There is one road into the Northern tip of the Yucatan peninsula and to the fishing village of Rio Lagartos. Located on a lagoon, declared a protected biosphere by UNESCO in 2004, the waters and wetlands are incredible breeding grounds for birds and home to a wide range of reptiles and animal life. We traveled to Rio Lagartos to see the waterfowl, especially the flamingos, and to learn about the climate importance of this area. Eco–tours are the main attraction in Rio Lagartos. Tourism has brought waterfront bars and restaurants to this sleepy town, but the heart and soul of this fishing village of 4000 inhabitants are still authentic.
Getting out on the water looked so inviting. Our exceptionally bio-conscious guide Diego Nunez Martinez, owner of Rio Lagartos Adventures made the day’s boat excursion a fascinating, educational, and memorable outing. It was wonder filling to see the Flamingos feeding in the shallow waters, flocks of birds on sandbars, and crocodiles on the mangrove shores. Our tour included sightings of the pink ponds where salt is slowly extracted from the sea and Mayan mud treatment. Our day ended with a delicious lunch of fresh fish, margarita, and chips at Ria Maya Restaurant, the family restaurant of our guide, Senor Martinez. The eco-tour, the expansive views, walking the streets of this tiny town, and gaining a better understanding of nature’s delicate balance put Rio Largatos on my map of places to return to.
Our road trip continued with a trip to the quiet town of Sisal, an important port city during colonial times. Sisal is known for its beautiful beaches. While the town is slowly growing to accept more tourism, Sisal is an easy day trip from Merida. Sisal is surrounded by miles of shoreline and inlets of mangroves and lagoons. After an invigorating motorboat ride along the coast, we entered a stunning bird-filled lagoon on Kayaks. Our nature tour guide, from Ziz Ha Tours, led us across the lagoon to a mangrove-lined stream. We paddled through the sun-dappled dense forest, along the exposed roots of the mangroves to a freshwater swimming hole. After a refreshing swim and nature information session, we slowly returned to the boat. Kayaking amid the mangroves and the windswept open water was so humbling. Our tour included a perfect lunch on a natural secluded beach. It was so beautiful to sip tequila, and coconut water and eat fresh ceviche on tortilla chips on the sandy shore before our return.
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