A Day trip to Las Coloradas With kids

A few Years ago while scrolling through facebook...

I stumbled upon photos of an enchanting lake whose water was the color of COTTON CANDY. I was sure the pictures were photoshopped; how could a lake naturally be pink?

  Las Coloradas, Yucatán, México

Las Coloradas, Yucatán, México

After doing a bit of research, I found out that the lake was indeed real and located in Senegal, West Africa. I did a search for flights and once the ticket prices popped up, I realized that I wouldn't be seeing a pink lake anytime soon. 

 I then discovered that these lakes existed in Australia. This was also problematic because unless you come across a sale, an error fare or have tons of credit card points saved, tickets Down Under are going to set you back at least $1000. Not to mention the high prices on hotels, food, transportation and just about everything else in Australia. 

Before deciding to save a small fortune to see this natural phenomenon, I did a google search for other pink lakes around the world. I came to learn that you can also find them in Turkey, France, Bolivia and the Yucatán region of México.

Wait. México has a blush-tone lake? Maybe I wasn't going to have to sell my organs on the black market just to see pink water after all.

The Yucatán state is about a three hour drive from Cancún, making the trip easily accessible from the United States.
— Iliah, Negra Bohemian

In April, we went on a family vacation to Tulum and took a day trip to Las Coloradas. 

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what is las coloradas?

You already know about the pink water, but what makes Las Coloradas special is that there is also an orange lake across from the cotton candy-colored one.

Las Coloradas is right outside of the small town, Río Lagartos; this area also boasts a crocodile farm and biosphere reserve that is famous for its flamingo population. 

The lakes were made by a salt company and are used for salt production. The orange and pink hues are created by microorganisms, like plankton and algae, that thrive in salt water. You will also find diamond-like chunks of salt along the shore that are quite the sight to see!

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how to get to las coloradas from the riviera maya

  • There are different ways to get to Las Coloradas from the Riviera Maya and Cancún, but when traveling with  kids renting a car is the easiest route.
     
  • Be sure to rent a car with a GPS system. We drove to the lakes from Tulum and our trip started out as a straight shot. Once we were about an hour and a half away from the area, we had to take lots of different twists, turns and exists through small towns to arrive. Trust me when I say that you will be lost without a navigation system. 
     
  • Las Coloradas is becoming a popular tourist destination and there are now companies that operate tours from Cancún and the Rivera Maya. My advice would still be to rent a car and drive there as this gives you flexibility to work around your family's schedule.
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Tips for traveling to las coloradas with kids

  • If you're traveling from Cancún or the Riviera Maya, don't make this a day trip. We made this mistake and now looking back, I wish we would have spent a couple of days in the Yucatán exploring the area with time to stop in small towns along the way. The ride from Tulum was three hours there and three hours back, which is a lot for one day.
     
  • Plan a boat ride to see the flamingos, a trip to the crocodile farm and a stop at Las Coloradas for the same day. You could easily do all three activities in one day without overwhelming your family. 
     
  • The Mayan sun is fierce and bright, so be sure to bring sun screen, sun glasses and plenty of water with you. 
     
  • Only stay about 30 minutes. The area is actually quite small and a half hour is plenty of time to explore, learn and to take pictures.
     
  • Bring plenty of snacks. There are no restaurants or stores in the Las Coloradas area; having fruit, nuts, chips or sandwiches packed with you is imperative. The nearest restaurants and shops are 30mins away, and there's nothing worse than traveling with hangry children. Can I get an amén? 
     
  • Be sure to ask your children questions about the lakes before going. You could ask questions like if they believe the colors of the water are natural or not, and if so, what gives them these tones. This is a perfect way to get you children interested and interacting before arriving.
     
  • Let them ask the guide questions. One of the best ways to get children interactive on the trip is by allowing them to ask their own questions to the guide.
     
  • My girls love posing and taking photos, so give the kids your phone/camera and let them take their own photos. It's always fun looking back to see their photographic perspective.
     
  • If it's not too crowded or hot, bring an art journal and colored pencils. Let them sketch the water, salt crystals and anything else they may find interesting.
     
  • Pack your swimsuits as there are miles of uncrowded beaches along your drive to Las Coloradas. 
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Other useful information about las coloradas   

  • Stay in Río Lagartos, or another town near by, as there are no hotels in Las Coloradas.
     
  • The lakes are on private property and you are required to hire a guide in order to enter.
     
  • There are no ATMs in the area, so be sure to bring pesos with you to pay your guide.
     
  • Negotiate your fare. If you feel that your guide has quoted you a ridiculous amount, feel free to renegotiate the price in a respectful manner
Remember, you are not entitled to pay someone an unfair wage for their services just because you are in a country where your dollars, euros or pounds stretch further than the local currency.
— Iliah, Negra Bohemian
  • Make sure that you have a full tank of gas. There are not many gas stations around, so be sure to fill up before you leave. 
     
  • Some gas stations do not take credit cards. There also may not be an ATM on site so be sure to take out enough cash to pay for gas in case the station does not accept cards.
     
  • Las Coloradas is not a huge body of water. It's pretty shallow and is surrounded by a salt factory and all the industrial aesthetics that comes along with it. Be sure to manage your expectations of the area before arriving.
     
  • Swimming and touching the water is forbidden. Sorry to break your hearts, but no one is allowed in the water. This devastated Nasi as he stripped down to his diaper, preparing to take a dip!
  This is Nasi's "I'm really mad that I can't play in the pink water" face. 

This is Nasi's "I'm really mad that I can't play in the pink water" face. 

The Yucatán Peninsula is one of the centers of Mayan México.

When visiting this region, be sure to learn Mayan words and engage in the beauty of indigenous culture.  

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On your next family vacation to Cancún or the Riviera Maya, consider a trip to Río Lagartos and Las Coloradas for a mini getaway. I highly recommend a visit for a memorable experience for your family. 

 

would you consider a family trip to las coloradas?

 

 

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