Celestún is a beautiful, sleepy beach town about 1.5 hours away from Mérida. Set inside a huge biosphere reserve, it is famous for its wide white sand beach, flamingo population and mangrove forest.
People go to Celestún to enjoy nature. It is home to hundreds of species of birds including flamingos, woodpeckers, pelicans, eagles, hummingbirds and herons as well as a fascinating eco-system supported by the extensive mangrove forests.
To really experience the beauty of this place the best thing to do is to take a boat trip out to the Ria, where you will enjoy seeing the changing colours of the water and flocks of pinker than pink flamingos until you enter the dark and mysterious waterways of the mangrove. The boat trip lasts about 2 hours and finishes with a stop at an ojo de agua where fresh spring water bubbles up in the middle of the woods and you can swim.
Flamingos! Make sure you don’t ask your guide to get closer to the flamingos. Boats should stay away from them so as not to disturb them. Just make sure you take a camera with a good zoom (not like mine!).
There are also lots of Canadian pelicans
The water is so still and peaceful, its almost dreamlike.
Entering the mangroves there is a sudden shift in the atmosphere. Suddenly the light is scarce, filtering down through the dense canopy. You can hear animals all around. Because of the time of year when I took these photos, the mangrove forests had a blood red tint in the water. It was really magical drifting through the dense forest in the boat – we felt like we’d entered another world.
This is where the boat stops off at the ‘Ojo del agua’. We heard monkeys swinging in the trees overhead but didn’t catch sight of them.
If you’re not in a hurry, and you really shouldn’t be if you’re in Celestún, you can spend the rest of the day on the beach and eating under a palapa at one of the restaurants on the shore, watching the stunning sunset. My favourite is called La Palapa where I love to order pescado frito……yum!
Buses depart Mérida for Celestún every hour from the Noreste Terminal on Calle 67 between 50 and 52. The trip takes about 2 hours.