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Saltwater and freshwater lagoons, 1.5 miles of nature trails marked by wooden boardwalks, and tropical deciduous forests make up the 11 hectares (27 acres) of the Estero del Yugo Nature Preserve in Mazatlán. Excellent for nature lovers, look at for over 250 species of native and non-native aquatic and tropical birds, crocodiles, and mammals such as ocelots, and lynx.
Established by Sandra Guido in 1997, Estero del Yugo Nature Preserve is a haven for birdwatchers in Mazatlán with a focus on conservation. Look out for species such as herons, egrets, rosate spoonbills, ibis, kingfishers, and more, as well as other animals such as turtles, white-tailed deer, and foxes. As well as walking nature trails, visitors can mountain bike, take a boat ride through the estuary, and climb the 12-meter observation tower either independently or in the company of a local guide.
Estero del Yugo is located opposite the Hotel Riu Emerald on Avenida Sábalo Cerritos. It’s just a 30-minute drive north from the center of Mazatlán and most visitors find it easiest to arrive by private vehicle.
Estero del Yugo Nature Reserve is open year-round, although each season offers different flora and fauna opportunities. Visit during the July to October rainy season to see the forest and other flora in full bloom but remember that walkways will be muddier. Outside of the wet season, the Estero del Yugo is less verdant but equally pleasant.
Estero del Yugo is one of the best places in Mexico to try birdwatching, but it’s not the only destination for nature lover’s in Mazatlán. Travelers with kids won’t want to miss the Mazatlán Aquarium, which has impressive jellyfish exhibits, live animal shows, and over 50 fish tanks. Mazatlán is also a humpback whale-watching hotspot; between the months of December and March, excursions run daily. Book early to guarantee a spot.