Run the equator: Wildlife photographer for a day

Monday, April 30, 2007

Wildlife photographer for a day

Flamingos
In-flight snapshot
Click on picture to view slide show

We're in Campeche now and finally got again a place to upload the pictures of the last few days (and enough time, hopefully)

Celestun is a fishing village at the end of the galaxy. It has very little infrastructure, no ATM, no bank, and the gas station frequently runs out of juice. But it has one of the best beaches I have ever seen and it is the gateway to a lagoon teeming with life. The lagoon has become famous mainly for its pink flamingos and was recently declared a world heritage site. Nevertheless the area remains underdeveloped and it is probably better this way. Our guide told us the story that a few years back the whole strip of land between the lagoon and the sea was bought by a businessman who was planning to make a second Cancun out of it, but shortly afterwards the area was declared protected and the guy is still sitting on his money with no chance to recoup the investment. Or at least that is what I understood, with my limited Spanish…

We stopped first at the tourist center where most lagoon tours started but we quickly realized that was not for us. The price was quite high and there was nobody to share a boat with, so we would have had to pay for the whole 6 seats. We drove on to the main village beach and picked up a tour there, together with 4 other people, so we ended up paying 200 pesos (about $19) each. Our guide was speaking Spanish only but it didn’t seem to create too much of a language barrier – two of the outer visitors were Spanish and I realized I picked up enough to get the gist of the things he was saying.

The two-hour tour takes you out to the sea, with a stop at a petrified forest (some trees that have been standing there dry for a few hundreds of years), into the lagoon (passing by the tourist center again), and up the lagoon to see the flamingos, and into the mangrove forest where if you want you can swim in the sweet water pockets coming from the subterranean river that crosses the area. If you are lucky you can see crocodiles as well. We didn’t see any, but some other people from our hostel, who visited the area the next day, came back with a picture of one of those big lizards, sitting under the road bridge.

The guide was entertaining, throwing stories and anecdotes at us, and the Spanish couple helped sometimes with the translation. As with any trip, it’s worth taking in the morning - the sea very was calm when we left, so getting to the lagoon was a breeze, but it had become rougher on our return and we got quite a bumpy ride. There were tour groups leaving the beach when we returned and I didn’t want to be in their place…


3 comments:

Steve said...
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Big Fat Rat said...

Steve, that other wildlife has been tamed. Stay PG13. If possible.

Steve said...

you are the one taking the pictures man. i just call em like i see em