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All about Río Lagartos in Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Day Trips


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Author: Tobias

The biosphere reserve Río Lagartos is a great place for nature and animal lovers. A boat trip in the lagoon is a highlight. Río Lagartos is about 215km away from Mérida. The journey by car takes about 2h 40min from the city center of Mérida and the place is most of the time bustling.



Day Trips


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Río Lagartos, Yucatán, Mexiko





+52 986 100 4352


215km from Mérida

Travel Time:

2h 40min from Mérida


No entry fee

Price Level:




Google Rating:

average rating is 4.8 out of 5, based on 466 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: Closed
• Tuesday: Open 24 hours
• Wednesday: Open 24 hours
• Thursday: Open 24 hours
• Friday: Open 24 hours
• Saturday: Open 24 hours
• Sunday: Open 24 hours

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Casa Loltún Vacation Rentals

Rent a wonderful restored 19th-century colonial house or a new apartment in the historic city center of Mérida. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking for a unique and beautiful place to stay!

Get ready to be blown away by a unique blend of colonial heritage and modern architecture and dive straight into the vibrant life of the city!

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Río Lagartos

The biosphere reserve Río Lagartos is located on the Emerald Coast on the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula. Río Lagartos is actually a lagoon, not a river. It was incorrectly named by the Spanish conquistadors and the name then persisted.

Especially for nature lovers, a boat trip in the lagoon is a highlight. If you like, you can rent a boat for a 2-hour trip for about 2,000 pesos.

The exciting thing about the place is that there are different ecosystems, consisting of coastal dunes, wetlands, tropical dry and deciduous forest, savannah and mangroves.

As a result, there is a very diverse flora and fauna. There are more than 400 bird species, including rare toucans, herons and pelicans, falcons, storks, cormorants and sea eagles.

Most visitors look forward to seeing the flamingos, which are at the lagoon all year round. Crocodiles can often be seen as well. In 2004, the region was declared an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Crocodiles at Río Lagartos

The Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast (Costa Esmeralda in Spanish) is an unofficial name for the the 98 km long coastal area in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula. The name comes from the emerald colored water.

Some interesting figures:

Figures about Emerald Coast
Figures about Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast
The Emerald Coast

A few tips

Las Coloradas, a beautiful biosphere area, characterized by it's pink lagoons, mangroves forests and flamingos, is only a few kilometres away, so you should definitely combine the two destinations.

As already written, you should pay attention to the travel time, depending on how important the bird life is to you. Another tip: You should use insect protection, because especially in the mangroves there are a lot of mosquitoes.

If you want to photograph the flamingos (or animals in general), you should use a zoom lens. The boats stay at a safe distance to avoid disturbing the birds.

Without a decent zoom lens, the impressive flamingo will otherwise become just a pink blob on the photo. And on the other hand, an ultra-wide angle lens is a good choice for the landscape shots.

Pink Flamingos at Río Lagartos

How to get to Río Lagartos from Mérida?

Río Lagartos is a long day trip from Mérida. By car, take highway 176 east and at Tízmin take highway 295 north to Río Lagartos. The bus from Mérida to Río Lagartos leaves from the bus station "Terminal de Autobuses Noreste", Calle 67, No. 529 (Calle 67 x Calle 50).


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Best Mérida Day Trips

If you would like to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and Mérida with a guided tour, there are wonderful experiences from Viator. We have selected the three best tours for you.

You save time and nerves, get all the insider tips you need from an expert tour guide and can join up with others if you wish. And it's also safer to travel in a group.

Chichen Itza, Private Cenote, Food Experience & the magic Izamal

My Top Recommendation (likely to sell out)

Chichen Itza, Private Cenote, Food Experience & the magic Izamal

The very best Chichén Itzá tour and free cancellation. It starts from US-$97

average rating is 5 out of 5
Best Mérida Day Trips

Another very special experience

Tour to Cenote of Santa Barbara and Acanceh area from Merida

This! Super beautiful cenotes! You have free cancellation. It starts from US-$114

average rating is 5 out of 5
Best Mérida Day Trips

Not either/or, but also!

Celestun Beach Mangrove Boat Ride from Merida

One more must-have. You also have free cancellation. It starts from US-$122

average rating is 4.5 out of 5
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Viator Travel Promotions

Our partner and market leader, Viator, offers a wide range of exciting Thing to do in Mérida and on the Yucatán Peninsula.


Take advantage of special offers, save up to 20% and enjoy maximum flexibility with free cancelations. The most popular tours are booked up quickly, so don't miss out.

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