I was going to a wedding at Mérida and friend told me that I should reserve a day at Celestún.
Although Celestún is just 80 kilometers from Merida, traffic is heavy at Merida, taking you 1.5 hours to arrive.
The road crosses vast zones of forests ending on a bridge that crosses the Celestún Ría.
In this estuary there are thousands of Flamingos residing and all the channels where the manglers grow. Adjacent to the bridge there is a docking area with boats that take you on different tours, call Parador Celestún.
These trips are done using a motorboat that can take about 6-8 people. Tour must be done before 3:30PM, at this time all the flamingos fly away to rest in the mangler forest.
It is recommended to arrive early in the morning if you want to take pictures alone. Later, with the number of visitors the water hole gets blurry.
You need to bring cash, as all boats belong to local people who do not have credit cards options.
Guardianes de los manglares
Besides using the motorboats, you can visit the manglers using a kayak or a canoe.
This trip, which I took, departs from another zone, about a kilometer south from the Parador. From the parking area, you walk through a wooden bridge that take you through the forest to where the canoes await. This area is marked in the map as Guardianes de los manglares, which are the local cooperative of tours.
The canoe or kayak are guide tours, who know the path to take you through the different channels. The guide will explain the different vegetation or fauna, while he propels the canoe similar to the gondolas at Venice.
The tour crosses 800 meters of manglers ending at the Ría. You will be able to see from lizards, small crocodile and their babies, golden spiders and an eagle, amongst others.
As you exit the Ría, where the water waves make a shaky ride until you arrive to a small dock. Here is locate the forest recovery area (during a hurricane 20+ years ago it wiped an entire area of manglers. You can still see the remaining of the mangler trees a salinized lagoon.
At this point, moto-taxi (motor bike with a housing), takes you back to where you left your car.
When I finished day tour, it was late to visit the flamingos that are the attraction of Celestún. The last activity you must do, is dine at Pampanos restaurant watching the sunset over the golf sea.