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Travel Tips for Las Coloradas, the Pink Lake of Yucatan

Read all about Las Coloradas, Yucatan here, including the origins of the Pink Lake, how to get from Cancun to Las Coloradas, and more!

Picture a place where cotton candy dreams come to life, where nature paints the world in the softest shades of pink. Nestled along the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a hidden gem awaits discovery: Las Coloradas Pink Lake. 

This mesmerizing natural wonder is a sight to behold, a place where vibrant hues of pink blend seamlessly with the azure sky and crystal-clear waters. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the enchanting story of Las Coloradas, from its geological origins to its undeniable allure for travelers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience.

The first thing that strikes you about Las Coloradas is the surreal and vivid pink hue of its waters. This vibrant spectacle is a result of high salt concentrations and the presence of microorganisms, such as red plankton and brine shrimp. These microorganisms thrive in the lagoon due to its hypersaline conditions, and they contribute to the stunning pink coloration that blankets the water’s surface.

As you approach the lagoon, it’s as though you’ve stepped into an alternate reality, one where the laws of nature bend to create an otherworldly landscape. The sight of Las Coloradas is nothing short of breathtaking, making it an Instagram-worthy destination for travelers seeking a unique photo opportunity.

Las Coloradas Pink Lake
The reflections of Las Coloradas

The History of Las Coloradas, Yucatan

Las Coloradas may seem like a recent discovery, but its history dates back centuries. The region’s indigenous people, the Mayans, have known about these pink-hued waters for generations. They used the area as a source of salt production, a practice that continues to this day. The natural salt flats in Las Coloradas have become an essential part of the local economy.

The ancient Mayans were known for their deep connection to the land, and they revered natural wonders like Las Coloradas. Today, as you stand by the lagoon’s edge, you can’t help but feel a sense of reverence for the rich history and culture that envelops this captivating place.

Las Coloradas Pink Lake
The Nature of Las Coloradas

Why Is the Pink Lake Pink?

While the surreal pink coloration of Las Coloradas might appear magical, it’s a result of some fascinating scientific processes at work. The lagoon’s vibrant hue is primarily due to the high salt concentration in the water. This concentration is so extreme that it creates an environment where only a few species of microorganisms can survive.

One of these key microorganisms is Dunaliella Salina, a type of algae that thrives in hypersaline conditions. When these microorganisms multiply and the lagoon water evaporates, they release a red pigment called beta-carotene, which is also found in carrots. It’s this pigment that lends the water its pinkish-red hue. 

The more the water evaporates, the higher the concentration of salt and microorganisms, intensifying the pink color. 

Las Coloradas Pink Lake
The Man of Wonders at the Coloradas Pink Lake

When is the Best Time to Visit Las Coloradas

If you’re a photography enthusiast, Las Coloradas is a dream come true. The ever-changing shades of pink, from pastel to deep rose, offer endless opportunities for capturing mesmerizing shots. 

The contrast between the rosy waters, the stark white salt flats, and the vibrant blue sky creates a striking palette that’s as dynamic as it is visually arresting.

The best time to visit for photographers is during noon since you need both sunlight and winds to observe the pink colors to their fullest vibrancy. 

Sunrise and sunset are nice as well for photographing the ocean but you won’t see any pink colors at Las Coloradas during those times.

Las Coloradas Pink Lake
Sunset in Rio Lagartos, Yucatan

Why Do Flamingos Come to Las Coloradas?

Beyond its stunning aesthetics, Las Coloradas plays host to a diverse array of wildlife. Among its most famous residents are the flamingos. These elegant birds are drawn to the lagoon’s briny waters, where they feed on the abundance of shrimp and other small aquatic creatures. 

The flamingos’ vibrant pink plumage and graceful movements complement the lagoon’s surreal surroundings, creating a scene straight out of a nature documentary.

Flamingos are known for their distinctive coloring, which ranges from pale pink to deep crimson. This natural variation is a result of their diet, and Las Coloradas provides an ideal environment for these beautiful birds to thrive. 

Observing a flock of flamingos taking flight over the pink waters is a sight that will stay with you long after your visit.

Las Coloradas Pink Lake
Flamingos in Las Coloradas

Las Coloradas: What to Do and See

While Las Coloradas has gained international recognition for its pink lagoon, it remains a relatively undiscovered gem. The town of Las Coloradas itself is a small, close-knit community that warmly welcomes visitors. Exploring the local culture and cuisine is an essential part of the Las Coloradas experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor authentic Yucatecan dishes, such as cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork), panuchos (tortillas stuffed with refried beans and topped with various ingredients), and papadzules (tortillas filled with hard-boiled eggs and served with a pumpkin seed sauce). These dishes offer a tantalizing taste of the region’s rich culinary traditions.

Traditional Yucatan Food at Merida
Traditional Yucatan Food at Merida

Ecotourism in Las Coloradas

Las Coloradas’ pink lagoon is a must-see destination and it’s essential to approach your visit with a sense of responsibility. The fragile ecosystem of the lagoon is sensitive to human impact, and the growing popularity of the site poses potential risks.

Travelers are encouraged to respect the local environment by refraining from littering, touching the water, or disturbing wildlife. Sustainable tourism practices are essential to preserving the beauty and ecological integrity of Las Coloradas for future generations to enjoy.

Ever since recent years, to preserve the ecosystem, the salt company that owns Las Coloradas has started to offer guided ecotourism tours to the Pink Lagoon. You can check times and prices at 

The tour I recommend the most is the Safari Tour in which a tour guide explains to you the salinization process, takes you to the best spots to photograph Flamingos, and ends with a visit to a viewpoint from which you can enjoy a drone-like view of the entire area.

And speaking about drones, they are strictly forbidden in Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon to avoid disturbing the flamingos so don’t bring one. 

Las Coloradas Pink Lake
The Man of Wonders and the Mom of Wonders in Las Coloradas

How to Get to Las Coloradas from Cancun

If you’re coming from Cancun, the easiest way to approach Las Coloradas is to travel to Valladolid (a 2-hour bus ride) first by bus. From there, you can take a local bus (2 hours) going North to reach Las Coloradas.

Total travel time from Cancun to Las Coloradas is about 4 hours by car but public transportation can sometimes be very slow so plan accordingly.

If you’re coming from Merida, you need to travel to Valladolid first as well (a 2-hour bus ride) and from there to Las Coloradas.

The distance from Cancun to Las Coloradas is the same one as the one from Merida to Las Coloradas so just pick the one that has the best flights available to you.

If you ask me, the best way to move around Yucatan and Quintana Roo is to Rent a Car; this way, you won’t be tied down to bus schedules or tour schedules. 

Renting a Car in Mexico is one of the easiest and hassle-free ways to explore this wonderful country, my wonder friends!

Chichen Itza, one of the 7 Wonders of the World
Chichen Itza, one of the 7 Wonders of the World

Exploring Beyond the Lagoon: More Hidden Gems of Yucatan

While Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon is undoubtedly the star attraction of the area, there is much more to discover in the Yucatan Peninsula. 

Nearby attractions include the enchanting cenotes (natural sinkholes) that dot the landscape, ancient Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza, the bustling city of Merida (read here about the Day of the Dead Celebration in Merida), known for its colonial architecture and vibrant cultural scene, and Rio Lagartos, a natural reserve near Las Coloradas where you can find alligators, dolphins, flamingos and much more.

Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula while exploring these nearby destinations, you’ll love them!

Las Coloradas Pink Lake
Sunrise of Wonders in Rio Lagartos

A Final Word on Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon

Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon is not just a destination; it’s a journey into a world of wonder, where nature’s artistry and human history intertwine. The stunning pink waters, the majestic flamingos, and the warm hospitality of the local community combine to create an experience that is both magical and memorable.

As you stand by the lagoon’s edge, surrounded by the shimmering shades of pink, you’ll realize that Las Coloradas is not just a place—it’s a testament to the beauty and resilience of our planet. It reminds us that even in the most unexpected corners of the Earth, nature continues to paint masterpieces that leave us awestruck and inspired.

So, pack your camera, your curiosity, and your sense of wonder, and embark on a journey to Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon in Yucatan, Mexico. Prepare to be captivated by the surreal and mesmerizing world of pink that awaits you, and let the magic of this hidden gem leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.

Las Coloradas, YucatanLas Coloradas Pink Lake
Las Coloradas, Yucatan