Las Coloradas, Mexico |The Weird and Wonderful Pink Salt Lakes of Las Coloradas

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas

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After a morning at the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam we headed towards the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsular to visit Las Coloradas and see the flamingoes in Rio Lagartos.  I had planned to stop at Tizimin for lunch at a local restaurant that was rated rather well on google maps. When we reached the town centre of Tizimin, we easily found a spot to park our hire car, just a block from the town square and the restaurant Tres Reyes.

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin bke

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin village square

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin cow truck

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin shop window

Tizimin town itself does have not much to offer tourists; even the town square and the obligatory church would not be worth stopping for on your drive to the coast unless you need some provisions or a lunchtime spot.  However, it was interesting to see the locals sit and enjoy their lunchtime on the square en route to the restaurant for a traditional Mexican lunch.

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin palm window

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin square

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin church

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin taco stand

The menu at Restaurant Tres Reyes was very local with Sopa de Lima and many other local specialties mixed in with a few more child friendly dishes. The décor of the restaurant appeared to be stuck sometime in the 60s, which seemed to go with the laid back feel of the town, and combined with the food certainly meant the place deserved the high rating on google. It also seemed to be very popular with locals, as there were plenty of people popping in to collect their takeaway lunches.

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin restaurant tres reyes

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin restaurant deco

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin restaurant tres reyes food

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin window

After eating we headed straight on to Las Coloradas, the rest of the drive there was quite unexciting, across the acres of low scrub jungle that covers much of the Yucatan, the only break was seeing children leave their schools for the day piled two or even three on a bike.

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin school

Travel with children kids mexico tizimin water tower

Las Coloradas is not on most people’s itineraries when touring the Yucatan peninsular. I had spotted a picture of it on instagram and was blown away by the colours of the lakes and therefore had decided to make the small detour on our way to see the flamingos in Rio Lagartos.

Las Coloradas are artificial salt lakes, fed by seawater through pipes connected to the Caribbean Sea. The water is pumped into the lakes and then left to dry in the sun leaving the salt crystals behind. Once dried up the salt is gathered by diggers and then loaded onto trucks. We could see the white salt mountains, glistening in the sunlight when we drove past.

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas salt mountains

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas lakes

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas salt lakes

We were not disappointed as when we finally reached the end of the coastal road at Las Coloradas, mainly a village for the workers of the Las Coloradas salt works, and saw the salt lakes to our right. Online it said that officially the salt lakes are off limits for visitors, but the public road goes alongside some of the lakes, plus there was no one around, except that we could see some trucks and diggers in the far distance.

We parked our car right next to the edge of one of the lakes and got out of the car. We were soon joined by a group of Mexican tourists that were actually looking for Rio Lagartos but had taken the wrong turn. They seemed to be as mesmerised as us by the pink colours of the lakes in contrast to the light blue sky. Depending on the way we looked at the water the colour of the pink seemed to change to a lighter pink or a darker, more reddish hue. The sun and clouds reflecting on the water made it even more magical. I am sure the majority of girls and boys would love to see the pink water of the lakes and paddle in the shallow salt waters, it is something you do not get the chance to see in many places.

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas

I would advise to come when the sun is not at its highest point as the light is better for taking photos but also be aware if the sun is not sunny the colours might not be as bright. Our receptionist told us that if you visit at the wrong time, the water might be more of an orange/brown colour, than pink.  Also you need to find a lake at the right evaporation stage as the colours move towards brown in the later more concentrated stages.

We took off our shoes and started to walk into the water. We could feel the salt crystals crunch underneath our bare feet. I had a small cut on one of my feet and the salt water stung, therefore I got out again immediately. I have seen photos of people swim in the water, I guess you probably could, but we felt it was not appropriate to do so. I took plenty of pictures and then we decided to drive a bit further into the array of lakes. We drove around the corner to get a different angle off the lakes and the light and soon discovered that the lakes from here were not as pink but more red and brown and so we moved on to drive back along the coastal road to Rio Lagartos.  If you do visit and cannot find the right pink move around and check different salt pans and light angles.

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas sun reflectiion

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas clouds

At a brief stop at one of the paths leading to the nearby beach, we realized that the sea here was rather murky and the beach covered in seaweed and therefore not worth considering for a swim. This was just as well as we later were glad to have more time at our next stop, Rio Lagartos.

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas caribbean sea

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas beach

Travel with children kids mexico las coloradas beach

11 thoughts on “Las Coloradas, Mexico |The Weird and Wonderful Pink Salt Lakes of Las Coloradas

  1. Hi Vanessa, awesome pictures! I am heading to the Yucatán in May and would like to visit this place but I want to make sure it will still be worth it, based on the “off limits” article I read. The only place online where it said that these lakes are off-limits is here (https://www.google.com/amp/s/expertvagabond.com/las-coloradas-pink-lake/amp/)
    Is that the same article you were referring to when you said you saw online that it was off limits? If so, I think the person who wrote it may just be saying that because he is getting paid to advertise the tours that he links to. What month did you go to these lakes? If you were able to access them not so long ago, hopefully I will be able to in a month.

    Thanks in advance, Mike

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for your time to read my post. We visited the lakes in November and didn’t experience any problems. There even were trucks from the salt company going past us a few times. I think providing you are considerate and turn up with a huge floaty like guy in the post was you should be fine. We even drove along some of the dirt tracks to see the fields from a different angle, past the first few fludded fields. I assume that you wouldn’t take the risk of going to far into the lakes or climb any fences to get access. I recommend rent a car, go on your own and drive along the coastal road to the entrance of the village and you should be able to see the lakes from there. Don’t attempt to swim, the water is very shallow and the salt might sting and the crystals can be quite sharp. Only go on a sunny day and ideally a few hours before or after midday because then the light is best! Also be aware that the pink colour only occurs when the water in the lakes is half evaporated. One tip check on instagram any recent posts for an up to date view of the colour. Visiting the lakes and Rio Lagartos was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Yucatan. Enjoy!

  2. Thanks for the detailed response! I appreciate it a lot. I am renting a car for sure, so I’ll be able to drive up to it.

    Keep up the good work on your site, it’s great!

    1. Mike,
      You’re welcome. Enjoy your stay in the area and I hope you’ll get great photos of the lakes. Please let me know if you encounter any difficulties during your time there,
      Vanessa

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