A must stop while touring around Merida in the winter months (November-March) is Celestun. Celestun is a small fishing town located one-and-a-half hours northwest of Merida and is home to more than 200 bird species, featuring vast flocks of pink flamingos that migrate to the Celestun Biosphere Reserve during the winter months.
The drive to Celestun on Friday was longer than anticipated as we passed through several small towns with plenty of speed bumps, motorcycle taxis, bicycles and street dogs playing in the middle of the road to slow us. As soon as we had parked in Celestun’s main plaza we were quickly approached by Carlos who “sold us” on a two hour boat ride around the Reserve to see the flamingos. Departure time was uncertain though as he still wanted to try and fill the last two seats on the eight-seat boat. While we waited for our boat to depart (in the end it took close to two hours) we had a drink at the beach bar and strolled along the white sand, which was covered with beautiful, colorful seashells.
Greg and I were the first ones to board so we took the best seats in the middle of the boat (as suggested by Carlos). There was one small problem though, the boat featured eight wobbly seats, but our group ended up having nine people. Our captain was quick to solve this problem and placed a plastic Sol beer chair between the front two seats of the boat (voila we all had seats!) and then proceeded to move all the life vests to the very front of the boat so they would not be in anyone’s way. Greg, being very Canadian, gave me a look and all I had to say is “it is Mexico”. Needless to say no one put on their old, stinky life vest.
For the two hours we were on the boat we saw what must have been thousands of birds, which included pelicans, herons, seagulls, and most importantly of all flamingoes; we even spotted three crocodiles! We also boated through several mangroves with trees that sported giant termite nests; and we even stopped at a fresh-water natural spring for a 10-minute break.
I have to say that seeing the flamingoes was pretty cool and made the whole trip worth it, even the extra bumpy ride back to the start, when our captain went all Speed 2, full throttle crashing through waves that left everyone constantly vibrating and bouncing up and down in their seats for 30 minutes.
I will leave it to the photos to show how sweet Mother Nature is.