Celestun Biosphere Reserve
On Wednesday, we will take a bus trip to Celestun Reserve. Bring a bathing suit! We will board a boat and view thousands of pink flamingos far out on the inlet, take a brief walk and a boat ride through the mangrove, home to an enormous number of other birds. We will end up on the beach for a fresh seafood lunch at a beachfront restaurant, and take a swim (changing rooms are available) for a couple of hours and then head back to Merida by end of day.
Celestún was decreed a wildlife refuge in 1979 and then a biosphere reserve in 1989. Reserve Especial de la Biosfera Ria Celestún is recognized as the cradle of ecotourism, since it inspired notable environmentalist Hector Ceballos-Lascurain to first coin the phrase "ecotourism" in 1983. The reserve consists of 146,000 acres of mangrove wetlands and rich tropical flora and fauna. The Northern Hemisphere's only mainland pink flamingo population, approximately 23,000, live along the Northern and Western Coasts of the Yucatan Peninsula. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded at Celestún, 3 of which have not been found anywhere else in the world. Over 200 species of mammals inhabit the mangroves, including jaguars and ocelots. Many species of reptiles inhabit the mangroves, including 2 crocodile species: Moreleti and American, 4 sea turtles: Hawksbill, Green, Loggerhead, and Leatherback (all endangered), iguanas and Boa Constrictors.
Tour of Celestun Biosphere Reserve on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 from morning til 5pm. Includes r/t van or bus from Hotel Caribe, boat tour of the reserve to see the flamingos & mangroves, beach time. Food and beverages not included.
On Sunday morning, we will take a walkabout in centro to get a sense of direction, street layout, location of workshops, readings and restaurants, cafes, museum, etc. Free. Sunday morning the main street through centro is blocked off for a bicycle path all the way out to Paseo Montejo. You can rent a bike for a couple of dollars, if you would prefer to a self-bike tour. FREE
Gran Museo del Mundo Maya
On Sunday afternoon we will visit the museum. A world-class museum celebrating Maya culture, the Gran Museo houses a permanent collection of more than 1100 remarkably well-preserved artifacts, including a reclining chac-mool sculpture from Chichén Itzá and a cool underworld figure unearthed at Ek' Balam (check out homeboy's punk-rock skull belt and reptile headdress). If you're planning on visiting the area's ruins, drop by here first for some context and an up-close look at some of the fascinating pieces found at the sites. Entrance fee: $150pesos (approx. $9 usd) plus share cost of taxi to the museum with others