A Creepy Day in Río Lagartos

A small town on the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, Río Lagartos is most well-known for the abundant bird life of its lagoon, a protected natural reserve which is named, somewhat confusingly, Ría Lagartos. But unpleasant weather during our visit spoiled any bird-watching plans we might have had. (Which was fine, since we didn’t really have any).

Río Lagartos in the Yucatan

After arriving in the evening, we immediately noticed something strange about Río Lagartos: an almost complete lack of people. This is supposedly a town of 2000 souls, but the streets were empty. The stores and restaurants closed. The boats anchored along the shore untended. Fine, the weather was bad, but the level of abandonment made me suspicious. Apart from the woman who checked us into our hotel, we hadn’t seen a single person. And even she had seemed a little… off. A little too dim-witted, perhaps. Her movements a little too wooden. Her eyes a little too hungry.

The brewing storm didn’t help us feel any safer. We walked up and down the main, ocean-side road, and eventually found the only place in town serving food. Inside, a rowdy group of men were passing around bottles of rum. Sailors by the looks of them, and now I was certain we had landed in a zombie movie. This restaurant would be the place of our first bloody encounter, and we were about to watch a lovable group of drunk oafs have their heads ripped off. Lovable drunk oafs are always the first to die.

Rio Lagartos Church

We waited, fork and knife clenched in hand, but nothing happened. The sailors said goodbye and stumbled out of the bar. We were served a delicious dinner of fresh fish and shrimp. And we went back to our hotel where our vacant receptionist was watching a telenovela and didn’t even look up to say “good night”.

The next day the weather had not improved and we skipped on a tour of the reserve, which is the only reason to visit Río Lagartos in the first place. Anyway, it’s supposed to be similar to the tour we took of Celestun. We walked around the town long enough to verify that it was still lifeless and then hopped in the car, happy to put creepy Río Lagartos in the rearview.


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. DABE

    Que desafortunada visita tuviste en éste hermoso puerto amigo, lamento que te lleves de Río Lagartos esa impresión, pero hasta el norte a mi me parece algo perfecto para estar ahí y disfrutar de la tranquilidad…no tienes idea de lo que hablas, respetando tus gustos y tus costumbres, de Río Lagartos, solo puedes esperar gente cálida, amable, servicial, adorable.La naturaleza no se tiene la culpa de eso, al contrario, considero que estabas pasando un mal momento para no darte cuenta de lo hermoso que es tener rozando la piel de lo natural.Por otro lado, no hay escusa para darte la razón con el trato del personal, hay de casos a casos..en Río Lagartos la estancia es placentera amigo, se dice por muchos en contrario a tu opinión que es la GLORIA, ENTRE EL CIELO Y EL MAR.Saludos, te invito a un retorno, y te llevarás una impresión distinta.SaludosDabeUnfortunate that I had to visit this beautiful port Friend, I regret that you take Rio Lagartos that impression, but up north it seems to me something perfect to be there and enjoy the tranquility … you have no idea what you’re talking about respecting your tastes and your habits, Rio Lagartos, you can only expect warm, friendly, helpful, lovely people. Nature is not to blame for that, on the contrary, I think you were having a hard time not to realize how beautiful it is to have the skin near the natural. On the other hand, no excuse to give reason with amiability, no case to case in Río Lagartos .. stay is pleasant friend, is said by many to the contrary to your opinion which is the GLORY, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND THE SEA. Greetings, I invite you to return, and I will lead a different impression. regards dabe

  2. Ary

    Im reallly sorry you´ve had that experience because for me Rio Lagartos is like heaven! Seriourly you should come back and change your impression!! Its beautiful and you can be one with the nature… Its almost unbelievable all the landscapes you have in front of your eyes!

  3. jovita

    barbara the’re going to get you!!!   yeah it looks like the night of the living dead   but its a small town   i think its lovely i loveit  ive never been there but hopefully in feb ill be there.  i love your pictures.  i was trying to maybe think you went out of season i see no tourist  maybe if you come back in june – august huatalco is a nice town,  valladolid is very tranquil plenty of tourist and town celebrations san pedro belize is nice my daughter loved it

  4. I Love Rio Lagartos

    That does seem strange. You must have come the day after a big festival where everyone stayed up until dawn then went home to sleep all day. And if it was in the winter on top of that, for sure, will be very empty, especially is windy. But this article is ten years old. They town has changed a bit, many more restaurants, tours, etc.

    1. Juergen

      Yes … 10 years now exactly. We have to come back and see how it changed!

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