Best time to travel to Mexico

Flamingos in Mexico

The best pink encounter is possible when 40,000 flamingos gather in one place to bring up their chicks

Best time: December–June

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Tens of thousands of flamingos live in the Yucatan peninsula year-round, but they change their breeding and nesting locations. The Celestun Biosphere Reserve is their favorite breeding ground, and Ria Lagartos is great for nestling.

The best time to observe large populations of flamingo in Celestun is from December to April. The season in Rio Lagartos runs from March through June when they lay eggs and take care of chicks.

The bird colonies tend to stick together, and the views are really splendid. However, take into account flamingos are extremely shy, so it's better to stay at distance from the pink mass in order not to scare them off. Binoculars and cameras with good zoom will be really useful!

Flamingos remain on their nesting ground until Fall, and then fly back to Celestun.

Rio Lagartos is located in about 65 miles (105km) north of Valladolid. Rio Lagartos means “alligator river”. It's best to hire a boat to explore the lagoon and see flamingoes here. Celestun Bioreserve could be reached by bus from Merida in one hour. Boat tours and private boats for rent are available in Celestun.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Mexico to see flamingos?

One can spot large populations of flamingos in the Celestun Biosphere Reserve and Ria Lagartos in Mexico that travel to these places from December to June to breed, lay eggs, and nurture their chicks. Flamingos migrate back to Celestun during the Fall season. Show more

Where are the best locations to see flamingos in Mexico?

The Celestun Biosphere Reserve and Ria Lagartos are the two best locations in Mexico where one can find a large community of flamingos. Celestun is directly accessible by bus from Merida, with Ria Lagartos being located about 65 miles (105km) north of Valladolid. A boat ride is the best way to explore the lagoon and watch flamingoes in both areas, and boat rentals and guided tours of the area are available. Show more

How many flamingos usually gather together in one place in Mexico?

Tens of thousands of flamingos live permanently in the Yucatan peninsula, but their breeding and nesting locations change frequently. One can spot 40,000 or more flamingos gathering together to nurture their chicks. They seem to be shy, but the flamingo colonies in a flock offer an amazing spectacle. It's essential to keep a safe distance from them and not disturb them when viewing them. Show more

What is the difference between the Celestun Biosphere Reserve and Ria Lagartos?

Celestun Biosphere Reserve and Ria Lagartos are both great locations to see flamingos in Mexico. However, Celestun is a home to flamingos who come here to breed, while at Ria Lagartos, they are known for nesting. Celestun is a more popular destination that is easily accessible by bus from Merida, while Ria Lagartos is relatively quiet and offers a more secluded experience. If you take a boat ride tour of the lagoon in both locations, you can get up-close views of the flamingos while keeping a safe distance. Show more

Can visitors get close to the flamingos, or do they stay at a distance?

Flamingos are shy by nature and tend to stay on their nesting grounds in Mexico. To avoid disturbing them and scaring them away, visitors are expected to maintain a reasonable distance from the birds. While birdwatching enthusiasts may find binoculars or cameras with a decent zoom handy, it is also possible to get a closer look at the flamingos on a boat tour, which can be arranged through guided tours or renting a private boat at Celestun and Ria Lagartos. Show more

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