How To Visit The Pink Lakes Las Coloradas In Yucatán (2024)

A woman in a white dress walking on a beach with pink water.

When I traveled to Mexico, I had the amazing opportunity to see the pink lakes in Mexico, offering me a firsthand look at this unique destination. To help those interested in visiting Las Coloradas in Yucatán, I’ll walk you through the journey, covering transportation options, on-site and off-site activities, the best times to visit, and recommended tours from Cancun or Merida.

A common worry for travelers is the distance of Las Coloradas from major cities and uncertainty about other activities in the area. I’ll tackle these concerns and more. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by the surreal beauty of the pink lakes.

At first, I doubted their existence when I saw photos online, assuming they must be edited. But, seeing the pink hues in person was a wonderful surprise. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico and are excited about visiting the Las Coloradas Pink Lake, this post is for you. I designed it to help you maximize your experience and give you an honest insight.

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About Las Coloradas in Yucatan

Why Is Las Coloradas Pink?

The vibrant hue of the Las Coloradas lakes is a natural wonder that captivates many. The lakes derive their distinct pink color from a mix of brine shrimp, plankton, and red algae that inhabit them.

These microorganisms thrive in the highly saline environment of the lakes and, as a result, give the water its unique pinkish tint. Another factor contributing to this unusual color is the high concentration of salt in the water. This attracts halobacteria, which are known to produce pink pigments.

How The Salt Is Produced

A thriving hub for salt production, an industry that has been active in the region for many years. The process of salt production here primarily uses the solar evaporation method, which is one of the oldest techniques used to produce salt.

This method involves allowing seawater to flow into shallow ponds, where the sun and wind gradually evaporate the water, leaving behind concentrated salt deposits. The area’s high salinity and sunny climate make it an ideal location for this natural and sustainable process.

No Swimming Allowed

It’s important to remember that these pink lakes are not just picturesque backdrops, but working industrial sites. As such, swimming is strictly prohibited in the lakes to maintain the integrity of the salt production process and protect the unique ecosystems that give the lakes their color.

Entry Fee and Hours of Operation

  • Open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
  • Entrance fee of $370 MXN ($22 USD).

Yucatan is an inexpensive area to visit for travelers, with these prices specifically being for international visitors. They play a crucial role in supporting the ongoing maintenance and conservation efforts of the area, along with the services of an English-speaking tour guide. Additionally, visitors have the opportunity to enhance their experience by opting for a bike or safari tour, albeit with additional charges.

Check Out The Afforable Hotel I Stay At In Merida!

The Best Time To Visit Las Coloradas

The best time to explore Las Coloradas in Yucatán is when the sun is at its peak. The overhead sunlight intensifies the pink hue of the lakes, making them appear even more stunning.

My best travel tip is to come on windy days. The wind stirs up the microorganisms in the water and intensifies the pink color in the lakes.

Despite the seasonal changes, the weather in this region remains fairly consistent throughout the year, making it an ideal destination for any season. Whether you’re visiting Yucatan for just 4 days or a full week make sure to add Las Coloradas to your itinerary!

Visiting Chichen Itza Too? Read This Before You Go!

Things To Do At Las Coloradas

The Yucatan Peninsula is brimming with exciting bucket list experiences waiting to be checked off. Below are just some of the best things this area has to offer!

Three people posing in front of a sign that says ucatan.

Check out The Visitor Center

Start your journey at the visitor center. It’s a great place to learn about the area’s history, the salt production process, and the unique ecosystem that creates the pink hue of the lakes. The center also has a gift shop, an open-air cinema with a documentary playing, and information about any restrictions that might be in place.

Photoshoot by Your Tour Guide

Your guide will explain how the salt is made, from filling the brown water into the lagoon, to how it ends up with the vibrant pink colors, and details on the process. With minimal details to cover and the lake being non-swimmable, your guide arranges a “professional” photo shoot.

They are skilled in suggesting the best poses for you and your group, capturing photos from every perspective. One amusing trick involves standing next to the Yucatan sign with someone, setting your phone to a panoramic view, and then dashing to the opposite side “behind the camera” to appear twice in the photo!

Relax at Cancunito Beach

Just a short drive from Las Coloradas, Cancunito Beach is a hidden gem. With its white sands and clear waters, this beach is perfect for a picnic or a relaxing swim. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot sea turtles! I cover Cancunito Beach in more depth here!

Explore Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

Home to an abundance of wildlife like flamingos, crocs, and sea turtles, Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is a must-visit for nature lovers. You can check out this cool spot on a guided boat tour or hike. There’s a place close to where the Flamingos hang out, where you can hop off and put mud on yourself for a rejuvenating experience.

Visit Río Lagartos

This charming fishing village is located within the nature reserve and offers a glimpse into local life. Take a stroll along the waterfront, enjoy fresh seafood at a local restaurant, or join a fishing excursion.

Each of these activities offers a different perspective of Las Coloradas, so try to fit as many as you can into your itinerary.

How To Get To Las Coloradas

Las Coloradas is located on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. It’s the perfect stop for Yucatan road trip so you can explore the northern region.

However if you’re coming on a day trip from Merida, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen you can follow these steps to get there.

Traveling from Merida

  • By Car: Jump onto Highway 176 heading towards Tizimin. From there, follow the road to Rio Lagartos and then a short jaunt to Las Coloradas. Time on the road? Around 3 hours of catchy tunes and scenic views!
  • By Bus: Opt for a slower pace with a bus ride from Merida to Tizimin. Next, catch a bus to Rio Lagartos and finish up with a quick taxi ride. This route takes about 4 hours – plenty of time for some window-gazing and daydreaming!
  • Tour Option: Want a no-fuss experience? Book a tour! They’ll take care of the details and you’ll get insider info from expert guides.

I highly recommend this Affordable Tour To Las Coloradas from Merida!

Journeying from Cancun or Playa del Carmen

  • By Car: If you’re in Cancun, take the 180 Highway towards Valladolid. From Playa del Carmen, head out on the 307 Highway. Both routes should have you at your destination in about 3 hours.
  • By Bus: Hop on a bus from Cancun or Playa del Carmen to Valladolid, then another to Rio Lagartos, and finally, a quick taxi ride to Las Coloradas. It’s a longer journey (around 4 hours), but hey, it’s all part of the adventure!
  • Tour Option: Consider a tour for a stress-free, informative journey. You’ll sit back and relax while they handle the logistics.

Check out the Best Tour To Las Coloradas from Cancun & Playa del Carmen

FAQs

Is Las Coloradas man-made?

Yes, Las Coloradas is man-made. Las Coloradas, located in Mexico, is a series of artificially created pink salt lakes used for salt production. The vibrant pink color of the water comes from the high concentration of salt and microorganisms in the area, giving it a unique and picturesque appearance.

Is it worth visiting Las Coloradas?

Yes, it is definitely worth visiting Las Coloradas as long as you take the time to explore all the other attractions beyond just the pink lakes. Las Coloradas is famous for its stunning pink lakes however, the surrounding area offers much more to see and do. Visit places like the Biosphere Reserve, Río Lagartos, and Cancunito Beach to make the journey to this region of Yucatan worth a visit.

Is Las Coloradas always pink?

No, Las Coloradas is not always pink. During the salt-making process, the water initially appears brown. Once the lakes transition to the pink color, the shades can vary in intensity depending on factors such as weather conditions and the time of day. Las Coloradas’ pink hue is therefore not constant but can fluctuate.

Final Thoughts-

Visiting Lakes Las Coloradas in Yucatán is such a cool experience! You can get there by car, bus, or even a group tour. Personally, seeing the amazing pink lake in Mexico was mind-blowing. It’s so beautiful and real. My time at the lake really showed me how mesmerizing this biological wonder is. Check out my Best Cenotes in Yucatan next!

Happy exploring!

Kaylee Janell's signature

Read More on Yucatan Mexico!

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Find Your Next Vacation Destination Here!

Discover the vibrant pink lakes in Las Coloradas, Mexico. Explore the stunning beauty of these natural wonders in Yucatán.

What Are My Recommended Resources For Planning A Trip?

When planning my trip, I use my trusted trio of CheapOair, Viator, and Booking.com to provide a comprehensive solution for everything I need.

CheapOair is a go-to resource for affordable flight tickets. With its extensive network of over 600 airlines, it offers a wide array of choices, enabling you to easily compare prices and select the best deal that suits your budget and travel schedule.

Viator on the other hand, is an excellent platform for booking tours and activities. It provides access to thousands of sightseeing tours, attractions, and events in over 1,500 locations worldwide. It ensures you don’t miss out on the unique experiences each destination has to offer.

Booking.com is your reliable partner for accommodations. With over 28 million listings including hotels, apartments, and hostels, you can find the perfect place to stay that fits your budget and preference.

Together, these platforms make trip planning convenient, cost-effective, and fun. They ensure you have everything you need, from flights and accommodations to activities – at your fingertips.

Check Out My Resources Page For All My Recommended Travel Tools!

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