Las Coloradas, Yucatan: everything you need to know


Surely you have seen photographs of a beautiful pink beach with white sand dunes —which are actually mounds of salt—because it is not photoshopped at all, this scene is real and is located in Las Coloradas, in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Although Yucatan is a state with multiple tourist attractions and impressive natural and cultural wealth, visiting Las Coloradas is one of the places that you have to visit without fail, because besides being very beautiful, it is part of the Yucatan Salt Industry and the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.

This guarantees that on your tour you will be able to learn many interesting things about the production of salts, such as why the water of Las Coloradas is pink, about the conservation and protection of species such as the pink flamingo, and the sea turtle, and so much more.

So that you plan your trip in advance and you can have the best of experiences, in this article we will tell you everything you need to know about this dream place, from how to get there, to everything you can find there.

Where are the pink lagoons of Las Coloradas?

Las Coloradas is not only a set of pink lakes, but it is also a small fishing village with about 1,000 inhabitants, which belongs to the municipality of Río Lagartos located in eastern Yucatán and is very close to the border with Quintana Roo so that Cancun and the Riviera Maya are tourist spots a couple of hours away.

As we mentioned at the beginning, Las Coloradas is part of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve —like Río Lagartos, San Felipe, and El Cuyo—, a protected area that seeks the conservation and protection of several species of flora and fauna, among that highlight the mangroves, pink flamingos and sea turtles.

During your visit, you must follow several environmental protection protocols to avoid damaging the habitat of protected species.

Mapa con ubicación de Las Coloradas

Why is the water in Las Coloradas pink?

One of the main questions that anyone who sees this dreamlike setting for the first time has is: why is the water in Las Coloradas pink? This paradise owes its color to two main aspects: the high salinity of the water and the presence of microorganisms called halobacteria.

These microorganisms, also known as halophiles, only reproduce in environments saturated or semi-saturated with salt, but why are other bodies of saltwater not pink?

This is because Las Coloradas is the result of the combination of several factors, which are most characteristic of the area, such as the climate and especially the Yucatan Salt Industry. That's because the care that industry puts into the production and harvesting of salt allows the water to retain its beautiful color.

When is the best season to visit Las Coloradas?

If you want to enjoy the most vibrant colors, the recommendation is to visit the area between the months of March and August and take the tours at noon, since the color of the water is intensified by the sun's rays on the salt crystals in The pools.

The view is worth it despite the fact that it is very hot at this time, however, if measures are taken to prevent it, you can enjoy a good tour.

Orilla del lago rosa de Las Coloradas

How to get to Las Coloradas

The shortest distance to get there from Mérida is along the Mérida-Motul highway, but there are several routes you can take. In fact, in our article on how to get to Las Coloradas, Yucatán, we describe all the routes in detail.

To give you an idea, we list the approximate distances from the main cities to Las Coloradas:

  • Cancun to Las Coloradas: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
  • Playa del Carmen to Las Coloradas: 3 hours, 15 minutes.
  • Tulum to Las Coloradas: 3 hours, 15 minutes.
  • Merida to Las Coloradas: 3 hours.

About the means of transport to get to Las Coloradas, we recommend several ways:

  • By bus. It is possible to take public transportation from Mérida, Cancún, Playa del Carmen or any point in Yucatán or Quintana Roo. The ideal is to buy tickets to the city of Tizimín and from there take a collective taxi, just one block from the terminal, heading for Río Lagartos.
  • In taxi. If you don't want to drive or book a tour, you can hire a taxi to take you to the pink lakes for the day. This will give you greater comfort and allow you to control the schedule of your day. This option may be the most expensive way to go.
  • By car. Another way to visit the pink lakes of Las Coloradas is by car, either your own or a rental car, as there are several car rental companies in nearby cities, such as Cancun or Merida.
  • By tour. These days, there are many tours to the pink lakes of Mexico, including from Cancun and Playa del Carmen. However, no tour can be better than the one organized by the tourist park itself, as they offer incredible packages to spend an unforgettable day.
Mapa ruta Mérida a Las Coloradas

Tours to visit Las Coloradas

There are different tours to visit Las Coloradas, but as we mentioned, the tours organized by the tourist park itself are the best option to fully enjoy the experience.

These are the incredible tours you can take in Las Coloradas:

Crystalizer tour

This tour consists of a pleasant walk around a "crystallizer" which is the point where salt crystals form and are later harvested to be transformed into table salt that is consumed in millions of Mexican homes.

With the company of an expert tour guide, your tour will be rewarding, because you will learn everything about the salt production process and you will be able to admire the beautiful pink landscapes that Las Coloradas gives us.

  • Duración: 30 minutos
  • Precio nacionales: $250 MXN
  • Precio extranjeros: $300 MXN
  • Guía en idioma inglés: + $50 MXN
CTA Crystallizer tour (English)

Safari tour

Can you imagine an incredible tour in the heart of the largest salt mine in Southeast Mexico? Las Coloradas make it possible by taking you in our all-terrain transport to the interior of the plant.

You will be able to learn about the processes that make Sal Sol the number one salt in Mexico, in addition to taking spectacular photographs in the pink lagoons.

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Price per person: $890 MXN
CTA Safari Tour (English)

Bike tour

Do you want to feel a greater connection with nature? Our bike tour is ideal for strolling while looking at the beautiful pink landscapes and feeling the cool breeze.

During the tour, our expert guides will provide you with information that will complete your experience, such as why the water is pink, how salt is produced, and what conservation strategies are implemented to protect the area.

  • Duration: 30 and 60 minutes
  • Price for 60 minutes: $390 MXN
  • Price for 30 minutes: 320 MXN
CTA Bike Tour (English)

Why is it important to have the help of a tour guide and what do I need to take a tour?

In the area, it is necessary to hire a guide, who will provide you with all the information you need and will ensure your safety and also the safety of the flora and fauna of the area. Therefore, we recommend hiring the tours offered in the park that already include the service.

Although it may be tempting, it is important to mention that in the lakes you cannot swim for the care of the fauna and the place and the production of salt; This can cause skin lesions due to the high salinity of the water. Other important recommendations are:

  • Bring a car or preferably know the public transport schedules.
  • Use sunscreen for the skin.
  • Comfortable clothing that protects from the sun.
  • Bring a camera for photos or a cell phone with a full battery.
  • Water to stay hydrated.
  • Respect the environment and animals.

What can you see in Las Coloradas?

Furthermore, to knowing the pink lakes and taking an incredible tour of the salt mine, we must mention that the tourist park is also home to pink flamingos, spider monkeys, coatis, raccoons, jaguars, among others. There are actually more than 380 species of birds, 58 species of mammals, and 95 species of reptiles.

Flamencos rosas en Las Coloradas Yucatán

You can also see sea turtles that nest in the area, since due to weather conditions it is a perfect place for turtles to lay their eggs.

These are the dates on which you can see different events related to the species that inhabit the area:

  • April and August is the ringing of flamingos.
  • April and October turtle nesting season.
  • January and December, the arrival of migratory birds.
  • January and December, crocodile sighting.

As we mentioned, this place is more than a tourist park, since it is a fishing village, so in Las Coloradas beach you can do sports activities like kayaking, boat rides, recreational fishing, interpretive hiking and observation of flora and fauna. fauna.

Río Lagartos is located about 30 minutes by car from Las Coloradas, if you wish, in this port you can rent a private boat or join a boat tour through the mangrove reserve.

During the tour, you can see flamingos, crocodiles, horseshoe crabs, cormorants, and all kinds of birds. Some tours also go to the beach, known to be a nesting area for sea turtles. Others allow you to take a mud bath, also known as a Mayan bath.

Las Coloradas and the salt industry

Did you know that the number one salt in Mexico that reaches millions of homes comes from Las Coloradas? That's right, we're talking about Sal Sol.

Las Coloradas is a tourist park that belongs to Grupo Roche, a company in charge of managing the salt industry in Yucatan. Besides, it is thanks to it that the pink water maintains its beautiful color and we can admire a wide variety of birds and species of flora and fauna.

Dunas de sal en Las Coloradas Yucatán

Salt production

The production of salt in this area dates back to pre-Hispanic times, the Mayans, after harvesting the salt, sent the grains to various towns and villages in Central America. The salt was loaded into canoes and shipped to places like Chichen Itza, Tikal, and even Caribbean islands.

Today, all the lakes are privately owned and used for industrial purposes. However, they are still the same lakes used by the Mayans for more than 2000 years.

The salt extraction method is fascinating. These lagoons contain water from the ocean, so they have a high concentration of salt. As the sun heats the pools, the water evaporates, leaving behind only coarse grains of salt.

Although it might seem that an industry within a protected natural area is not a good idea, in the case of the Roche Group, it is the best thing that could happen to this area, because it works together with protective associations and has a strong commitment with the conservation of species in the area.

The production of salt directly intervenes in what nature provides us —which is the beautiful pink color of the water— being kept that way, thanks to the care that the salt company staff puts into the cultivation of artemia salina.

Visiting Las Coloradas, an unforgettable experience

Now that you know the main aspects for which Las Coloradas is an incredible tourist destination, you cannot miss the opportunity to live the experience of connecting with nature surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

Las Coloradas are always ready to welcome you and provide you with the best service, because since December 2021 we have launched new plans so that your stay and experience can be unbeatable.

If you want to know more about our packages, visit our page and book the tour you always dreamed of. Remember to visit our blog, we have more interesting articles.