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Reconstruction begins at Celestún’s tourist center

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Celestun’s boating infrastructure will get an overhaul. Photo: Lee Steele

With an average 1,500 visitors a week, Celestún’s tourist center is a major draw — and it’s due for some upgrades.

A 6-million-peso project will benefit more than 40 boatmen, representing five cooperatives that offer the famous flamingo-sighting tours in the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve.

As work began, the Director General of the Patronage of Cultural and Tourist Services Units (Cultur), Dafne López Martínez, promised expand parking, rehabilitation of the palapa, construction of a fishermen’s wharf, maintenance at the wharf dock, modernization of sanitary facilities and better signage are on the punch list.

Just over the bridge, the Parador Turistico Celestun, or tourist center, greets visitors when first entering Celestún from Merida on Highway 281. 

Motorboat tours take about 90 minutes. Tourists have a chance to see more than 300 species of birds that either migrate through or live in the Celestún Biosphere Reserve. Along with flamingos, there are herons, egrets, wrens, hummingbirds, sandpipers, orioles, cardinals and storks. Flamingos can be viewed year-round, but are most abundant between December and April.

After bird-watching, the second leg of the trip is through a mangrove tunnel. There, the boat docks and visitors can stroll on simple boardwalks and even take a dip in a natural spring. 

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