If you’ve ever dreamed of spending the day, lounging on a secluded beach, populated by flamingos, and while away your hours floating around without a care in the world…then Las Coloradas is your personal paradise. And the best part: It’s pink. It’s like a lake full of Pepto Bismol or Strawberry Quik, ooh, or even cooler, that ectoplasmic pink-colored slime from Ghostbusters Part 2! It’s where I imagine unicorns go to bathe and splash around.

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Bordering the Gulf of Mexico, the closest cities are about three hours away (i.e. Cancun and Playa del Carmen, both massively popular tourist destinations). This is a remote corner of the Yucatan Peninsula, and most people stay at Rio Lagartos. This is still a 30 minute drive away from the pink lakes, but it’s the largest town in the area. However, due to its relative remoteness, and the fact that there’s not too much going on in the village of Las Coloradas (I mean, there’s not even a place to stay). On the plus side: you won’t have to deal with raging hordes of tourists or spring breakers. That’s one of the major perks of the Pink Lakes, they’re pretty secluded and peaceful.

What is up with that pink water?

Salt production is and has been for centuries the major industry of this region, going back to the ancient Mayans. Salt from the ocean water floods the plains from the mangroves, creating relatively shallow lakes (about a foot deep). The sun then dries out the lakes, leaving the plains covered in salt. Though the process of salt production is a natural one, the lakes here are all man-made. So what makes it pink? The color of the lakes is due to the red and pink-colored algae and tiny, and the concentrated amount of little organisms that live in the lake.

Because the water is only a foot deep, most people take a float with them and spend the day lounging. It’s also important to note that the water is very, very, very salty. So, if you have a cut on your body, it’s gonna sting for a sec. And due to the amount of invertebrates, brine shrimp, plankton, and algae that gives the water its pretty pink color, the water is slightly on the thicker side.

The area is pretty remote and is part of the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, a protected wetlands area, so please be respectful. There are even sea turtle nesting areas along the beach, please give them their space! In fact there are over 380 species of birds, and the reserve is home to 95 different reptile species and 58 different mammals. Spread across the 1500 acre preserve are jaguars, crocodiles, and sea birds. But, the most adorable however, at least in this writers opinion, are the flamingos. With their bright pink feathers, delicate black beaks, and skinny legs that would make even the most jaded Brooklyn hipster jealous…they’re just ridiculously charming!

How to make this happen

If you fly into Cancun, you can either rent a car or hop on a bus to the town of Rio Lagartos. This is your best bet if you’re planning on spending a day or two in the area around the Pink Lakes. There are lots of tour operators in town, places to stay, and good restaurants. As a homebase for your adventure, hit up one of the boat tours that will usher you around the mangroves, and take you up close and personal with the adorable flamingos. If you don’t plan on staying local, then prepare to drive for about 3 hours there and back. The key directions to keep in mind: Once you get to the intersection of Highway 295 and 180, you’re on your way to Rio Lagartos. But, before you get to the town, you’ll see signs for Las Coloradas, just follow those.

NOTE: It’s highly recommended to rent a car, as there are tons of bus stops and changeovers. So it could cost you an entire day of travel if you go the public transport route.

Once you check into your hotel at Rio Lagartos, you can always just book a tour that will stop at the lake. Keep in mind that there is more to this area than just the pink lake. For instance, there’s the small fishing village of San Felipe, home to some great seafood joints.

A few more unforgettable adventures…

Kayaking on a glacier is maybe the most ridiculous experience that’s totally worth it

 

This real-life desert oasis is straight out of Indiana Jones

 

Read More at Apenoni.com, OurEscapeClause, and ExpertVagabond

Featured image by Walter Rodriguez via Wikipedia CC

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