The Pink lakes of Mexico which are quite often confused with the pink lagoon of Australia had been on my radar for quite sometime now. I was constantly coming across beautiful photos of these pink lakes somewhere in Mexico and this Summer I got a chance to cross this experience off my bucket-list! We stayed in Tulum for two weeks and made a day trip out to Las Coloradas in Rio Lagartos, Mexico. Las Coloradas is in the Ria Lagartos UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where you can find flamingos, turtles and jaguars among many other sea birds. The reserve covers 150,000 acres.
Las Coloradas is located in Rio Lagartos and this in not to be confused with Las Coloradas in Tobasco. These two places are in opposite directions and you will need to ensure that you pick the one that takes you to Rio Lagartos.
Tip: Download the offline Google maps of the area you are staying and travelling in to better help you navigate around especially, if you don’t have a local data plan or sim card.
With a three hour journey ahead of us, we made sure we set out early enough to return back before sunset as there are long stretches of roads with no highway lights. Of course, that didn’t happen because we lost track of time when we saw the pink lakes. We had rented a car so we set out right after breakfast. We set out on Highway 307 and got on Highway 109 towards Coba.
Tip: If you begin your day trip early enough, you can visit Coba on the way to the Pink Lakes and visit two places at once! Coba closes at 5pm and climbing the ruin is restricted after 430pm.
From Highway 109, we took H180 and then H295 which will take you straight to the Pink Lakes of Las Coloradas. The journey to the pink lakes was a very scenic one as we drove through endless stretches of roads with lush greenery and butterflies. You will know you’ve arrived when you see huge salt mountains on your right hand side. We were so amazed by this as we had never seen salt mountains as huge as these. The road led us into the local town which sits right next to the lakes. Upon arriving into the town, we saw locals with tourist information boards which is not necessary to access the lakes. It is however, forbidden to get into the lakes. You can either drive or walk along the paved roads instead.
Tip: The locals were very persistent in trying to sell us a guided tour for 200 pesos which is not needed. The lakes are open to all without any entrance fees.
We couldn’t believe we were finally standing next to the pink lakes of Las Coloradas. We felt overwhelmed with joy and then began the endless photos and videos. On a good day, you’ll see hundreds of flamingos in the lakes, but we only got a glimpse of a couple but the lakes were more than enough to take in.
The pink hues were unbelievable and if you’re wondering how they get that color, I’ll explain. The color is attributed to plankton, red-colored algae, and brine shrimp that love this salty environment. These organisms become more concentrated as the water evaporates which in turn creates the bright pink color.
We spent a total of three hours until we realized it was getting dark and we had to head back. It was an amazing day full of beautiful memories along the pink lakes (Laguna Rosa) of Las Coloradas. If this is a place that’s been on your bucket-list, then I would highly recommend visiting and checking it off yours.
Stay tuned for video travel guide on YouTube coming soon. Meanwhile, make sure to follow along my social media for daily updates! @shafeensaheed (instagram)