Celestùn Travel Guide

  • Mangroves
    Mangroves
    by poortrekkers
  • Bird Island
    Bird Island
    by poortrekkers
  • Flamingos
    Flamingos
    by poortrekkers

Celestùn Things to Do

  • Explore Ria Celestun

    The thing to do in Celestun is definitely the boat tour of the Ria Celestun and nature reserve. We used the official Yucatan "Cultur" tour services immediately over and to the left of the bridge. It was a little pricey, although I can not recall exactly how much, but it was well worth it. Our guide was very friendly, knowledgeable, and his English...

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  • Birds

    Celestun is a sanctuary for birds, of which there are plenty. But we, along with most other people that make it to Celestun, came to visit the flamingos.The best time to visit the birds is in the morning because of the possible winds that often swirl up in the afternoons.You can hire a lancha which will take you to the birds - about 30 minutes sail...

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  • Flamingo tours in Celestùn

    The primary reason one goes to Celestùn is to see the nature reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestùn). The nature reserve contains all sorts of water birds, but the star of the show is the flamingos.Boats are available for hire at two places. The bridge over the Ria Celestùn has a place where tourists meet the boat captains, and the flamingos...

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  • Petrified Forest

    Rodrigo made another stop at the Petrified Forest. The trees didn't look petrified to me, just dead. He explained in Spanish that either the water table went up or it went down and the trees died. My son, who was translating, wasn't sure which. Rodrigo did a quicksand demontration, which we found amusing, especially since he tried to coax us into...

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  • Head straight to the beach

    The main highway into Celestun turns into Calle 11, which dead ends at the beach and the large palapa. At the dead end we were immediately greeted by a "broker" who spotted us for tourists right away. The broker told us he could fix us up with a good English speaking guide (and one who wouldn't cheat us). We could pay him what we thought he was...

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  • Get a firm estimate

    Our "broker" took us to the marina and introduced us to our guide and captain. His name was Rodrigo. But there was a small problem. Rodrigo didn't speak English. So much for the English option. No problemo, we said, and I told my son who studied Spanish for 5 years that he was on interpretation duty. One would think that after 5 years, he can speak...

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  • No thanks

    We were able to get out of the boat in the mangrove forest and take a short walk on a plank. Rodrigo showed us where the swimming hole was and said we could swim if we wanted. I asked Rodrigo, "Hay los crocodiles?" Rodrigo answered, "Si, hay los crocodiles." With a smile. Maybe this was as funny as the 100,000 peso joke. We decided to pass.

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  • The Famed Flamingos

    After entering the Celestun Inlet, it wasn't long before the flamingos appeared. Rodrigo pointed out the dividing line between the Gulf of Mexico and the Celestun Inlet, where the water turns from a murky green to a murky red, due to the brine shrimp and algae. It is a definite line. Green, then suddenly red. Amazing. At first the flamingos were...

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  • Egrets

    Egrets are beautiful birds. We see them all over Marin County at home, so they aren't quite so exotic to us. Nonetheless, their snowy white feathers and graceful flight makes them stunning birds to watch and their beauty never ceases to impress me.

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  • Mangroves

    Rodrigo, our guide and captain, took us through a mangrove forest. That was quite impressive. The mangroves are the wierdest looking trees. Their roots grow above water, looking like legs, so sometimes they are called "walking mangroves". The water clearly shows the blue-green algae, which makes the water look red. The algae is common around...

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  • The Send Off Crew

    As soon as we left the harbor, we saw our first birds - a large flock of commmorants, pelicans and some other bird on the rocks at the mouth of the harbor. Rodrigo slowed down so we could snap a few photos. To me they kind of looked like the US Senate in session.

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  • White pelicans, too

    This is a terrible picture. The weather didn't cooperate and I don't have a high powered lens, but these are white pelicans. We have the brown ones all over the California shores, but not the white ones, so this was a real treat. Rodrigo told us the white pelicans appear in the Celestun inlet only during the winter months.

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  • Celestùn's beach

    Celestùn has a nice beach. We even jumped into the water for a swim. In the picture you can see the lighthouses (new and old) and the wharf. We felt quite comfortable there -- going for nice walks along the beach, and out to the end of the wharf to watch the sun drop into the sea.

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  • Swimming at the springs

    The tour also stops at a fresh water springs that is emptying out into the estuary. A boardwalk has been built through the mangrove forest. If you hurry (we were not sure how long we had before the captain of the boat would leave without us), you can jump into the water. I was surprised how salty it tasted even though the freshwater springs were...

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  • Travelling through the mangrove

    On the way back from the birds, the flamingo tour goes through a mangrove forest. (Mangroves are tropical trees found in coastal and riverine intertidal habitats -- usually in salt water). These forests are part of the reason that the flamingos are here, as they are nursery for the juvenile stages of shrimp and fish that the birds eat.As with...

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  • Calle 12

    In Celestùn, Calle 12 parallels the beach, and contains most of the tourist fare. We counted about five restaurants and seven hotel/motels, a few convenience stores, a hostel, an internet cafe, etc. After sundown, we went for a late-night walk. walking both through the town, and on the beach. Nice quiet place.

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  • Celestùn sunsets

    As Celestùn is on the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula, there are nice sunsets each night.Be prepared, they are fast. I saw that the sun was getting close to setting, and ran upstairs to get my camera. By the time I made it back to the beach, the sun had disappeared below the horizon.However, as you can see the photo still looks quite...

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  • Not just flamingos

    Although flamingos are the star of the tour, there are many different waterfowl. We saw these pelicans (which our guide insisted were Canadian pelicans), also dark-coloured pelicans, cormorants, ducks, and either an egret or heron (I'm not sure of the difference).Unfortunately, our boat captain did not speak english, so we did the best we could...

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Celestùn Hotels

Celestùn Restaurants

  • Good Food... Great Drinks!

    After another unbearably hot day in Mexico, our taste buds and thrust led us to this attractive restaurant on the gulf in Celestun. It is a large open place with the sea breeze liberally blowing through it, and we had a great view of the water from our table. Our cold Pina Colada's really hit the spot. There is a multitude of fresh sea food dishes...

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  • Best Seafood

    After our excursion in the Celestun Inlet, we stopped off at Restaurant Chivirico for some lunch. Chivirico had an amazing selection of seafood, cooked a number of different ways. Now, it is really tough being a vegetarian here. I could have ordered an egg and cheese omelet, but that just didn't excite me too much. Before becoming a vegetarian, I...

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  • Seafood restaurants

    We ate dinner on two successive days at two of Celestùn's restaurants -- La Playita and Chivirico. Both are good with nice servings and reasonable costs. Hopefully you like seafood, as that seems to be all that is served. We tried a shrimp cocktail appetizer in one of the restaurants, but I was not impressed. They serve tiny baby shrimp (I would...

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Celestùn Warnings and Dangers

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Where's the Coast Guard?

    by karenincalifornia Updated Feb 3, 2007

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    Many parts of the Celestun Inlet are very shallow. In fact, when you see the flamingos, they are walking on the sand, so usually the water at that point is only a few inches deep. Our guide, Rodrigo, had to deftly navigate through all the shallow canals.

    At one point, the engine filled up with sand, and an engine full of sand just doesn't get you anywhere. First, we are shaken down for 100,000 pesos. Then our guide encourages us to walk the plank and tries to lure us into crocodile infested waters. Then we are marooned on a sand bar. But Rodrigo finally got the sand out of the engine and we were off again, motoring down the inlet.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Beaches
    • Sailing and Boating

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Celestùn Tourist Traps

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    by e-katarina Written Nov 3, 2005

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    In Celestun, on main square, there's a restaurant (I'll add name soon) that advertises all kinds of desayunos (breakfast). It was a total rip off. We ordered toasted bread and coffee. The coffee was tasteless and had bits of white stuff floating in it.. the toast was actually not toasted, but we'd seen in a shop you could buy "toasted" bread, actually just hard bread. The butter and jam was out of the original packet (total lack of hygene when you consider everyone dunking their knife and spoons inside). And the worst is that we paid 70 pesos for THAT! The previous day we'd had a beautiful breakfast with omelet and all, for just 10 pesos more, without counting the breakfast in San Cristobal for 44 pesos for two, with real toast, delicious coffee, juice and fruit.

    Also had to wait hours for someone to notice us, hours to be served (when all we got was dried bread out of a packet) and no one came for us to pay.. lady sent a little boy, I guess she didn't dare face my wroth.. but I told the little boy that the breakfast was no good and that 70 pesos was really an exageration.. Thinking back, should have talked to lady and given her a piece of my mind.. but left a note saying that I'd defenatelly do a write up of their restaurant on VirtualTourit!

    Unique Suggestions: Don't go!!!

    Fun Alternatives: Go to an other restaurant.. jsut accross the road, there's a supper one...

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Celestùn Off The Beaten Path

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    Church in small Yucatecan town

    by karenincalifornia Written Jan 22, 2007

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    Between Merida and Celestun are a number of small Yucatecan towns. Very poor, but they have their charm. Typically, in the center of town is a park or town square and a painted Catholic church. This town may have been Kinchil.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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Celestùn Favorites

  • by richardll Written Oct 5, 2003

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    Favorite thing: Celestun is a medium sized town. Surrounding Celestun is the Celestun Biosphere Reserve where one can hire a motor boat to drive through the wetlands, where you can spot hundreds of flamingos. The town of Celestun does not have much to offer other than a fantastic beach, which is far less rocky and dirty than those at Progreso.

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Explore Deeper into Celestùn
The Estuary
Things to Do
The Flamingos
Things to Do
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