Located 60 miles southwest of Merida, Celestun is a quaint fishing village where the infrastructure is very basic. There are a few 2-star hotels, the 5-star ecological resort Xixim, a new resort called Playa Maya and Hotel Manglares, several very good seafood restaurants, a few small shops and a harbor.
Celestun is famous not only for its seafood restaurants, such as La Palapa, located on the beach, but also for its river or ria, beautiful flamingo colonies, fresh water springs, and calm beaches. You will also find a 36 foot tall lighthouse and salt fields near the town.
For years this port town was just a sleepy fishing village. Then in the 50’s the Meridanos started building summer homes along the coast to get away from the scalding heat of tropical Merida during July and August.
Fancy restaurants are springing up along the seaside promenade or El Malecón, facades are being spruced up, and people are selling handcrafts, seashells and tshirts along the beach.
Chelem and Chuburna
If you are looking for an authentic Mexican experience in a clean, peacefully quaint fishing village (population 5,200) that boasts no gigantic hotels, no timeshares mongers and no razzle dazzle, then Chelem is for you.
The Yucatan is famous for bird life and Chelem is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Located between the Gulf of Mexico and the cienega (lagoon), Chelem is close to nature.
Rio Lagartos, located within the Biosphere Special Reserve on the northern coast of the Yucatan on the Gulf of Mexico, just east of the state of Quintana Roo, is famous for its enormous flamingo colony and large variety of other species.
It is also a picturesque fishing village with colorfully painted wooden and cement homes.
Holbox (hol-bosh) is an island located near the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. It is part of the Yum Balam ecological reserve, separated from land by the Yalahua Lagoon. Holbox is 26 miles long and beautiful seashells are constantly washing up onto its fine white sand beaches. The jade green Gulf of Mexico waters that bathe these beaches are beautiful and swimmer friendly.