The reserve is a wintering zone for migratory birds and is
the first stop on two of the four migratory flyways. For example,
warblers and sandpipers who spend time on Dauphin Island off
the coast of Alabama in the United
States visit this area.
More than 400 species have been identified in the biosphere
reserve, of which many are permanent residents. For the true
bird-watcher, the best time to visit is in the winter when migrants
abound and the number of flamingos is at its peak. Think pink!
The American Flamingo is Celestún's signature bird and
feathered attraction. This flamingo is the largest and most
brilliantly colored of the six species that exist in the world.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL - Boats should keep 60-80
meters (328 feet) distance from the flamingos while using their
motors and 50 meters while poling. Why no closer? Flamingos
spend half their time eating and if boats disrupt this process,
they will go elsewhere. In a typical day a flamingo filters
nearly 2,000 liters of water as it feeds.
One tour heads north from the bridge into the estuary taking
visitors to see the flamingos on Bird Island (Isla de Pajaros),
where cormorants, frigate birds, and great egrets take turns
nesting. Roseate Spoonbills can be found several months of the
year, mostly from September-April.
Tours generally stop at a freshwater spring (ojo de agua) for
a swim. Fresh water enters the estuary from below ground (note:
all of the rivers in the Yucatán Peninsula are subterranean).
Please note that putting on suntan lotion and then swimming
is discouraged as the sunblock contains chemicals that contaminate
THINGS TO DO IN CELESTUN
The town of Celestún is fairly quiet. There are a few
places that rent bicycles. La Playita Restaurant is famous for
its great seafood and La Palapa hosts a monthly Saturday disco
night which has become a local institution.
The town of Celestún was founded in 1718.
Heading south, there are other points of interest such as the
Petrified Mangrove Forest and Real de Salinas, an abandoned