3.5 star rating: Worth doing 5 Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
  • Location:Merida, Mexico
  • Duration:8 hours (approx.)

Day Trip to Celestun: Flamingos, Mangrove Boat Ride and Tampeten Petrified Forest

Get up close to thousands of pink flamingos and other incredible wildlife species on a boat ride through the estuary of Celestun Wildlife Refuge. This official Biosphere Reserve is home to more than 225 mammal species and you’re sure to spot some of them on this day trip from Merida! Your knowledgeable guide will point out pelicans and other birds as you coast through the mangroves, with a visit to Tampeten petrified forest and a local beach in Celestun. Enjoy personal attention on this small-group tour, limited to 25 people.


  • Day trip to Celestun Wildlife Refuge, a declared Biosphere Reserve
  • Ride a boat past mangroves along the estuary and take a refreshing dip in a spring-fed pool
  • Watch pink flamingos, also known as Caribbean flamingos, flock in the thousands
  • Visit Tampeten petrified forest and head to a lovely beach in Celestun
  • Small-group tour limited to 25 people ensures personal attention from your guide

What You Can Expect

Day Trip to Celestun: Flamingos, Mangrove Boat Ride and Tampeten Petrified Forest

See flamingos up close!

Drive to the village of Celestun, located just 60 miles (98 km) southwest of Merida, after morning pickup from your hotel by your guide. Get acquainted with your small group aboard the comfortable minivan before you reach Celestun Wildlife Refuge.

From the port, embark on a boat ride down the Celestun estuary – where stream currents meet the ocean tide on their way to the sea – inhabited by some of the most diverse bird species of the Yucatan!

Cruise through the mangroves on a 1.5 hour boat ride and witness a spectacular show of pink flamingos – also called Caribbean flamingos – as they fly overhead. Watch thousands of the birds flock on shore as they eat the shrimp-like crustaceans that give the flamingos their unique pink color. The declared Biosphere Reserve is one of the only places in the world to view such numbers of these fascinating birds in the wild!

The estuary is a natural breeding ground for the flamingos and other birds after their long migrations along the eastern coast of the Yucatan. Keep an eye out for the American white pelican, one of the largest birds in North America, with a wingspan reaching up to 9.5 feet (3 meters).

Along the way, your guide will inform your small group about the more than 230 mammal species of the region, including ocelots, spider monkeys and jaguars. Then, stop for a refreshing dip in the ojos de agua (eyes of water) – deep spring-fed pools hidden among natural tunnels of the estuary, formed among the mangroves.

Pay a visit to the Tampeten petrified forest, where tree stumps petrified after a hurricane stand in the brackish water, and complete your day tour at a beach in central Celestun, where sand and sea of unrivaled beauty await you. You'll have time to swim and enjoy lunch (own expense) here before heading back to your Merida hotel.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Great side trip. There were perhaps over a thousand flamingoes.
Mangrove tour was very interesting. A nice visit to a beach, and seafood lunch,
(probably in place of the petrified forest) but nobody minded. Wonderful New Years Day.

Rima K

4 star rating: Recommended June 2015

Good day out if you like to get away from the towns and city. Some beautiful scenery along the way, just be sure to have insect repellent. The beach at the end on a hot day is great.

4 star rating: Recommended April 2014

There were only 5 other people on this tour which was nice. We very much enjoyed the boat ride and watching flamingos. There were so many of them! Drive through mangroves was also very nice. We just wish the boat ride was a bit longer. Beach in Celestun was empty compared to beaches in Playa del Carmen and Cancun. There were mainly local families enjoying their beach time together. It had a very relaxing and friendly atmosphere. Very pleasant day trip to escape the heat of Merida.

3 star rating: Worth doing March 2014

This trip makes a pleasant day out of Merida.

1 star rating: I do not recommend this November 2014

This was not a good experience for us. This time of year there were only a handful of flamingos and they were not in the usual place so we walked to a different area. It was mosquito infested and uncomfortable. Tours should not be sold this time of year. When you pay to see 10,000 flamingos and you see 15 it is very discouraging. Our driver, Ivan, was very reckless, drive very fast , and we felt unsafe. After our lunch he told the other person in our group that we wanted to leave (which was not true) and so we left early. The entire day was not at all what we expected and we were very disappointed.

From USD $ 68.99

View price calendar

Low Price Guarantee

Select Travel Date

Flexible Date Guarantee

Enter Total Number of Travelers

What's this, and can I change it?

Please note: After your purchase is confirmed we will email you a link to your voucher.
What's this?

Tour code: 5811MIDCELEST


Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message