(Post updated, October 2019): The Pink Lagoon is not a miracle or a science project gone wrong. Red plankton and shrimps color the water at this saline in all rose and pink tones you can imagine. It’s like a dream come true and at the moment where you think it’s actually too good to be real, along comes a group of flamingos. Yes, you can believe your eyes!
No photoshop involved in these photos – that’s how pink the water is at the pink lagoon!
Tips for a visit of the Pink Lagoon at Las Coloradas
Our first tip: Stay until sunset for a colourful show like this!
Las Coloradas: Pink lagoon & flamingo wonderland
You might have heard about the reason why flamingos have pink feathers: It’s because they feed on those red shrimps and plankton. The only thing that we haven’t found out yet if flamingos also poop pink 😉
At Las Coloradas they have found a perfect habitat with plenty of food for their colonies. So you’ll easily spot flamingos there without having to search for too long. Just be aware that they are rather shy, so you might have to stay in the car to not chase them away!
These colours aren’t photoshopped – the lagoon is truly this pink!
A visit of the pink lagoon: What you need to know
Here’s a few things to consider before you plan your visit to Las Coloradas:
- The closest hotels are located in Río Lagartos – a small fishermen’s village about 2o-25 minutes away from the lagoon.
- Yet we actually recommend to stay in Valladolid or Mérida and only do a day trip by car to Las Coloradas. (You could of course also stay in Río Lagartos – just let us tell you that this town isn’t really that picturesque.)
- For your day trip pack something to eat and enough to drink! You will want to spend a couple of hours here. We even stayed late until sunset, which was absolutely worth it!
How to get to the Pink Lagoon
You can use Google Maps to point you in the right direction, when you enter “Pink Lagoon Las Coloradas”. This will guide you directly to the entrance of the area. Once you pass by the salt production, the road makes a slight turn to the left and on the right side you’ll spot the first pink lake.
Pass by the salt production facility to reach the pink lagoon.
After the left curve there will be one road going straight ahead to the village and a sand path turning right along a fence right next to the pink lake off of your right side. It might not look like an official road, but that’s the one you’ll have to take. You’ll probably be greeted by locals on their motorcycles right away.
This is the correct road – and on the right side is the first pond.
The locals will immediately try to sell you a private tour of the flamingos. If you want to be kind and spend a couple of Pesos you can follow them and let them guide you to the flamingos, but you can also easily find them by yourself. It’s your choice!
Pink lagoon photos
So as you can see the pink lagoon is truly pink.
Many of the photos you’ll see online are photoshopped, but this is how it really looks like!
You can stand at the shores and just marvel at the water, but don’t try to go in. There are guards everywhere and they will stop you immediately. Although they don’t tell you the reason we suppose it’s due to the still active salt production – they don’t want any contamination of the water.
Around noon ist the best time to see the pink color. The lower the sun gets, the less visible the pink color will be. We recommend a visit during midday (on a sunny day)! If you want to avoid reflections buy a polarising filter for an even better effect (and also your sunglasses should be polarised!).
If you don’t have a polarising filter the photos might turn out like this.
The light reflections deter from the pink color.
How to find the flamingos at the pink lagoon in Las Coloradas
If you want to spot the flamingos you’ll have to drive alongside the road at the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. This road starts directly behind the first pink pond at the Pink Lagoon and follows the coastline for at least 10 minutes.
You can spot the road that goes parallel to the beach – you’ll have to take this one.
This sandy path directs you to the flamingos.
After approximately 10 minutes of driving the path takes a turn to the right and from that moment on you’ll be right next to the ponds where the flamingos gather and feed. We followed this street for at least half an hour without reaching the end.
Here’s our rental car on the sand path (you don’t need a 4×4). On the right side there are all the flamingos.
How to take great photos of the flamingos
As you can see you’ll be nearly alone on that road. The later the day gets, the higher the chances are that you’ll be completely alone with the flamingos. In the sunset hours there will be more and more flamingos closer to the shore and your chances of close-up encounters will rise.
Flamingos are extremely shy. As soon as you’ll get out of the car they will start their escape. So bring a long tele or zoom lens and take photos from the inside of your car if possible!
The flamingos will almost immediately try to escape when you get out of your car.
Fun fact: The flamingos at Las Coloradas are mostly to be found in the turquoise and blue ponds and not in the pink ones. Somehow they prefer the less pink water! We couldn’t find out the reason for this, but it must have to do something with the amount of live animals to feed on.
This was by far one of our favourite moments of our visit in México! We hope you enjoy your visit of the Pink Lagoon in Las Coloradas as well.
Watch this video about our Yucatán road trip including the visit of the Pink Lagoon:
If you’re interested in more about the area, click to read more about how to explore Yucatán: