The Ruta BBVA expedition got a taste of pristine nature — mosquitoes and all — when it arrived in Celestún yesterday.
Nearly 200 18- and 19-year-old travelers, representing 17 Ibero-American countries, have traipsed the Yucatán Peninsula for 10 days now. They then travel to Madrid July 15 and tour Spain’s Extremadura and Andalusia regions.
The academic-cultural project was created in 1979 by reporter and adventurer Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo based on a proposal by King Juan Carlos I, with the goal of building an Ibero-American youth community.
They were most recently in Mérida, and then trekked to Ria Celestun, a biosphere reserve that they toured on 20 boats.
Herons, cormorants, pelicans, frigatebirds, kingfishers, black hawks, fisher eagles and beautiful pink flamingos are among the more than 304 species of migratory and indigenous birds found here, where the main Yucatán aquifer discharges into the Gulf of Mexico.
They learned through guides that some of species, such as flamingos and quetzals, are threatened by poachers.
Under cloudy skies that hours later would dump torrential tropical rains, the boats sailed around Bird Island to glide near where the pink flamingos rest. Deeper into the mangrove labyrinth, the boats moored near a water hole, where the young explorers dived into brown water to escape from mosquitoes.
The second stage of the nature tour around Celestun involved a 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) hike over beaches and through mangroves to observe salt extraction.
With information from EFE