The largest flocks of flamingos in North America are right here in the wetlands of the Yucatán. The joy of seeing the salmon-pink masses of these elegant birds is a heartwarming experience and a photographer's dream come true. Once exclusive to the Ría Lagartos area, they changed their living habits after the category 5 Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. After Gilbert, colonies started to form in Celestún. Then they started appearing by the hundreds in Uaymitún. Presently there are some 25,000 flamingos in the Yucatán.
To see the flamingos in Ría Lagartos or Celestún, you have to take a boat ride. To see them in Uaymitún, you can visit the lookout tower that is right next to the road. Admission is free and the caretakers will lend you some binoculars. Flamingos are funny birds, the way they stand around on one leg in shallow water. To eat, they turn their heads upside down and drag their beaks along the bottom, inhaling the mud that contains the shrimp, fish and minerals that they eat. The minerals give them their unique color.
Flamingos are nervous birds, so we ask that you don't scare them or try to make them fly. Ifyou are lucky enough, you'll get to see them in natural flight early in the morning or at sunset. It's quite a sight. Enjoy them in silence and take lots of pictures!