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Why This Underrated Coastal Town Near Cancun Is A Rising Haven For Skipping The Crowds

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Nestled in the coastal municipality of Tizimín, in the state of Yucatán, there lies a hidden gem for adventurous explorers – a small town known as Río Lagartos. 

Just under a four-hour drive away from Cancun, this charming town finds itself situated at the Ría Lagartos (not to be confused with the town’s name) Natural Reserve, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve celebrated for its remarkable biodiversity, especially its vibrant bird population. 

Once a humble fishing village, relying on bountiful catches of seafood such as octopus and lobster, Río Lagartos has now embraced tourism as its lifeline due to challenges like overfishing and fishing bans.

Rio Lagartos

Don’t worry; there’s still plenty of delicious seafood to be found at Río Lagartos – more on that later – but what truly makes this town special is its serene ambiance, stunning natural scenery, and a set of unique and thrilling activities that captivate travelers.

Besides, it’s a perfect escape from the bustling tourist hotspots of the likes of Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

So, let’s find out what this enchanting Yucatecan town has to offer, the must-do activities for nature and adventure lovers, and more!

Girl at Las Coloradas

Natural Wonders & Unique Experiences

To fully embrace the wonders of Río Lagartos, you simply can’t miss the opportunity to explore the captivating pink lakes of Las Coloradas

These mesmerizing bodies of water owe their unique hue to the high salt concentration, creating a dreamlike landscape that beckons photographers in search of the perfect shot.

To get the most out of your experience, it’s best to visit Las Coloradas during the dry season, that is, May to July, since the rain usually muddies the water and dims the lagoon’s bright pink color.

Given that Río Lagartos translates to “Alligator River,” it’s easy to infer that there might be more than a few of these swimming around.

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Las Coloradas

But that’s not all – you can actually visit crocodile farms to experience the thrill of a close encounter with these fascinating yet misunderstood creatures.

If you prefer to admire wildlife from a safe distance, worry not, as there are plenty of other delightful critters to observe and appreciate.

Embark on a boat tour through the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve and witness the spectacular sight of flamingos in their natural habitat.

With their vibrant pink plumage, these graceful birds create a stunning visual spectacle that will leave you in awe.


Just a short one-hour drive from Río Lagartos lies Ek Balam, a majestic Mayan archaeological site that will transport you back in time. 

And don’t forget to make a stop at the nearby cenote Xcanché, where you can cool off with a refreshing dip or embrace adventure by zipping across its crystalline waters.

Ek Balam

Top-Tier Seafood

As a fishing village, Río Lagartos is renowned for its delectable seafood dishes that showcase the fresh flavors of the sea.

Indulge your taste buds at La Mojarrita, a charming restaurant that not only serves mouthwatering seafood but also offers tours to Las Coloradas –  so there’s a chance to kill two birds with one stone for you (metaphorically, of course).


Be sure to try the tantalizing octopus and lobster dishes, prepared with expertise and love, showcasing the culinary traditions of the region.

The rich flavors and unique seasonings will leave your taste buds craving for more, providing a delightful culinary experience during your visit to Río Lagartos.

Superb Accommodations

When it comes to finding a comfortable place to rest after a day of exploring, Río Lagartos offers some excellent options.

The top-rated hotel in the area – and presumably the first to register the name – Hotel Río Lagartos is a favorite among visitors. 

boat in the water

With its cozy rooms, friendly staff, and convenient location, it provides a welcoming haven for travelers seeking relaxation.

If you’re looking for a more unique and rustic setting, consider staying at Casa Jade Eco Bungalows located at Las Coloradas.

Wake up to the soothing sounds of the ocean and enjoy breathtaking views right from your doorstep.

Both options provide comfortable accommodations and warm hospitality, ensuring a pleasant stay during your time in Río Lagartos.

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