The old man and the lagoon

Our last day in Valladolid was dedicated to an excursion in Rio Lagartos at 2 hours driving in the north. Rio Lagartos is a lagoon and also the name of the small village bordering it.

Going to Rio Lagartos by public transport seems to be a small expedition the first time. In practice it is not too complicated, a bus from the local company takes us to a nearby town: Tizimin. From there we take a colectivo for Rio Lagartos. On our descent to the port of Rio Lagartos the local guides harass us to sell their boat trip. It is the same boat trip for all, only the price varies strongly (between 600 and 1200 pesos).

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Apart, we choose an old captain who collects recommendations from tourists from all over the world. As often on a trip, the impression left by a person and intuition are important to have a good and safe travel. Intuition is probably the most difficult thing to acquire. The house of our guide is in a bad shape, he lives alone here with a blind dog. The roof is made of sheet metal; it has two buckets for dish washing, 3 plastic chairs and a hammock for bed. He seems to live in utter poverty. But his good humor is communicative and he makes a lot of jokes. Despite its apparent poverty, it has a beautiful boat similar to that of the other guides. We will have a private tour with him.

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We go on board with him. He has the experience of the trip we ca feel. He is driving his boat in a sure way and knows where to look for the local animals. He drives his craft to several strategic points of the mangrove. A group of cormorants barely respond to our approach.

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We can see first some crocodiles. They don’t move in these warm hours of the day. We also get close from several species of birds.

After an hour in the boat we see at a good distance a group of pink flamingos. The guide brings us closer. He switches off his engine and continues with a pull rod.
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The water is very shallow and we have to divide ourselves on the boat not to run aground. During this time he distills information about the pink flamingos. They are precious to us to take beautiful pictures. “The Flemings will walk until here, then they stop and when we are 10 meters away, they fly away,” he told us.

We have stars in our eyes, landscapes and local fauna are worth the trip. After a little more than 2h15 of boat we return in town to take the colectivo until Tizimin then the bus to Valladolid. We are exhausted by the heat but happy. We still have to prepare our bags for the next day. Objective Tulum and Akumal where a scientist working on the restoration of coral reefs agrees to receive us for a first meeting of researchers in the world during our journey …

PS: Photographies are available in good quality under this link

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