ECO-TOURS
IN RÍA LAGARTOS BIOSPHERE RESERVE
Yucatán, México

viewing flamingos
Viewing flamingos

WHAT KINDS OF TOURS ARE THERE?

map of Rio Lagaratos
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Río Lagartos

FLAMINGO TOURS: The most popular tours are boatrides up the estuary to view flamingos. That's what the lady is doing above. Several licensed guides with special training are available, plus numerous fishermen on a freelance basis conduct tours. Some do a good job and others don't. Especially there's the problem of certain guides getting so close to the flamingos, or actually boating in among them, that they upset the birds and cause them to fly. This is hard on the birds but such excitement may produce for the "guide" a bigger tip from some people.

Diego Nuñez's famous FlamingomobileBIRDING TOURS: Diego Nuñez deals with most serious birders wanting to be ferried around the area. At the right a group is birding from the back of Diego's famous Flamingomobile, along a little backroad following the boundary between savanna/ranchland and marsh/mangrove ecosystems. Species diversity along this route is amazing. Diego offers several inland tours, as well as boat tours in the estuary and through the maze of mangrove islands around the estuary. Some birders just want to see a variety of birds at a leisurely pace, while others come with lists of rare and endemic species they want to see, and during their tour search only for those species. Endemic birds seen in this area include the Yucatan Wren, Mexican Sheartail hummingbird, Yucatan Bobwhite, Orange Oriole and Zenaida Dove. Species seldom seen elsewhere in Mexico include the Kelp Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. In 2015, King Vultures were seen several times, and a Jabiru was spotted once. Diego's tours are described online.

FISHING TOURS: Flyfishing for Tarpon inside the estuary, on a catch-and-release basis, is becoming popular. It's easy to make contact with guides providing boating service to go into deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico north of town, beyond the Reserve, as well.

CROCODILE BOAT TRIPS: These tours leave in early evening and spot crocodiles with bright lights. At night the crocs can be approached close up and amazing photography usually is possible.

A DAY AT THE BEACH: The Gulf of Mexico's sandy beaches are accessible by boat from both Río Lagartos and San Felipe. For a small fee you will be conducted to the beach and the boatman will return to get you at the hour you specify.

PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS: The picture below shows what one vistor experienced:

photographing flamingos
Below, you see Parador Turistico Nahochin in Río Lagartos.
Parador Turistico Nahochin, Río Lagartos
At the northern point of the town's peninsula. Nahochin is operated by a cooperative of local guides and tours can be arranged there. Nahochin stands beside the large, two-lane avenue bordering Río Lagartos, called the Malecón. The Malecón continues down the peninsula's eastern side for about a kilometer, passing between the estuary and mangrove swamps, until ending at the tourist establishment of Chiquilá, shown below:
Chiquilá, Río Lagartos, Yucatán
The large, thatch-roofed structure at the right, next to the observation tower, is a restaurant with several tables, offering refreshments and snacks. The smaller, thatch-roofed structures are good for picnics. Among the shorter trees in the picture's center and at the left there is a freshwater spring where swimming is possible. The boat tied up at the pier is ready to take visitors to see flamingos. Camping can be done in tents or RVs. Across the parking lot behind the buildings and to the left, a one-lane road into the mangroves goes for maybe 100 meters to a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guatelupe, who some believe revealed herself to a local man searching for firewood there. Also across the parking lot but to the right, an elevated walkway takes you over water into the mangroves to a small, picturesque freshwater spring called Petén Mac, where one can sit peacefully and look at interesting plants, birds and critters in the water. That's Petén Mac below:
Petén Mac at Río Lagartos, Yucatán, México