Were it not for its amazing flamingo-filled lagoon, Celestún, 93km west of Mérida, would be little more than a one-boat fishing village. It’s literally the end of the road, dead-straight for most of the drive through the forest, until you emerge and cross a bridge to the end of a sandbar on the northwest coast of the peninsula. The town has grown a tiny bit in the twenty-first century (with an ATM and a petrol station, finally), but still has a castaway feel; it’s busy only on occasional Sundays and during Mexican holidays.

The beach is wide, and the sea is cloudy yet clean – but it’s the birds in the 600-square-kilometre Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve here that are the real draw. A typical boat tour takes in the flamingos, most numerous from November to May, when blue-winged teal and shovellers also migrate. Dedicated birders can hire a skilled guide, or, if you want something more active, you can bike and canoe through the mangroves.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Mexico features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The colours of Mexico captured in 14 pictures

The colours of Mexico captured in 14 pictures

Travel photographer Tim Draper has shot images for more than 20 Rough Guides guidebooks, visiting far-flung corners around the world. Here he shares some of h…

21 Jun 2016 • Tim Draper insert_drive_file Article
Marvellous Mexico: 8 insider tips from our authors

Marvellous Mexico: 8 insider tips from our authors

Surviving 42ºC (107ºF) desert heat, tramping hurricane-battered Pacific beaches and scaling lofty volcanoes, our hard-travelling authors have visited every co…

06 Jun 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Cozumel: an insider's guide to Mexico's Caribbean jewel

Cozumel: an insider's guide to Mexico's Caribbean jewel

Most people visit Mexico's Isla Cozumel for one of two reasons: to scuba dive, or to kill time with food and drink before their cruise ship takes off again. Eve…

03 Jun 2016 • Mandy Gardner insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month