AAA Editor Notes
Río Lagartos National Park (Reserva de la Biósfera Río Lagartos) is about 100 km (62 mi.) almost due n. of Valladolid at the end of Mex. 295 to the fishing village of Río Lagartos. Mexico's largest flamingo sanctuary comprises some 120,000 acres of protected mangrove swamps, sand dunes, mud flats and shallow estuaries along the Yucatán Peninsula's northern coast. In addition to flamingos, the park is home to herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, anhingas, ducks, pelicans and many other bird species.
Village-based Rio Lagartos Adventures offers 2-hour flamingo boat tours that depart from the Ria Maya Restaurant (on Calle 19 on the waterfront). The launch is captained by an experienced guide who takes passengers to flamingo feeding grounds, pointing out other bird species and the occasional crocodile along the way. The excursion includes a stop at the Los Coloradas salt ponds and the option to indulge in a reputedly therapeutic white clay mud bath or go for a swim at a nearby beach.
The best times to observe flamingos are in the morning or late afternoon. Birdwatching, fly-fishing, nature photography and crocodile nighttime observation trips also are offered. English-speaking guides are available.
Note: The topes (speed bumps) along Mex. 295 can significantly damage the underside of a vehicle if negotiated at too fast a speed.