The village of RÍO LAGARTOS is protected from the Gulf of Mexico by a long barrier island; it's on a small spit surrounded on three sides by water and inhabited much of the year by tens of thousands of pink flamingoes (Nov– May most migrate to Celestún, on the west coast). The flamingoes alone make a visit worthwhile, as the town itself is somewhat dreary. It's manageable to visit on a day trip from Valladolid, but if you want to stay the night, the large rooms at Posada Leyli (Tel:986/862-0106; Price: M$250-350), on Calle 14 at the north end of town, are about the only option; if possible, push on to San Felipe, a short drive or bus ride east.
As soon as you arrive at the bus station (on Calle 19 just east of the main north– south street through town), or get out of your car, you're likely to be swamped by offers to take you out to see the flamingoes. If not, the best place to start is the friendly Restaurante Isla Contoy, on the waterfront on the west side, where you can arrange a boat to visit the many feeding sites; an hour-long tour usually costs about M$350, with a maximum of seven people. (There is no bank or ATM in town, so plan accordingly.) As well as flamingoes, you're likely to see fishing eagles, spoonbills and, if you're lucky, one of the very few remaining crocodiles after which Río Lagartos was (mis)named. Make sure that your guide understands that you don't want to harass the flamingoes, as some will get too close if they think their passengers would prefer to see some action.