Laguna Rosada is one of several pink lakes in the Mexican Yucatan region that have started attracting visitors in recent years after they rose to fame on Instagram. Various social media photos and videos depict women running alongside bright pink pools of water and an atmosphere that looks almost ethereal and out of this world.
These pink lakes are actually a naturally occurring phenomenon. The water here is pink because of the red brine shrimp and algae that live beneath the surface of the water.
Their existence here turns the waters a candy cotton shade of pink. Another fun fact?
You will often see American flamingoes around Laguna Rosada and they are also only pink because of the red brine shrimp that they eat here. When they are born, flamingoes are actually white!
So where is Laguna Rosada and is it worth visiting during your time in the Yucatan? It can be a worthwhile stopping point on a Yucatan road trip or on a day trip from Merida. This is particularly true if you tie a visit to the lake with a trip to the Yucatan beaches along the Emerald Coast and the nearby ruins at Xcambo.
Laguna Rosada Mexico
Laguna Rosada is situated close to Telchac Puerto, in the northern part of the Yucatan. It is 62km (1 hour) away from the colonial city of Merida, and 152.8 km (2.5 hours) from the ruins at Chichen Itza respectively.
This is actually one of the lesser-known pink lakes in Mexico. It sees a fraction of the tourists that are seen at Las Coloradas and it is still possible to come here and find that you have the lakes entirely to yourself.
This is true even at weekends and during the high season (November to March). Unfortunately, Las Coloradas is somewhere that has been a massive victim of over-tourism as a result of the site being featured on social media by various Travel Influencers.
On any given day, you can expect busloads of tourists rocking up to take photos, even if you get there first thing in the morning. Enter Laguna Rosada as a wonderful, crowd-free alternative.
Visiting Laguna Rosada
The entrance to Laguna Rosada is not obvious so keep your eyes peeled when you drive by the area. You will see a little wooden shack and a sign reading “20 pesos” which is the new entrance fee per person to get in.
The lake is actually used for mining gourmet pink rock salt and is part of a private complex. With tourists stopping by while workers are busy at the site, it makes sense that the owners would try and capitalize on their newfound tourism appeal in some way.
Salt mining at Laguna Rosada
Laguna Rosada is much smaller than Las Coloradas but has the same concept regardless. There are a couple of smaller pools around the entrance where you will see men at work mining salt.
This process is arguably just as interesting as seeing the photogenic pink waters. Most of the workers cannot speak English but if you can speak a bit of Spanish, they are happy to explain the mining process to you.
You can also purchase pink salt from the little shack at the entrance for just a few pesos. This makes a great Mexican souvenir for the foodies in your life and it’s cheaper to buy it here than at a gourmet delicatessen in Mexico or overseas.
Flamingos and photos
There are a few little walking trails and wooden bridges that lead you around the water. Overall, you don’t need more than 30 minutes here.
If you are lucky, you will see some American flamingoes flying overhead or hanging out in the nearby waters. More than 35,000 of them live in Celestun during the winter season and from February/March, they start migrating east towards El Cuyo, stopping by Laguna Rosada en route.
It is important to note, disappointingly, that the water here isn’t always bright pink. Sometimes you can stop by and it looks super bright and almost neon pink, othertimes it has a slight pinkish tinge to it, and others it just looks like any old regular water.
A lot of this depends on the time of year that you visit, how sunny it is, etc. Waters tend to appear the most pink around midday on a sunny day.
As you can see in the photos in this article when we stopped by, we were not so fortunate as to see Laguna Rosada at its best so do manage your expectations. If you are not traveling miles specifically to see the pink water and you are also going to visit nearby beaches and ruins, it can still be a fun day out even if the water looks murky.
Also do keep in mind that some social media photos use filters to make the water look brighter than it actually is. They are not always an accurate representation of the site!
Getting to Laguna Rosada
It is tricky to access Laguna Rosada unless you are renting a car in Mexico. Then, you can just search for the destination on Google Maps and drive to it yourself.
If you are not planning on driving in Mexico and hope to depend entirely on public transport, your best option is to take a bus to Telchac Puerto from Merida, Cancun, or wherever your starting point is. From there, you will need to take a taxi to Laguna Rosada.
You can probably negotiate a rate with a local cab driver so that they will wait for you while you explore the lake, takes you to Xcambo, and then takes you back to Telchac Puerto. There are a couple of hotels in TP where you can stay overnight.
If you can, have your hotel or a local business call a taxi for you. They will have a contact for a reputable driver that they trust. This is better than simpling getting into a random car on the street and you are less likely to be ripped off.
Other notable attractions nearby
The ancient Mayan city of Xcambo is a must-visit while visiting Laguna Rosada. The archeological site is only 4km and an 8-minute drive away from the lake. This is arguably one of the best places to visit in the Yucatan if you are interested in history.
Little is known about this city or who its former rulers were and it only opened to the public in 2001. It is believed to have been inhabited between 350 BCE and 830 – 950.
Xcambo thrived as an important trading port that mostly focused on the export of commodities like salt. So, if you buy and consume salt from Laguna Rosada today, you are enjoying the same salt that the Ancient Mayans did all those centuries ago!
Like most Mayan ruins, the city is centered around the main plaza. There are a couple of pyramids here, all of which can be climbed in order to obtain a better view of the city from above.
You will find stucco masks that decorate some of the shrines and they are in incredible condition considering the fact that they are more than 1000 years old! Unfortunately, there are no information plaques here and no tour guides available, due to the limited information on the site.
Ruins aside, there are also some decent beaches close to Laguna Rosada. Namely, in Telchac Puerto, and nearby San Bruno.
San Bruno is mainly filled with newbuild luxurious houses and beach mansions and so, it sees very few visitors aside from the few people that live or have holiday homes there. It is framed by coconut groves and is a lovely place to spend an afternoon lounging in the sun or swimming in clear turquoise waters.
Have you visited Laguna Rosada or any other pink lakes in Mexico? What did you think of them? Did they live up to your expectations?