Published: January 29th 2009January 15th 2009
Today we made a day trip to the town of Celestún, which has a beach on the Gulf of Mexico. The town is mostly visited for birdwatching tours (notable for flamingos), since it is close to a wide, shallow river (Ria de Celestún) coming into the Gulf. This is the Celestún Bird Sanctuary. We took a bus from Merida for about 3h to the tiny town of Celestún, which looked deserted when we arrived. We were unsure of where to go to get to the beach and tours, when a man came running up, ascertained that we wanted a flamingo/mangrove tour, and told us how to get to the beach, and that he would come find us later. In fact, this is pretty much a rule when looking for tours in the Yucután; you´ll know where to go by the tens of people heckling you to come on THEIR tour.
So when the guide had gathered a boatload of people, we all paid him and got on the boat, which took off at top speed along the coast. The beach was covered with little shells, and although the day was overcast, the water was a clear sea-foam colour.
drove for about 15 minutes down the coast until we entered the river. Along the way, we saw many kinds of birds; white and black pelicans, terns and cormorants. Down the river, our driver found a flock of flamingos, to which we were able to get quite close. On the way back, we visited a small boardwalk through the mangroves which line the sides of the river. We could wade in the clear, warm water coming from underground springs.
On the river, there were many crab fishermen, who waded through the chest-deep water dragging large nets and holding on to the side of their boats. They did not appear to be wearing pants. They were constantly harassed by gulls, but appeared pretty good-tempered anyway, waving large crabs in the air at us as we passed by.
There are more photos below