The Pink Lakes are located only a few hours north of Valladolid on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico; it is one of those places we have seen many times in pictures and we have always wanted to visit ever since we flew over them on a flight leaving Cancun a few years ago. The pink lakes are salt evaporation ponds, caused by microorganisms in the water that change the colours into a vibrant pink. It is a place you have to see to believe.
Las Coloradas is next to Rio Lagartos, which makes these two destinations a must visit attraction. You can get here very easily from Valladolid, it is about a 2-hour drive to the north, where the Yucatan Peninsula meets the Gulf of Mexico. It is on the edge of the Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Lagartos, so there are many unique landscapes and amazing bird species to be spotted. We arrived on a perfect day, surrounded by blue skies, flamingos and pink lakes was definitely a memorable experience.
The pink lakes are caused by a natural process but have been harnessed by people for the collection of salt. The lakes are salt evaporation ponds, caused by microorganisms (algae, plankton, and brine shrimp) in the water that make it pink. The process is now controlled by man; the lakes are periodically drained and re-filled with fresh salt water every 6 months in order to harvest the salt crystals.
While it is definitely “romanticized” by the abundance of Instagram worthy shots that can be obtained here it is still a very cool destination to discover. We were very lucky to see flamingos, as they begin migrating to the other side of the Yucatan through the winter, so we arrived just in time.
On the same road that takes you to Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas you can stop by at the Ek Balam ruins in the morning if you want to kill 3 birds with 1 stone. It was one of the most unique places to visit on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and only 30 minutes from Rio Lagartos, and when the two are combined into a day trip, it makes for a perfect day.