Pink lakes, flying flamingos and ancient Mayan ruins await in the state of Yucatan! Cancun’s friendly neighbors to the west welcome you to explore the beauty of Yucatan state with natural wonders and historical sites that will change how you see the world.
Of course everyone has heard of Chichen Itza, the most famous archaeological site in Yucatan but many tourists miss the chance to see the real wonders of the state and it’s stunning “Emerald Coast” aka “Flamingo Coast” on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. For those who have “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” for the top Cancun tours, we invite you to try something new and extraordinary with a Yucatan day trip from Cancun. Here are three of our FAVE Yucatan attractions to discover, and you can explore them all in one day!
The Pink Lakes of Las Coloradas, Yucatan
Seeing the pink lakes of Las Coloradas for the first time is a surreal experience, you truly won’t believe your eyes. Las Coloradas, Yucatan is a tiny village focused on salt production and fishing and is part of the Rio Lagartos Biosphere. This is NOT a huge tourist destination, it’s a working salt factory set on the same site that was used thousands of years ago by the ancient Maya to extract salt for their own use and for trade. The water is pink due to the concentration of microorganisms of red algae and brine shrimp in shallow waters, creating a magical color. With blue skies, fluffy white clouds and pink lakes, it’s a picture-perfect site and a great draw for photographers and lovers of nature.
Rio Lagartos Biosphere
Rio Lagartos (aka Ria Lagartos) is a protected nature reserve on the coast of Yucatan. Here you will embark on a small boat for a tour of the river, estuaries and mangroves where you’ll see a huge variety of sea birds (it really is bird watching paradise), crocodiles and the flocks of flamingos that make Yucatan their home. Flamingos are pink for the same reason as Las Coloradas, they consume the microorganisms of red algae and brine shrimp which turns their white feathers to pink! Seeing them run across the water to take off in flight is an awesome experience! Your guide will bring you to an area of mineral rich clay where you will enjoy a “Mayan mud bath”, a totally natural “spa” experience that will leave your skin feeling like a newborn! You can rinse and refresh and relax on a private beach that you can only access by boat before enjoying a delicious and oh so fresh seafood lunch in town.
Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam
The final stop of your Yucatan day trip from Cancun is at the Mayan ruins site of Ek Balam (meaning “Black Jaguar” in Maya). While it may not be as famous as Chichen Itza, Tulum or Coba, it is one of our FAVES as it is never crowded and you can still climb the structures. The main pyramid is the Acropolis, a soaring building with some of the best preserved carvings in the Mayan world and well worth the 95 foot climb up the steep stairs. Ek Balam was an important Mayan city at its peak around 700-1000 AD and it was only recently investigated by archaeologists (the Acropolis was uncovered in 1997!) The local guides will share their knowledge and give you a taste not only of the history, but of the fascinating culture of the ancient and modern Maya people.
On your next Cancun vacation, be sure to step outside the routine, get out of your lounge chair and enjoy a Yucatan tour from Cancun. Immerse yourself in the fascinating history, culture and nature of one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico.