on the bus into town and were greeted by a guy who seemed to organise everything. He formed groups from the arriving tourists and it wasn’t long before we were a group of 8 in our little boat. It was about 300 pesos each.
The boat ride took about 2 hours along the coast, up the river estuary. There were over 200 flamingos trudging through the shallow water. They are the biggest and pinkest variety of flamingos and were a pleasure to watch. They wander along with their heads underwater, and we also saw a group flying in a line on our way back. We also travelled through the mangroves to Agua Ojo (water eye), a place where spring water creates clear water in the middle of the murky river. We had to wait before swimming due to a passing baby crocodile in the water! Does this mean I can claim to have swum with crocodiles?!
Want to know if flamingoes are still there? Check Instagram for #celestun
Double check what time the bus leaves back to Merida - we were told conflicting information.
Have you seen flamingoes in the wild? Comment below.