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Rio Lagartos


© Etudiante Vagabonde. Photo : Las Yucatan Coloradas


July 18th, 2018

Today the tourism has become a primary source of income for many countries. As visitors, we are thus often seen as walking wallets by the locals. The meeting with the inhabitants comes down almost always to a financial interest, it is rare to have a totally disinterested conversation. That's why I may have difficulties to trust local people when they come up to me.

This evening, I was walking quietly on the port, taking some pictures of these small boats and some pelicans flying over my head. Some fishermen were cleaning their boat at the end of this day. A family was savoring an enormous fresh fish with some glasses of wine on the wooden pontoons. I was waiting fort the sun to reach the water to admire the beautiful colors of a summer evening. I discussed then with this sir who tried to sell me his "lancha" (small boat) tour to Las Coloradas for the following morning. After several negotiations, I finally managed to obtain a moderate price to take me to this place I dreamed so much about.

Seeing that I was very attentive to the sun which was slowly setting he offered me a boat ride to a beach accessible only by the sea. It was the perfect spot to admire the sun disappearing under the orange sea and all these thick clouds around it.

Later, he caught up with me on the quay to propose me another great opportunity: a night tour to observe crocodiles in the mangroves. This started to seem a little too nice and I wasn't completely serene about the idea of going alone on a boat with a stranger. Finally I still accepted his offer and I went back home to change in haste and I came back half an hour later, ready to embark on the boat with two crocodile specialists.


We navigated between mangrove swamps, attentive to the small eyes shining in the distance. We approached some of them to observe these staggering animals. Finally, it was a memorable trip and it was nothing else than a sympathetic gesture.



Rio Largartos is an authentic fishing village located on the north coast of the Yucatan. 

Its name comes from the Spanish conquistadors and means Alligator River. Indeed the natural reserve called Ria Lagartos surrounding the town hosts many wild species and among them crocodiles.

The town is located 215 km away from Merida and 250 from Cancun. It is served by 3-4 buses per day, leaving from Tizimín, 50 km in the north.


Generally, the night tour costs about 500 pesos, depending on how hard you negotiate it. I was very lucky this night to meet this nice fisherman who offered it to me, but only because two tourists had booked it and one seat was stil available on the boat. The tour starts at 8.00 pm and lasts around one hour.

Crocodiles are literally everywhere near the mangroves swamp during the night so don't worry about not seeing them, it is almost impossible. The boatman heads us for every shining eye that he can spot. 

This aquatic animal is a Xiphosura, sometimes called horseshoe crab. We found it in the water while we were stopping on the water. He just put his hand into the sea and he got it out with this crazy creature in his hand.

Really similar to prehistoric genera, they are considered to be living fossils.


Tour bateau nocturne


Tour à Las Coloradas

July 19th, 2018

Here I am again, back to the port in the early morning, ready to take the boat to the Yucatán Coloradas. We went through the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, which is the home of a significant number of rare and endangered animals, and hosts the densest concentration of flamingos in Mexico. Observing flamingos flying over our head and pelicans hunting small fishes into the water with their long beak was something I won't forget. We also approached a big crocodile that was standing in the water without moving. Different kinds of rare birds are also easily observed.


After navigating for an hour, we let the boat by the salt marshes and we admired this unbelievable pink lake, a unique scenery. It seemed like a fantastic dream. Nothing is chemical here, the pigment is only due to bacterias and microorganisms found in waters saturated with salt.


On the way back we had the chance to take a mud bath with the clay found in the ground. Before arriving at the village we stopped at a small beach to bathe in the sea.

Good    To Know


Many fishermen are selling their boat tour at a price amounting 1000 pesos per person, but you can negotiate it down to 300 pesos, so don't get caught !

Be aware that there are no ATM in Rio Lagartos, so make sure you go there with enough cash for the night, the food and the activities.

If you're travelling alone or with a low budget, you won't find any hostel in the town, but some locals rent a room that you can have for 300 pesos if you show your best smile.




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