This post is also available in: Dutch

Latest update: 12 May 2023

Las Coloradas is a tip I got from the Mexican laundromat owner in 2018. At that time, it hasn’t made it to everyone’s Yucatán itinerary, which made it extra fun for me. At least, that’s what I thought…

Extinct Las Coloradas

Las Coloradas is the name of a tiny village and its lakes. The locals live from fishing and salt production. They may fully focus on tourism one day, but definitely not in 2018. Apart from viewing the lakes, there is nothing to do. The beach is not that pretty and is full of fishing boats. There is one restaurant which is closed when I am there. So take plenty of snacks with you!

I was about alone when I visited the pink lakes in early 2018. But online, I read that more and more tours are finding their way to Las Coloradas. Instagram photos from influencers have given Las Coloradas a popularity boost.

Nowadays, you can easily visit the pink lakes with a tour. Check your options at GetYourGuide.

The route: Valladolid – Tizimín – Río Lagartos – Las Coloradas

I visited Las Coloradas from Valladolid. I took an early Oriente bus from the ADO bus station (28 pesos) to Tizimín. There I took a bus to Las Coloradas at the Noreste bus station. Unfortunately, that bus only runs twice a day (8.45 and 10.30 am in 2018).

Bus station Tizimín Noreste Mexico

Tizimín is a typical place where you only come to transfer to another bus. However, I still had some time before the bus leaves for Las Coloradas to visit the market and zoo quickly. It is a bit of a strange zoo where dogs, goats, and pigeons are kept next to the lions and monkeys.

From Tizimín, it is another hour and a half to Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas. Río Lagartos is home to Mexico’s largest flamingo colony. You can book a boat tour to view the flamingos and to see Las Coloradas, the pink lake. Ensure you agree with the guide on what you visit and how long the tour lasts. I skipped Río Lagartos because I saw many flamingos in Celestun. I traveled directly to Las Coloradas.

Honestly, this trip by public transport is way too much effort for just the pink lakes. Within half an hour, I have seen Las Coloradas. I have my photos, and there is little else to do. So I advise you to combine your visit with Río Lagartos.

Don’t swim in Las Coloradas

When I got off the bus, I was surrounded by men offering tours. I wasn’t up for it, especially when they started asking me for dollars instead of pesos. Finally, I got annoyed and decided to see Las Coloradas on my own. That meant I couldn’t go everywhere in the area, but I didn’t feel I missed anything. You are not allowed to enter the water anyway, not even to dip your toes in. The pink lakes are private property and are closely guarded, thanks to all the Instagram madness. That is why an entrance fee is charged for specific areas.

Why is the water pink?

The water is really pink here. Not as pink as on Instagram, of course, but still. The lakes are man-made. The salty seawater evaporates and leaves sea salt behind. The sea salt is processed in the factory in the village. Because the water is so shallow, the concentration of red algae, plankton, and brine shrimp makes it pink.

Tour, rent a car or public transport

Unfortunately, there is still minimal bus transport to Tizimín in 2018, which has not improved, judging by what I read online. But luckily, a taxi passes by. A taxi is like a colectivo here, so for 60 pesos, I’m back at the bus station of Tizimín. Suppose you have a car (a reliable car rental company in Mexico is Sunny Cars). In that case, this trip is a lot easier to do. Then you can also make a few pleasant stops along the beach where turtles lay their eggs. In any case, I don’t think a tour is necessary; it’s OK to visit by yourself… if you take your time.

But! Various tours are available. Check out GetYourGuide:

More Mexico inspiration?

blog overview Mexico
  • Accommodation. All-time favorite: Booking.com. Find hostels via Hostelworld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. You could also try WithLocals. ‘Free’ walking tours are available at GuruWalk. And for bike tours, try Baja Bikes.
  • Attractions and museums. Get a 5% discount on museums and attractions at Tiqets with the coupon code KIMOPREIS22.
  • Bus. Book bus trips in Mexico with Busbud or 12Go.
  • Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. If you want more options, compare prices at Discover Cars.
  • Flights. Compare all your options! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? You have many options! For the Dutch, try ANWB vakanties, Tui or Sawadee, or maybe you can find a sweet deal at Vakantie Discounter or D-reizen?
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
  • Travel guides. I love the practical travel guides from Lonely Planet, buy them at Bol.com or Amazon.
  • Visum. Make sure you have the right documentation to travel to Mexico. iVisa can help you out.
  • Yoga retreat. Or: try a yoga retreat in Mexico!

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First published: February 2019. Updated since.

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